3) Biology

Each day at least 500 to 1000 life-species become extinct on our Planet. Of course others are constantly being created via the route of genetic mutations. The human species, as acknowledged by anthropologists, has been on Earth for about 4 million years. That period of time is rather brief compared to many other life-species which exist, and which have existed, on Earth.

The extinction of any life species is always attributable to one of two causes. Genetic mutations sometimes produce a change in one species which may render the old species obsolete. Or environmental conditions may arise which cause the demise of a particular life-species.

The most intriguing thing about life is that ability of some species to adjust to changing environmental conditions that threaten their survival. A prime example being humans learning to band together to defend themselves against attacks of animals.

In fact, it is this particular capacity of the individual members of life-species to cooperate in defense of environmental threats that has proved to be the most vital factor in their prolonged survival on Earth. Insects, other animals, perhaps even some bacterial forms, as well as humans, are known to utilize this cooperative element in defense of environmental attacks.

Cooperation among the individual members of a species is the key! And this is especially so for the human species in this day and age because humans have developed and acquired elements (chemical, physical, and biological) which if left out of control could easily render most if not all life-species extinct in the near future.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist, Edward O. Wilson, offers us some chilling commentary on this matter. “I believe we are currently in the midst of one of the great extinction spasms of geological history. There have been five up until now and we are, I think in the sixth. The most recent, about 65 million years ago, was caused when a meteorite struck Earth. This led, among other things, to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Each of these extinctions has been catastrophic for earth because it’s taken an average of 10 million years to recover from each of them. The difference between the previous great extinctions and this one is that the latter is caused by the actions of man — who may ultimately be among its victims.”

Wilson goes on to warn, “We are presently losing species, losing the diversity of our ecosystems, at an alarming rate. There have always been extinctions of what you might call a “natural” kind. Species that cannot compete or find a niche disappear. But as these species become extinct others come along, so the trend is, increasingly toward diversity. Since the appearance of human beings, however, the rate of extinctions has increased somewhere from 1,000 to 10,000 times. I often say that, as a biologist, I sometimes feel like an art curator watching the Louvre burn down.”

If you have not yet guessed it, this writing will be an examination of how we of the human species might best rise to the challenge and utilize this element of cooperation to combat the increasing threat to our survival posed by today’s ever-changing environmental conditions. Whereas individualism is a natural, inbred aspect of any life-species, cooperation is generally an acquired or learned aspect. And, until recent times man has learned cooperation to the degree necessary to survive environmental threats. For the human species to survive today it is required that we first understand the greatly increased need for learning cooperation, and then to find ways to channel that innate individualism to vastly increased dedication to cooperation.

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