8 February 2008

Rainforest Ecology

The Beauty, Majesty, and Timelessness of a Primary Rainforest is indescribable. It is impossible to capture on film, to describe in words, or to explain to those who have never had the awe-inspiring experience of standing in the heart of the Earths most biologically diverse eco-systems.

The biodiversity of the Rainforest is so immense that less than 1 percent of its millions of species have been studied by scientists for their active constituents and their possible uses.

Antarctic Beech (Nothofagus moorei) 'Border Ranges National Park'

and yet ... We are losing Earth's greatest biological treasures just as we are beginning to appreciate their true value. Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover a mere 5% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.

The Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet" because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. Other functions include rainfall generation, regional climate regulation, habitat conservation, watershed protection, and soil stabilisation - at local to global scales.

As the global economy grows, the natural resources that fuel this growth are being diminished at a rate that is unable to regenerate itself.

When an acre of topical Rainforest is lost, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible use is staggering. Scientists estimate that we are losing more than 137 species of plants and animals every single day because of Rainforest deforestation.

"The worst thing that could happen during the 21st centuary is not energy depletion, economic collapses, limited nuclear war, or conquest by a totalitarian government. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired within a few generations. The one process ongoing in this centuary that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats caused by Deforestation and Climate Change "

What are the solutions ?

How do we overcome fear, inertia and dispair ?

What will it take for us to W a k e U p ?

How do we awaken a state of Empowerment ?

These are questions I ask myself often, as I find it heart wrenching to see our collective actions (and inactions) causing irrevocable environmental and social degradation on planet Earth.

intellectually over-dwelling on the problem is a sure antidote for despair and disempowerment

and on the other hand

ignorance of the real issues leaves no pathways to take action and implement solutions

what is the answer ?

how do we live in harmony with nature and all beings

The question we must all ask ourselves now is "How can we meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Our answer can be found in nature

and how we perceive nature


Fritjof Capra, author of 'The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living' states;

We could use Nature as a model and a mentor, and design societies and communities that are in harmony with the basic principles of organization that Nature has evolved to sustain life. Nature contains ecosystems as sustainable communities; communities of animals, plants, and microorganisms that have evolved over billions of years so as to maximize their long-term survival or sustainability. So, we would have patterned our communities based on the long-term success of these natural communities, which means that we would use solar energy as our main energy source, including wind, biomass, and so on. We would have arranged our industries and our systems of production in such a way that matter cycles continuously, that all materials cycle between producers and consumers. In the nature there is zero waste, as every output is another systems input.

We would grow our food organically, and we would shorten the distance between the farm and the table, which is now thousands of kilometers, by producing food locally. We would also shorten the distance between the home and the workplace, so that we don’t need to use cars to go to work, we can bicycle or we can use public transportation, we can walk to work. All of this would combine to create a world that has dramatically reduced pollution, where climate change has been brought under control, where there would be plenty of jobs, because these various designs are labour-intensive, and as an overall effect there will be no waste, and the quality of life would increase dramatically.

The solutions are endless and nothing new has to be discovered (just a recognition of our connection to the whole). The key is to ACCEPT the current situation and move beyond doubt and fear and into the light of self-empowered Action.

Action could include growing some of your own veggies and fruit trees, Cycling or walking to work, Consuming less and spending more quality time with your loved ones or visiting natural eco-systems to learn from the masters by stepping outside your daily habitual patterns and resting in the presence of your being.

We know that our current way of life is harming the planet and its inhabitants.

Only HOPE and ACTION will remedy this.

For a better future, we each must re-evaluate our own actions and

BE the positive change we want to see in the world.

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