Are we even paying attention to our Biosphere?
The question in our modern age becomes, “are we even paying attention to the biosphere at all?”
We live in a world where every ounce of product on Walmart’s shelves are inventoried and accounted for. Every product at Amazon is coded with a barcode and being monitored. Yet our biosphere and the millions of species which compose it, remain unchecked.
Where is our “dashboard” for Earth’s biosphere? Are we even monitoring the various populations around us? How many people are involved in the data collection? Is it being shared with the public? Are we being made aware? Do we truly know what’s going on?
I would argue that we don’t; that in our modern age we neglect understanding the natural world around us. Perhaps this is not our fault, as we are acculturated and we’re all watching the flashing lights for various products and advertisements.
Constant Biosphere Monitoring Required
But the reality is that we need and require constant monitoring of our biosphere. We need people in the field watching and counting populations, looking for changes, so that we can become aware of conservation issues before it’s too late.
Some might argue that we can’t afford in our state or national budgets to spend money on such things. However one should consider the savings that may come from the benefits of healthy populations–no longer would we need massive fish farms nor would we require costly water filtration if we were truly taking good care of our habitat and species.
Some might argue that saving species for novelty and “wildlife viewing” is arbitrary and a worthwhile sacrifice for economic progress. However one whom argues this must not forget that nature provides us mental well being and relaxation and peace of mind. There are many studies showing decreased stress and anxiety when a person is in a peaceful nature-based setting. Additionally, even in regards to economy one can argue for species protection: diverse populations create more functional ecosystems (which provide greater ecosystem services, such as water or air filtration or contaminant trapping). Building these “ecosystem services” ourselves with technological replacements is costly and less effective than what nature has devised.
Awareness for a Better Future
If we were to embrace nature’s systems and take good care of our various biomes and various populations, we could reap the many mental, physical and economic benefits they provide. Ultimately, we are tied to the natural world as it supports us. The energy we spend monitoring our store shelves and quarterly earnings is important when we wish to be wise about their use and management; so too we should prioritize the items of nature, the species and ecosystems, and work towards their proper use and management.
A truly progressive society can learn to create economic prosperity while creating ecological prosperity at the same time. This is the future of humankind; this is our only choice for the longevity and preservation of our well-being.