[Marxism] a different dimension of loss - the great insect die-off/6th extinction

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Sat Dec 16 09:23:53 MST 2017

> If this trend were to continue indefinitely, the consequences would be
> devastating. Insects <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/insects> have
> been on Earth 1,000 times longer than humans have. In many ways, they
> created the world we live in. They helped call the universe of flowering
> plants into being. They are to terrestrial food chains what plankton is to
> oceanic ones. Without insects and other land-based arthropods, EO Wilson,
> the renowned Harvard entomologist, and inventor of sociobiology, estimates
> that humanity would last all of a few months. After that, most of the
> amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals would go, along with the flowering
> plants. The planet would become an immense compost heap, covered in shoals
> of carcasses and dead trees that refused to rot. Briefly, fungi would bloom
> in untold numbers. Then, they too would die off. The Earth would revert to
> what it was like in the Silurian period, 440m years ago, when life was just
> beginning to colonise the soil – a spongy, silent place, filled with mosses
> and liverworts, waiting for the first shrimp brave enough to try its luck
> on land.
> It’s easy to care about the cute and cuddlies. Soon we’ll be living on a
> planet that has lost its last mountain gorilla, its last leatherback
> turtle. A world without tigers or polar bears
> <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/08/starving-polar-bear-arctic-climate-change-video>;
> what a sad place that will be.
> But to think about the coming invertebrate extinctions is to confront a
> different dimension of loss. So much will vanish before we even knew it was
> there, before we had even begun to understand it. Species aren’t just
> names, or points on an evolutionary tree, or abstract sequences of DNA.
> They encode countless millennia of complex interactions between plant and
> animal, soil and air. Each species carries with it behaviours we have only
> begun to witness, chemical tricks honed over a million generations, whole
> worlds of mimicry and violence, maternal care and carnal exuberance. To
> know that all this will disappear is like watching a library burn without
> being able to pick up a single book. Our role in this destruction is a kind
> of vandalism, against their history, and ours as well.
> https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/14/a-
> different-dimension-of-loss-great-insect-die-off-sixth-extinction

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