Of all the specious notions in fashion today, the idea that humans are responsible for maintaining bio-diversity is, without doubt, one of the silliest. As I write this, I can imagine all the gasps that such a statement will bring.
Google “biodiversity” and you’ll find page after page with the same basic definition and descriptions of species diversity measurement. Try finding one that actually questions why we should spend billions of dollars a year on such research, dollars that could go to dealing with hunger and epidemics.
Much of the species change we’re experiencing today arises from climate change. Over its four-and-a-half-billion-year life, this planet has experienced massive changes brought on by, among other things, the action of plant and animal species. These changes occurred long before we ever got here. As the late comedian, George Carlin, liked to point out, “we had nothing to do with it.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DVNxNgfVzAvo – 276k)
Ignored in all this eco-babble is the fact that without the climate changes and mass extinctions of the past we wouldn’t be here. Our ancestors would long ago have gone the way of dinosaur food. Life is resilient, even under the direst circumstances, such as the sulfuric acid spewing from vents at the bottom of the ocean. For every classification that becomes extinct another one arises.
As specious notions go, this one is right up there with Creationism and the idea that climate change is a hoax. Such romantic fantasies are a major factor in the diminishing scientific literacy of our culture, though it does have many advantages for those who’d use it to drive bad, but profitable policy decisions.
Instead of fretting over a rare species of owl or salamander, perhaps we should focus on the one species that is our sole responsibility, homo sapiens sapiens. This is not to say we should ignore environmental conditions that kill off other plants and animals. They may, after all, be harbingers of bigger problems for humans.
Missing from the whole discussion of environmental change is the question, “What if it is real, and is serious, but our government, in the short run at least, can’t do anything about it?” Shocking as it may sound, there are ecological problems (and other problems) that government can’t fix.
Species become extinct, not because of mean-spirited human beings or greedy capitalists, but because they fail to adapt. How can we adapt? If we can’t answer this question because we’re too busy petting frogs and hugging trees, we may just find that we’ve been succeeded by species who’ve proven they can adapt… like cockroaches.