Saving Humans as a Species

The only thing nature cares about is success.

Nature doesn’t care about cruelty, or invasive species, or pollution.

Nature has one question: can you survive? Can you keep on reproducing?

From nature’s point of view, humans’ tendency towards aggression and war probably was good for us historically as a species. The deaths thinned out the herd, and the rapes mixed genetic bloodlines that otherwise wouldn’t have crossed.

Of course, from a human standpoint, war and rape is horrible. Since we can now control our birth rate and mix our bloodlines without it, I would argue that it is no longer beneficial to us as a species…although it was war that gave us computers, so I suppose even that is arguable.

Nature doesn’t care if we protect endangered species, or clean up our pollution. There have been great waves of extinction before, and one of the first great cases of pollution was anaerobic bacteria producing so much waste that it killed itself off in massive numbers…of course, the pollution that killed it was oxygen, so what was bad for the anaerobic bacteria ended up being good for all the oxygen-based life that followed it.

So nature doesn’t care. If we don’t survive, we don’t survive. Something new will evolve; maybe plastic and radiation will be its food.

Humans, however, care very much. At least, I care. I value diversity and complex ecosystems, so the more animals and plants that become extinct through habitat loss and being outcompeted by invasive species, the more I want to preserve what’s left.

The thing is, I’m betting that humans still don’t have a complete picture of how everything fits together. So I’m afraid we’re playing a big game of Jenga with our world, and every time a species becomes extinct, it’s like pulling one more piece out of the tower. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that we can stop before the tower falls down.

So many humans are focused on preserving individual lives — making seat belt laws, promoting universal vaccination, making sure all food sold comes from a commercial kitchen. We have so many humans on this planet, losing individual lives is not the greatest threat to us as a species. I would like to see as much energy going into saving humans as a species as goes into saving human individuals.

Our greatest threats as a species (tell me if I’ve forgotten any) are overpopulation, loss of soil fertility, water management, loss of pollinators, and destruction of environment through war, pollution, resource extraction, and building homes and roads.

Things we can do as individuals to help our species, therefore, include having no children, or only one child; promoting education around the world (there is a positive correlation between higher levels of education and lower birth rates), eating organic foods, using water sparingly, using our water more than once (for example, bath water can be used for laundry, then laundry water can go to the banana patch), letting bugs and other insects live, practicing loving-kindness and acceptance, using as few resources as possible, and making our homes small, preferably on land that is isn’t already being lived on by other species.

None of those things are for nature’s sake. They are all selfish human actions because I want us to survive and thrive.

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