part 2 of “Food from Trash: A story of how bioshelters will save the world”
I just got home from seeing the movie Chasing Ice, it was beautiful, awe inspiring, humbling, it was also thought provoking.
A documentary showing global climate change’s direct impact on glaciers melting, Chasing Ice throws very cold water on any remaining doubt the earth is warming.
I’m not a climate scientist, so I can’t vouch for the movie’s accuracy (it is just a movie after all). But I understand how a change in atmospheric chemistry, caused by human industrialization, is warming the atmosphere, thus melting glaciers. And, I personally have experienced the power of the greenhouse effect, the process that is causing global warming, because it is the same effect powering our bioshelter.
Chasing Ice inspired me to finally put into words some thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind lately.
It got me thinking about humanity’s impact on Life’s diversity.
Our bioshelter was built on a part of our back yard that had very little growing on it when we got here. Ecologically it was pretty close to being a desert. A few weeds and grasses, that’s it. Now, with the bioshelter in place, that patch of Earth is teaming with life, even during the winter months.
That my human hands can make such a positive change to the wellness of that space, as a result of the choices that I made, is nothing short of miraculous. I can decide how a 400 square foot patch of land can go from lifeless to life-full.
Is there a choice in the matter of climate change’s ultimate outcome, a planet full of life to mass extinction?
The possibility of mass extinction can numb the mind. How could we possibly wrap our brain around what mass extinction means to our day to day existence or even what effect it will have in our lifetime. Maybe a simple graphic will help re-stimulate the brain cells.
The blue line above shows the history of mass extinctions over geologic time. Science has now proven that we are in the midst of another wave. It has become more clear that most likely human beings are the harbingers of death this time around. Particularly as the earth warms due to climate change, and species having little time to adapt.
But there is a trend hidden in the graph, the red line. From the perspective of Life’s evolution, drastic change is good. Since the beginning of life on this planet, mass extinctions have helped drive life’s diversity and complexity in a positive direction.
We could say the graph shows a long term global wide disturbance pattern. That the disturbance mass extinctions cause INCREASES life over time!
Bear with me as I make another observation…
There are modern examples of increases in ecological diversity from short term devastating region wide disturbance.
For example, new science is showing that even the dreaded invasive pine beetle, powered by climate warming, is creating life, not destroying it, as outlined in: From Death Comes Life: Recovery and Revolution in the Wake of Epidemic Outbreaks of Mountain Pine Beetle
As global disturbers, whether we like it or not, humans are now an integral part of this trend. It also seems, that the graph shows mass extinction is inevitable, whether humans are the cause or not.
Except there is one phenomena that could never effect the nature of mass extinctions in the past, until now — conscious human choice.
O.K., I know, I know, what exactly is the point of all these thoughts I’ve put to words?
Like the decision I made to increase life inside the bioshelter, will humanity DECIDE to increase earth’s diversity, solve the climate change problem, be a part of Life’s positive evolutionary trend?
Or will we just be a catalyst for the next round of geologic mass extinctions?
What is fascinating, and liberating somehow, is that life will continue to flourish either way. Here is the real kicker though, and the point I am trying to make:
Humans have the power to choose how the graph will look tomorrow!
We can make a choice between a living planet or a dying one.
What is your climate choice?
For more on the relationship between bioshelters and climate change, make sure to come back and read part 3.