With all the negativity about tech sometimes, it's lovely to see a genuinely positive use.
Our only redemption might be devising some system of protecting the planet from a future catastrophic meteoric collision.
This peaceful scene is an endless orgy of violence, death, and deceit as living things work constantly against one another. Animals stalk prey as plants wage chemical warfare against plants and animals alike. Creatures pretend to be other creatures, and plants pretend to be insects in order to attract them for selfish reasons.
"Harmonious" is not a word everyone would use to describe nature red in tooth and claw.
That's part of the harmony. Harmony ends when one of these organism takes over, it destroys the entire ecology and in the process it ultimately destroys itself.
Plenty of animals and plants alter their environment to the detrinent of others.
Trees are tall and shady in order to reduce the sunlight in the environment and starve nearby plants to death at absurd individual expense: it takes a lot of nutrients to make those trunks that serve no purpose other than spite.
Beavers construct big dams to turn meadows into swampland, often clearing out the local plant life. I know from personal experience that operating a large farm in a wooded area is a constant battle of construction and destruction against the beavers.
Yeah, humans are better at altering the environment than most everything else, but altering the environment at the expense of other life is hardly unnatural.
Definite case in point: photosynthesizing organisms (green plants, algae, etc.)
We know that the Earth had a large-scale anaerobic ecosystem before the advent of photosynthesis. While anaerobic organisms still exist, they're only found in very narrow niches. >99% of them were wiped out, root and branch, apparently killed off by rising oxygen levels (oxygen is a poison to them).
Because if it's not harmonius is collapses. And we all die.
But yes, there's no real reason for it to be harmonius, just like there's no real reason humans (or any other life form on Earth) need to exist.
The answer is obvious conservation until we as a species are immune to single planitary extinctions, but the romanticised view of our worlds ecology as some living entity, rather than a number of organisms interacting independently and adapting doesn't give a clear objective of what we should be doing and more importantly why.
In nature a species population usually self correct and balance through either becoming prey or resource depletion (their prey). We can too easily protect ourselves from any potential natural predators (technology) and have found more and more ways to exploit the earth to allow unsustainable growth (technology). Modern humans are quite unbalanced and inharmonious... This point of view is also interesting when considering our predecessors, tribes who lived in the forests, not Mayan civilisation or whatever, but tribes, they leave no trace because everything they take or make is of the forest and goes back into the ground just like every other part of the ecosystem - they were the only harmonious humans and there still are small numbers of tribes who live like this.
We are not unique in our ability to overwhelm ecosystems. It's true that as intelligent life we should be far, far more aware of our actions.
We are not unique in that respect, but we are unique magnitude and consistency, we aren't an "event" like others, we are an adaptive species.
I don't think so, on any long time scale. We just think it's in perfect harmonious balance because we've only been observing it for a the blink of a gnat's eye. Longer time scales are an endless succession boom and bust as some creatures fail and dying, others succeed and breed out of control until they wipe others out (and eventually themselves).
The view that nature is somehow wise and benevolent is only possible for us at all because we've won the game so thoroughly that nature, almost never happens /to/ us.
I didn't say it was perfect, on the contrary all of the models used to describe ecological systems exhibit some degree of chaos, but the important part is they are periodic, they all oscillate in some way and eventually recover one way or another - I suppose you could argue humans just haven't reached some tipping point yet, we haven't completed "one period", but unlike other species we keep inventing ways to escape that. This is the difference I'm pointing out, I thought it was pretty obvious.
> The view that nature is somehow wise and benevolent is only possible for us at all because we've won the game so thoroughly that nature, almost never happens /to/ us.
I realise that by mentioning tribes and forests I seem to have tripped some "save the world" alarms, to clarify that is what I intended to imply - i'm not an environmentalist. Your statement is not my view, I don't think nature is benevolent, nature is nature its neutral and of course we are part of it, but it's not exactly hard to argue that humans stick out like a sore thumb from the rest, we are in the position of resource depletion in classic models but we really take it up a few orders of magnitude in severity because we have so many tricks to exploit the system.
No. It doesn't require civilization to do this.
Virtually all of the North American megafauna were wiped out within a very short time after the first paleo-Indians arrived.
And yet I can't help reading your comment as if you are proscribing how things should be, rather than simply describing how they are. But again, I may be misreading you, so apologies.
We might be able to but there is relatively little evidence of that actually being the case. Theoretically we are perfectly cable of reasoning over 100's of years of time but in practice our life-span is the only thing that we seem to care about.
Or in other words, it's an instance of the tragedy of the commons, where the "commons" is the future of our species and the planet.
Harmonious ? There have been multiple extinction events in the history, things go out of balance all the time.
It seems great if you're only looking at the nice parts.
Our ultimate differentiating evolutionary trait is our intelligence. Which has enabled us to adopt, but this trait has become an unchecked strength. We do not have the ability to control ourselves nor the nature is able to contain us. We're an out of control virus about to destroy its host.
I don't know about lions, but their cousins the lynx absolutely do kill off so many hares that they die of hunger. The hare population then rebounds, followed by a rebound in the lynx population. It's one of the most famous cycles in ecology.
I would not be at all surprised to learn that a similar predator/prey population cycle holds true for lions.
If you're interested in the math:
But if you want to make value judgements -- which you seem to want to -- I'm curious from whence your values come? Is your love of harmony, beauty and balance objectively different than a fly's love of a turd?
In a cold vast universe without sentient life, is there really a difference between a tree and a rock on mars if there is nobody to judge?
Edit: To add to that: Starting from the aforementioned viewpoint I think that saving the planet and preserving the environment is really important.. for us humans! There is no inherent value in having 100 species or 1000 species in a forest, it's simply important because if 900 species die, there might be changes in the ecosystem that affect us in the long run. Or the forest might be less beautiful/harmonious. I have a hard time to see any inherent value in nature, because again: what difference is there between a rose and some dark asteroid?
Either the universe doesn't give a damn about your esthetics, or it does. I'd be curious as why you think it does?
(Full disclosure - I believe it does, but I'm also a believer in an organized religion.)