December 6, 2019

The Sky Is Falling!….On You But Not On Me

skyfallingI am going to attempt to combine two different issues into one shared topic. My writing skills sometimes don’t match my brain’s ability to see things, sometimes much differently than others do, and at times I struggle to make my point clear and as concise as I see it.

Yesterday, I shared with readers some thoughts and a link to an article about “ecosystems” and the myth of “balance of nature.” Through the entirety of that process and beyond I devised a multitude of questions, the bulk of which were mired deeply in the foundation of hypocrisy, fueled by ignorance and perpetuated by, “a convenient approach to organizing thought.”

I’ll come back to more discussion and questions about the ecosystem and balance of nature paradigm in a bit. First, I’d like to pick a different topic that has a bit of a deeper and related subject matter as the convenience of “balance of nature.”

The Bangor Daily News, in Maine, today had a short opinion piece from a person mostly eulogizing the destruction of game animals due to “global warming.” It’s a hell of a way to have to go through life, believing, without giving it much thought, that the sky is falling, that it is the existence of man that is the fault of that falling sky, and calling on man to fix it.

Rational thinking causes some of us to understand that there is a distinct difference between global warming and climate change. Although the irrational “True Believers” of man-caused global warming have taken the bait, an even swap of the terms global warming and climate change, sold as the same, they are not. It is nothing more than a salesman’s tactic to garner support for a fraudulent, money-making scam. The shame in it all is that this scam is limiting the real science needed to truly understand what causes our planet’s actual climate change.

Few can see, or want to see, that little in this irrational debate makes honest sense. I suppose it’s much in a person’s ability, for lack of a better term, to think independently and not just do as you are told.

Therefore, global warming/climate change, as is used in its majority, perpetuates, “a convenient approach to organizing thought.” In other words it is used, conveniently, to explain everything. It all allows non thinkers to remain in some sort of comfort zone. It’s an explanation for them for everything. If it’s too rainy, it’s the fault of man-caused climate change. For them, the same explanation is used for cold, hot, storms, lack of storms, drought and floods, etc. What intellectual dishonesty!

One has to wonder if those non thinkers who perpetuate the myth of man-caused climate change also believe in the “balance of nature” paradigm. Which brings me back to “ecosystems.”

Whether the followers of man-caused global warming and “balance of nature” are one in the same people I don’t know. What I do think is that they have been programmed to react the same way. Invoking the balance of nature paradigm also becomes a convenient explanation for everything and, of course, man is to blame for all things bad and the one and only entity that screws up the balance.

As a believer of ecosystem self-regulation, the only thing that messes up this paradigm is the presence of man. Even though science places man in the middle of ecosystems, human haters want nothing more than to blame man for anything they perceive as bad happening to their favorite ecosystem. What lacks rational explanation is that while exclaiming the perfections of their balance of nature, more perfect if man is gotten rid of, man is always called upon to fix problems. What happened to self regulation? Isn’t man supposed to butt out?

In examining wolf introduction, or any other introduction for that matter, people, many of whom have become apparent “balance of nature” enthusiasts, called for wolves to be dropped into the Yellowstone ecosystem. Part of that argument in support of wolf introduction was the value a wolf places on “balancing” the ecosystem. This is the tired and worn out argument that is used for all predators and has caused the recent rise in predator worship.

If it was one hundred years ago, and longer, that wolves were extirpated from the Lower 48 States, then how did our fragile ecosystems survive this long without wolves? Was it because nature took over and regulated itself? Was it because wolves and predators in general aren’t necessary in an ecosystem? Did plants and animals react to the negative and positive feedback loops (a form of sustainable regulation)? Did man intercede with wildlife management and do the best job they could to provide a healthy environment?

In addition, if man and man’s existence messes up our ecosystems, and if man would be extirpated so that nature can “self-regulate”, then why is it that man is called upon to mess with what nature is doing? This sounds hypocritical to me. It would appear to me that being that man, arguably the most intelligent of all creatures in an ecosystem, being part of The Ecosystem, then everything that has happened since the beginning of time is “natural.” Is it not? So who is messing with what and why?

