Posted by: atowhee | March 26, 2013

SURVIVAL IN THE AGE OF MAN

“…on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
–Shelley, “Ozymandias”

sidewlk violets These wild violets are growing up through a crack in the sidewalk. They are a reminded of the potent life force that insists on perservering despite what we humans do. Should humanity succumb to MRSA or famine or self-inflicted cataclysm or global warming, there will be some life forms that carry forward. One might be the violet.

There is continued survival of many life forms in the face of human greed, pollution, over-population, agriculture and resource depletion. We humans have a knack for playinfg spin the bottle with nature. Each time the spin is over another species goes extinct. There’s no written guarantee that the bottle will neverr point at us. If our progeny do disappear, the little violet will bloom as boldy and brightly as ever. The sidewalk will slowly erode and disappear under the earth. It is not likely that a team of cockroach archaeologists will ever wish to dig it up to reconstruct a long-forgotten humanm culture.

All over the globe species are fighting for survival in the face of poachers, ivory-hunters, deforestation, climate change, over-fishing, pesticices, glue sticks, invasive species and habitat lose. It has ever been such.

Here is recent research showing that hundreds, maybe more than a thousand, bird species were wiped out as humans settled the Pacific island chains. Achaeological research on California Indian–before Columbus and the Spanish brought smallpox to America–had worked their way down the food chain from once-plentiful geese to eating small shorebirds. The number of species wiped out in Europe is prodigious–from Irish elk to bustards. What’s happened to Hawaii’s birdlife is a sadly typical tale for islands all over the world. Dodo. Passenger Pigeon. Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Steller’s seacow. There were once lions in the Middle East. Wolves in Virginia. Still the Mediterranean cultures insist on using glue sticks to catch any migratory bird unlucky enough to land. Sailing ships and freighters have inevitably deposited rats on every far-flung island and they then decimate the local populations of small animals. Guam’s loss of its birds is now a tragic legend.

Long live the violet which cannot be stopped by man and his sidewalks.


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