I discussed the ambiguity of the perception of nature. But Nature and Humanity are not separate spheres with no connection to each other. They are linked together in a way that they affect and influences one another. We usually think it to be a one-way connection which mostly humans influence nature, while the other way around is rare. In the next post I will refute that notion, but, we do gravely change nature. Since the dawn of humanity, as hunters and gatherers, we did make animals go extinct, usually the big mammals like the mammoth. We made several species more “successful” by domesticating them, making sure they will stay safe. But as we pushed technology to new heights, we started to change the environment gravely. The most prominent example is, of course, the global warming, but I want to introduce other influences that are less common.
In 2007 beekeepers reported that honeybees are dying off by an unknown cause and that hive’s population has just vanished, leaving their colony deserted. Bees are an essential part of agriculture because bees pollinate flowers, without bees to pollinate we will lose 1/3 of our agricultural output. In market view, bees are a bottleneck in the process of agrarian manufacture. This plague threatens a significant portion of our diet, though there is some recovery. This phenomenon got the name “colony collapse disorder” (CCD).
Many tried to identify the causes of CCD, some have claimed that cellular transmissions confuse the bee’s sense of direction causing the bees to get lost. It seems that this is not the case, but it can be an exciting “thought experiment.” If the cellular transmission are the cause, to solve CCD, means we will have to isolate fields from reception, which might include huge areas. Could we pull it off? Can we bend the corporation’s hand and force them to change all their infrastructures? The recent thinking is that the cause for CCD is chemical pest control. Even though it looks like this is the cause, it is still hard to force companies and people to stop relying on this type insecticides.
Another example has to do with whales and dolphins communication. As you probably know, whales are communicating by high-frequency sounds waves they send. Some scientists argue that they can talk across whole oceans. But they find it harder and harder to communicate successfully, which hinder their attempts to hunt using sonar and gather in certain places. The reason? The oceans became very noisy due to the increased traffic of ships, so they cannot hear one another. We still rely mostly on cargo ships to transfer goods across borders, meaning it’s the central vein of economic activity. Maybe it influences not only dolphins and whales. Perhaps it causes more significant issues within the habitats of other animals we are yet to detect.
Can we put to a halt the whole economy for saving the oceans? Can we limit ships routes? We cannot find a solution to a “simpler” problem like overfishing. We won’t be able to solve this by science. Science might develop noiseless engines, and might come up with a way to make the bees resistant to these types of insecticides, but is this the right way?
I remember one day when I was little, I played with all my toys and scattered them on my room floor. The toys covered the floor until the point I couldn’t make one step without stepping on a single toy. When my mom saw the mess I did, she told me that before I go to bed, I need to clean the mess. I thought I came up with a bright idea. I made two lanes that connected my bed and the closet to the door. I thought that I’d solved the problem. I went proudly to my mom and told her that I did what she asked. She came to the room and saw my idea, and said that she wants all the toys back to their place. I explained to her that I can move around, so the toys are not a problem anymore, but (of course) she didn’t listen. Why? Because maybe I solved the problem of moving around, but the room was still a mess.
We try to solve overfishing by growing fish in ponds, but we need something to feed them with, so fishers fish extensively for their source of food (shrimps), but that is disrupting the ecosystem’s balance. The only way to solve those issues is to affect the human activity and control it. So fishers could not overfish. In the whale case maybe if we could force all of the ships to go through specific lanes, or could limit the number of vessels, could solve the problem. In the case of the bees, we need to stop using pest control because, in the end, we eat it as well. These are not problems that “hard science” (biology physics) can solve. Only social sciences can.
Why? Because these problems are political problems. Can fishing in international water be stopped? Who has the right? Can A country arrest B’s country’s vessel which is overfishing in international water? The most extreme example is that In the end, all the scientific community can stand and scream their lungs out that global warming is a fact. But, if the American president doesn’t believe that, the environmentalists will just end up with a sore throat. These problems are political and could only be solved within the premises of political discourse by political means. My professor had a Ph.D. in environmental studies. He left it to study Humanities and social sciences. He told us that “the world doesn’t need more and better environmental scientists, The world needs better politicians and political scientists.