Ecology And Environment
Baby bear with uncertain future

How Stress to Ecosystems Affects all

Baby bear with uncertain future
Christyl Rivers's image for:
"How Stress to Ecosystems Affects all"
Caption: Baby bear with uncertain future
Image by: Christyl Rivers

Warmer temperatures world-wide and degraded environment are affecting earth in myriad ways.  Among these are melting polar ice, rising sea levels, acidification of oceans, increased amounts of heat with diminished ozone layer protection, increased wild fires, storms, vanishing species, and species migration, less arable crop lands, forests, grasslands and more toxins in soil, air and water. 

In major cities,  low air quality is blamed for countless respiratory ailments and death.  Carcinogens from industrial products, notably plastic, and other goods, disrupt endocrine systems in many organisms and are suspected in cancer.  Heart disease, diabetes and obesity are greatly increased due to industrial farming and factory slaughter houses .Also affected are those ecosystems of diversity since mono-culuration (single crop) industrial farming diminishes all biodiversity and naturally  occurring checks and balances.

For example free range cattle and birds play a central role in keeping grasslands healthy, so do major predators such as wolves, bears and large cats.  As these have virtually been removed from ecosystems, trees such as birch, aspen and cottonwoods are destroyed by ungulates, and thus large areas of forest removed also erase the erosion control benefits of those forests and trees. Further, the removal of just one tree species, such as cottonwoods, diminishes the habitats of stream dwellers, reptiles, amphibians and pollinating insects. Just removal of one species can be catastrophic for large areas in that food web.

Global warming is debated as a political weapon, while it continues to destroy lives and life.  The environmental stress put upon all organisms is significant.  Slowly dying out are entire ecosystems, endangered species and bio-diversity in general.

Many people doubt environmental decline because it is a natural human reaction to deny, or to project blame elsewhere. Also, an unforeseen affect of environmental distress is political partisanship. Since many people routinely see waste, notably of plastic bottles and paper in daily lives, they are slow to realize the extreme detrimental effects of these things.

Still, It is also notable that people sense a hunger for meaning, beauty, more connection and belonging in the world, so they are drawn to social media and “being connected.” Some are coming to realize the need for sensorial connection, human belonging and kinship in nature as is being seen in the local grown movement and the green revolution.  But advertising and marketing,  (aka green-washing,) has disillusioned many, who now doubt the viability of “Going green.”

Yet, still others view the need for energy independence, human capacity for innovation and adaptation, and a true appreciation for sustainable living as a very real future for earth.  It comes with a much deeper connection and cooperation with the living world.

More about this author: Christyl Rivers

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