Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Tuesday 22 June 2010

Loss of Species

Forty-five thousand people wouldn't die each year if they stopped eating junk food, we are told. David Attenborough the famous TV presenter of wild-life programmes insists that bio-diversity is essential for the well being of the planet and human beings should do more to preserve species. Both are saying that we should all do more to preserve life on earth and I wonder if they are right or would it make more sense to let nature take its course.

It is estimated that half of the millions of different species or life forms on earth will be lost within the next hundred years if we, as humans, don't do something about it. Most will be plants and animals that are too small to notice or which exist in such remote habitats that in some cases they haven't yet been discovered. However, some such as giant pandas or some species of whales may also disappear. The question is does it really matter? Throughout time, species have naturally evolved and become extinct as the planet adjusts to changes in climate and the movement of land masses. I believe that we have to accept that life isn't naturally sacrosanct and it is basically unnatural for humans to attempt to try and alter matters. Having said that; that humans try and effect change is already factored into the deterministic philosophy of teleology. In other words, what will be, will be, regardless.

With regard to reducing the deaths of human beings for any reason, we have to ask ourselves, why? If humans lived for ever and the population of the planet rose from six and a half billion to twenty billion and then one hundred billion, growing at an exponential rate what would happen? It is unsustainable- for a start we couldn't feed that number of people. No. Nature provides its own balances and checks and whereas it is quite correct to try and save people medically; even prolong lives where possible, we have to accept that despite all man's efforts there will come a day when the population is adjusted by natural culling on a huge scale. This will come about through natural catastrophe such as asteroid impact or global epidemic from a viral mutation.

I will just mention here another scenario. If the population does expand to a point where it is not possible to remain on earth, man's technological progress will enable the species, homo sapiens to colonise other planets. It doesn't mean that catastrophes won't visit earth, only that necessity the mother of invention, will lead to solutions that do not alter the deterministic conclusion.

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