Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lemming Tracks: Observations by an Opportunistic Omnivore

(Lemmings are herbivores, and mostly live in or near arctic regions. The Lemming that writes this blog is an apathetic lemming. Different species.)
I live on Earth, so I've got a personal stake in keeping the planet habitable. I also remember the first Earth Day, back in 1970.

It was groovy.

I felt groovy about it.

It was a groovy period.

Forty years later:
  • We didn't die in the food riots
    • Which didn't happen
  • America's average life expectancy is well over 42
  • America's population is well over 22,000,000
I suppose we can give credit to those sign-carrying college kids. Or maybe, a little more realistically, to the green revolution. Which doesn't have all that much to do with "Che" Guevara.

Devoted followers of the butterfly expert who made himself famous for making those predictions are undaunted, however.

Now that the memo is getting around, that it's the distribution of food that's whack in many parts of the world - not the supply, we're all gonna die from global warming. Global starvation is so passe.

Me? I think waste is a bad idea. That's one lesson I learned from my parents: a legacy of, in part, the Great Depression. I also think that it's stupid to dump raw sewage into rivers. But I also don't expect life on Earth to be constant, unchanging, always the same as years turn to decades, decades to centuries, centuries to millennia. Life, in one form or another, has been around for hundreds of millions of years. Quite a lot has changed in that time.

So, I'm not concerned at the possibility that Earth's ecosystem isn't exactly the same as it was in, say, 1800. Or, for that matter, that trilobites died out.

Change happens.

That said, I think koalas and pandas are cute. It'd be a shame if either species died out. But I think that, sad as the situation might be: If there were no more koalas, life on Earth would go on.

Earth Day's still with us, and overheated minds are warning the rest of us about the perfidies of Japan against Mother Nature: and, of course, global warming.



Brigid said...

"I also think that it's stupid to dump raw sewage into rivers." Yeah, I mean, all the other animals are already pooping in 'em. Why add our rather substantial (and odoriferous) load?

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


I think I see your point. On the other hand, I was careful to write raw sewage.

There's nothing wrong with human beings, as large opportunistic omnivores. The issue lately has been that there are quite a few of us: and we like to get together in large groups.

Really large groups.

One bear using a stream as an outhouse wouldn't be a problem. A million bears using the same stream would be.

We're smarter than bears, so we're able to process sewage: speeding up and concentrating a process that would happen slowly over a wide are in a natural setting.

After we've run our waste products through a virtual few hundred (or thousand) square miles of soil, streams and wetlands, they're no problem.

Just like the bears'.

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...


What some of the more earnest and intense folks forgot, about four decades back, is that, although homo sapiens sapiens can reasonably be qualified as a sort of ape, a primate, a mammal, a chordate and an animal: we're also smart. Really smart.

There's a reason why we started making string, using fire, and (a few of us) went to the moon. But I've discussed the Gill Theory of Evolution in another blog. And, indirectly, in this one. (And no, folks, I don't take it too seriously.)

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