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Biodiversity

My latest read - The Idea of Biodiversity by David Takacs. I'm finding it interesting. It's about how and why the term biodiversity came into play, what people mean by it and what it's meant to achieve.


It is, although hard to define - some include all living beings, all their genetic diversity within and between species and all their interactions, some miss out the processes and focus on the diversity of species and often, not always, the genetic diversity within species - it has a scientific feel about it, which "nature" does not. Nature is also famously hard (or impossible) to define. The term biodiversity, more than nature, encourages support with data and graphs and numbers. Even if we do not know the numbers. How many species are (were) there anyway? Six million? Sixty million? No one knows. How many are we losing each year? 17,500 or 50,000? Again, no one knows. But by talking about biodiversity, biologists can wow (and scare) with the big numbers and say they are the only ones who can provide answers - give us money!


Of course, it allows also a focus and framework for conservation or preservation.


It is meant to replace the focus on charismatic megafauna (pandas and tigers), but it doesn't because the presence of these creatures offers a more easily counted index of the state of biodiversity. And besides, people are more keen to give money to one panda than 50,000 bugs.


If biodiversity includes bacteria - which it does as they are vital to every level of life - then it is less appealing to home owners wielding the latest anti-bacterial spray.


What really gets me is that it seems we can't care about or protect that which we cannot scientifically calculate. It's a limit to post-Enlightenment thinking which leads, in my view, directly to the sang froid with which we desecrate "nature". biodiversity, the term, the idea, tries to function as a bridge between world views... but it can't.


Still... what is beauty? Sans pollution, that sunset would not be orange.


I can't understand why, when I love things so much for themselves, it seems so hard for many others to do so... there always has to be a causal chain leading back to people or people's ideas about how things should be.


I offer sanity, in the form of trees.


Ash...


And oak...


Even scarred, even denuded and wounded, this world is too too lovely for us.


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maplekey4
Dec 06, 2023

Beautiful photos. I love how the day-moon is overseeing the landscape in the last one. And your "big picture" concerns point out many things, including the power of words even when they're impossible to define. Makes me think about B. finding an online photo yesterday of a beautiful, iridescently patterned bird. It turned out to be a starling - a bird that many people don't seem to appreciate. Here is a good poem I found -by Mary Oliver.

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Crone
Crone
Dec 12, 2023
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That is a lovely poem!

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