Ecosystems can be pretty rough on individual species. Even without man’s interference, several species will go extinct every year. It’s a natural process. Species which aren’t resilient disappear. To survive many species are rough on themselves. Many fish species eat their young when they overpopulate a area. If they didn’t, the species would run out of food and disappear. A resilient species has lots of offspring, but must be able to control reproduction when resources are limited.
Other species are kept in check by predators. If deer overpopulate an area, they will destroy most vegetation and cause erosion and destruction of habitat for all species in a forest. Coyotes and wolves (or human hunters) are needed to kill the excess to keep deer from destroying their own homes.
We have an excess of kindness in our suburbs and cities. Many hate to see any animal die, especially Bambi. So suburbanites are often up in arms when deer population explode and must be controlled by killing some of them.
This desire to be kind and nice to others (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”) is so strong in Western culture that some words and phrases are banned because they offend some groups. Using these words incurs severe castigation.
In August 2015, “anchor baby” was the term the politically correct decided to eliminate. Dozens of phrases are banned by various universities because they offend certain groups. At the University of California saying, “There is only one race, the human race,” is offensive because it denies “the significance of a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience and history.” Saying “America is the land of opportunity,” implies that “People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.” At UC, asking an Asian, Latino, or Native American “why are you so quiet?” is tantamount to giving the order “assimilate to dominant culture.” And stating the opinion, “Affirmative action is racist,” is also verboten.
In ecology, a race is a physically distinct subset of a species. Races suffer physical
insults regularly and few care. The resilient adapt and survive. Many suffer the ultimate insult of being eliminated and the ecosystem doesn’t cry but just adapts to the change.
Ecosystems are not politically correct, they just roll with the punches. It’s wonderful to study wild species where there is no PC police to hinder your speech or thinking.
One of our endangered species at Meadowcreek is the yellow snail darter. We try to keep our streams free flowing because that’s the habitat the darter needs to survive. The snail darter was made famous by a 1970s conflict over building the Tellico dam and flooding the Little Tennessee River. Dam opponents fought successfully to include the llocal race of the snail darter on the Endangered Species List in 1975 and the dam was halted. In 1978, the Supreme Court sided with environmentalists, but Congress declared the fish nonendangered, the Tellico Dam was built and that race of the snail darter disappeared.
Humans have vastly increased the extinction rate of other species from a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Ecologists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day.
We are so worried about being politically correct that we censor our language and thought to avoid offending the ears of the easily offended. Yet we ignore the destruction of the planet’s ecosystems.
Ecosystems don’t much care what you call them. If they are resilient, they will keep perking along. If they aren’t resilient, they will fall apart. We can argue all day long about which is more resilient. The ecosystem doesn’t care.
The ecosystem will adapt no matter how many species we wipe out. It won’t weep and cry and mourn the hurt. It will just adapt.
Likewise the planet won’t weep and mourn if humans continue to overpopulate the planet and deplete its natural resources. It will just continue to adapt.
And if man continues on a non-resilient path and wipes himself out, nature will not weep or mourn. Nature will just adapt and begin creating new species to populate the planet.