S2.7 The Ants Go Marching On


The narrative we are being sold on climate change holds the wrong emphasis. The earth has never been a static place, rather it has been a dynamic place of rapid change, and rapid correction of momentary imbalance. Populations have grown too large, shrunk too small, and species have gone extinct. Species change their form to adapt to the environment. Certainly humans have demonstrated an unprecedented ability to alter their environment and affect other species. However in our current narrative Mother Nature is cowering in the background waiting to see if these selfish bipeds wipe the globe or not. In reality Mother Nature sees very little that is unique about this species and has a multitude of checks on an unbalanced system. Humans have the ability to wreck havoc on the rest of the ecosystem and push species- including ourselves- to extinction. However if the oceans rise and the temperature escalates mother nature will correct with replacement of humans. Human extinction is certainly a possible result, the complete annihilation of life is not.

The picture that mother nature is cowering in fear of the these rampaging, wasteful bipeds is wholly inaccurate. She has dealt with populations that have threatened to overcrowd the world before. New predators, infectious diseases, rapid changes in environment, and starvation have all been used to limit these populations. This is the basis of evolution within a global ecosystem. Every organism from the smallest and simplest to the largest and most complex is trying to expand, jockeying for position. There is nothing more natural. While the human species can, and has, caused damage to other plants, animals, and organisms this is also part of the game. If our population overreaches the correction will be swift and a new balance established. Even if the ozone is depleted or water levels rise or the temperature increases life will continue. Species will evolve to adapt to this new environment no matter how harsh the conditions and new species better equipped to these new conditions will emerge. 

Humans are important, but not THAT important. We have more significance than we fear but much less than we hope. We have the power to change our own lives and outcomes but not life and the processes that propelled us to this place in the first place. Just because we understand the rudiments of evolution does not mean we have escaped the box. Indeed we have merely seen a shadow on the wall of the cell that encases us. Certainly we have a moral and ethical responsibility to be good stewards of what we have. But the threat is more to our species itself than life on this planet. If civilizations crumble other creatures will quickly take over and fill in our crumbling cities and dominate the void we leave behind. The ants go marching on.

Published by JR Stanley

I am an MD, PhD student, training to be a physician scientist, with a deep interest in science, faith, and living life as an adventure. Join me as I entertain ideas from new findings in science, evolving interpretations of faith, and experience life one day and one adventure at a time.

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