Doesn’t then all of this, i.e. the perpetuation of man-caused global warming and balance of nature, become nothing more than, “a convenient approach to organizing thought?” Once independent thinking was removed from this planet, the “organizing thought” becomes someone’s truth. It is not God’s truth. It is the antithesis of God’s truth whose foundation is rooted in evil, fraud, greed, power, etc.

If only we could return to the days when we humans were taught of the value of independent, critical thinking. In the meantime, some humans can only resort to exclamations that the sky is falling and, oh, by the way, I think it’s only falling on you over there and not on me over here.

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Is It Time to Bury the Ecosystem Concept?

ecosystem*Editor’s Note* – Below, I took the liberty of copying the “conclusions” of an academic piece by Robert V. O’Neill. But, please either before or after reading the conclusion, or both, go to the link provided and read the entire article. It is not that long and better explains the “conclusions.”

It is my opinion, after reading this piece and comparing the conclusions with what is written in the article, that within the conclusions there exists, to some degree, the limitations of which the author writes of the problems that exist in attempting to work within a theory of “ecosystem” balance or stability. The author describes the theory of an ecosystem as a paradigm, or, “a convenient approach to organizing thought.” (a difficult concept to escape I’m afraid.)

O’Neill also recognizes, rightly so in my lay opinion, that the human is not separate from the “ecosystem” but a part of it, and yet, perhaps in an inescapable way, due in part by “a convenient approach to organizing thought”, points a finger at the human as perhaps a future cause of ecological collapse. I am often left with the question, “If man is part of the ecosystem then how can the presence of man naturally effect, through positive and negative feedback mechanisms, if he is, by law and regulation, removed and/or limited from that ecosystem?”

But we should not lose sight of what is being offered in this piece. Different than some pieces of academic, this writer doesn’t attempt to throw out the baby with the bathwater but to better define “ecosystem”, by first understanding what it means and how it got here, while dispelling myths propagated by “a convenient approach to organizing thought.”

Please find this link to the whole article. (Note: This link was provided in the “Open Thread” by a reader.)

CONCLUSIONS

Is it time to bury the ecosystem concept? Probably not. But there is certainly need for improvement before
ecology loses any more credibility. This paper suggests some of the key problems. Spatial pattern, extent, and heterogeneity are critical to stability. You cannot get a predictive theory if you assume them away. Temporal variability and scale are critical to stability. You cannot get a predictive theory if you assume them away either. It is the interplay of natural selection and internal feedback mechanisms that determines dynamics. Again, you cannot get a predictive theory if you assume either away. Basically, all the processes and constraints needed to explain stability are not encompassed within the boundaries of the local ecological system.

An improved paradigm would have many implications for ecological applications, such as conservation.
Increasing the size of an isolated preserve only increases the length of time until the cumulative probability of a disruption approaches 1.0. Maintaining dispersal pathways might better conserve sustainability by keeping the potential dispersal range near its original, undisturbed scale.

There are also important implications for monitoring. Current theory leads us to focus on average rates and standing crops at a location. Yet scale and variability in space and time may be more important in determining sustainability. Mean values at two locations may indicate that no significant change has occurred, but if dispersal pathways between the sites have been disrupted, one has reduced by orders of magnitude the scale of a catastrophic disturbance.

Perhaps the most important implication involves our view of human society. Homo sapiens is not an external
disturbance, it is a keystone species within the system. In the long term, it may not be the magnitude of extracted goods and services that will determine sustainability. It may well be our disruption of ecological recovery and stability mechanisms that determines system collapse.

Certainly, we don’t want to dismiss the current theory prematurely. But we must understand that the machine analogy is critically limited. In so far as the local system maximizes environmental potential, it necessarily sacrifices stability when that potential changed. The challenge to the ecological system is optimization to a moving target. Optimize too rapidly and the system is trapped in a local attractor and, like an overspecialized species, cannot adapt when conditions change. So, it would not be wise to send the old dobbin to the glue factory before we determine how well the new one takes the bit. But it certainly seems to be time to start shopping for a new colt.

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