28 May 2008

Extinction and metaphor

Whether we need to save other species to save ourselves is not really the point. Each time a species vanishes, the planet becomes a poorer place. It doesn’t matter if we’ve never seen them, if they go extinct without our ever knowing they were here. To live is to participate in the carnival of nature, and the carnival is diminished by the losses.
-- says Olivia Judson in Musings Inspired By a Quagga.

The metaphor of nature [life] as carnival may appeal to quite a few. To others, nature is a university, a cathedral, an abyss, an abattoir, a three and half billion year furnace, an obstacle to rise above and a tool kit.

If there is a truth for humans, it may be that biodiversity sustains life and nourishes culture and spirit; it may be a path to a pearl of great price.


Anonymous said...

A couple of points about Olivia Judson's piece:

1. The quagga is not a species, but a subspecies.

2. It is not extinct.

3. The Harpy Eagle, named as endangered, is not endangered.

4. The story on extinction is not quite as grim as some would make it out to be.

For more, see >> http://terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2008/05/missing-story-on-quaggas-and-extinction.html

Caspar Henderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caspar Henderson said...

According to Wikipedia (viewed 30 May 08), the American Harpy Eagle's conservation status is 'Near Threatened':

The Harpy Eagle is threatened by logging and hunting throughout its range, in large parts of which the bird has become a transient sight only: in Brazil, it was all but totally wiped out from the Atlantic rainforest and is only found in numbers in the most remote parts of the Amazon basin. The Harpy Eagle is considered near threatened by IUCN. The Peregrine Fund consider it a "conservation dependent species", meaning it depends on a dedicated effort for captive breeding and release to the wild as well as habitat protection in order to prevent it from reaching endangered status.