The Anthropocene Thrives

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Lance Kennedy
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The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Lance Kennedy » Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:45 am

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Inheritors-Ear ... 0241240751

The book referenced above, by ecologist Chris Thomas, gives a positive twist to the human influenced world of today. He sees the introduction of alien life forms all around the planet as like a return to the time of Pangaea, when one continent spanned the Earth and all land life lived connected by that land mass. The human influenced movement of life forms from country to country, across oceans is seen as a boost to biodiversity everywhere. According to Thomas, nature is thriving. Thomas also says that speciation is active, with more new species coming into existence than going extinct. He calls it the sixth major genesis of life.

Thomas is not supportive of the harm humans do to the world, and describes accurately the damage, from mass extinctions, to habitat destruction and climate change. But he says the growth of the biological world is even greater. Everywhere, there are more species than ever before. He sees nature on the march, and growing. He sees humans and nature coexisting.

Thomas points out that when new species are introduced, only one in a thousand harms native species. There is massive hybridization going on, with introduced species interbreeding with close relatives, adding genetic strength. Humans do great harm to ecosystems, but are also a force driving evolution, and driving an increase in variability. His view of the natural world is one of optimism.

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Nikki Nyx » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:46 pm

Thomas has an intriguing—and welcome!—approach to ecology. It's much appreciated to have his balanced viewpoint in light of the prevalence of doom and gloom, not to mention the overwhelmingly prevalent idea amongst activists that the normal survival-based and species-specific activities of homo sapiens sapiens are "unnatural" and despoiling the "natural world."

I joke that my yard, which falls under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, has been landscaped courtesy of bird and bunny poop. Every season, I notice brand new species of plants I didn't have the previous year...and I didn't plant them. Thanks to the wildlife, I now have wild angelica along the banks of the brook, three black cherry trees (probably from some McMansion down the street), wild raspberries (which are everywhere!), wild blackberries, ajuga and clover throughout my "lawn," several catalpa trees, tons of jewelweed, Queen Anne's Lace, grapevines, and more which I have yet to identify. Unfortunately, the birds also brought me Chinese bittersweet, which is ridiculously hard to get rid of, grows fast, and tries to kill everything else.

Angelica...
Image

Ajuga...
Image

Queen Anne's Lace...
Image

Jewelweed...
Image
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:43 pm

it's good to be reminded that mass extinctions aren't a sign of total extinction. On the contrary: putting remote species in competition with each other through global exchange can only lead to more resilient organisms.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:44 pm

Interesting to see positive response to this thread. I expected the opposite. In fact, I thought Bobbo would be in, boots and all, to say what nonsense it was.

But I think that Thomas is quite right in much of what he says. I have read a lot of doom and gloom, and how we are destroying nature. But when I look around, including a range of other countries I have visited, I see trees, shrubs, birds, worms, insects etc all burgeoning.

Here in NZ, we have wiped out 50 species of native birds, and replaced them with 150 species of imported birds. We used to have 2,000 species of green plant, and have made about 6 extinct. There are now over 4,000 species of green plant growing, including all the exotics.

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:56 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Interesting to see positive response to this thread. I expected the opposite. In fact, I thought Bobbo would be in, boots and all, to say what nonsense it was.


Ha, ha......you are correct sir. I was so appalled.......I couldn't even respond.

Pros and cons to all we do. When I travel.....I like seeing something different. You are arguing for homogeneity. A MacDonno's on every street corner...all over the world. You say greenery and cheeping birds aren't the same as hamburgers ?............. I agree. Its worse.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:15 pm

Not homogeneity, Bobbo. Ecosystems vary even within the same continent.

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:20 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Not homogeneity, Bobbo. Ecosystems vary even within the same continent.

Your link goes to ecosystems losing variety at local levels by becoming more homogeneous at the Global level.

What you are suffering from Lance is failure to recognize their are pros and cons to every position taken. You prefer to think that whatever you like is good in all respects.

prove me wrong: what is good about losing many of your unique local species.......gone to the whole world? You have that burrowing bird that is quite tame? To be lost to the homogeneity of...what is it...wood rats?
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:28 pm

living in a niche one is adapted to is a powerful advantage.
If an invading species is nevertheless able to replace you it means that it is remarkably "fit".
In time, diversity will return.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:30 pm

EM--if true.... so much time is required as to be irrelevant.

Where in the world can I go to marvel at a Blue tit? Red tits all over the world become boring.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby OlegTheBatty » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:34 pm

Evolution isn't, and never has been, static. Change is ongoing and ubiquitous. Homogenization in an ecosystem means that some niches will be unoccupied, or occupied by something that doesn't utilize those resources efficiently. Something will evolve that will occupy the niche more effectively, and biodiversity will return. It won't be what was there before; it will be something which has not existed before.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:38 pm

.....and it will take so much time to occur that it is irrelevant.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:45 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:.....and it will take so much time to occur that it is irrelevant.


for us.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:47 pm

Possibly not that much time, Bobbo.

There are cases on record where speciation has occurred in a matter of decades rather than centuries. From memory, I recall cichlid fishes in African fresh water lakes, and lizards on Caribbean islands.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:04 pm

True Lance...but those aren't examples of return of extinct niche creatures disposed by invading species. Rather the opposite? More invading species finding unfilled niches? The invading species admired by your link ARE FILLING THE NICHES. Its going to take a more adapted/powerful competitor to dislodge the world of the future filled with kudzu and lionfish.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:11 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:.....and it will take so much time to occur that it is irrelevant.


for us.

Of course. "We" are the standard. What else matters? To say that xyz will occur ...."whenever" .... is irrelevant past my gaze.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:15 pm

According to evolutionary theory, if an unfilled niche exists, a species will evolve to fill it. My point was simply that evolution can be rapid. However, it will 'choose ' it's own direction. But anything is possible. For example, the lionfish that now populate areas it previously did not, may stimulate something to evolve into a lionfish predator. After all, in the "natural " lionfish habitat, numbers do not explode. Something is working to keep the lionfish population under control. We already know of various sharks and other fish that eat lionfish in the Indo Pacific .
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby OlegTheBatty » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:17 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:.....and it will take so much time to occur that it is irrelevant.


It is occurring continuously. "too much time" is meaningless. If you look at only one niche, then time is a factor; but there are so many interacting niches and species that it is a continuum.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:28 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:.....and it will take so much time to occur that it is irrelevant.


It is occurring continuously. "too much time" is meaningless. If you look at only one niche, then time is a factor; but there are so many interacting niches and species that it is a continuum.

Ha, ha........THAT doens't make any sense at all. Kinda like Polish accounting: In each niche, time is a factor. Add them all up and you have.....what? Really a good example of how slippery language is.

Polish accounting: you lose money on each sale, but make it up in volume. I assume we all see the error in that joke. Harder to see the same joke when its placed on a continuum.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:33 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:.....and it will take so much time to occur that it is irrelevant.


It is occurring continuously. "too much time" is meaningless. If you look at only one niche, then time is a factor; but there are so many interacting niches and species that it is a continuum.

Yep, all evolution is micro-evolution, change through time.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Nikki Nyx » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:52 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:.....and it will take so much time to occur that it is irrelevant.

Not necessarily.
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
—Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:46 pm

Nikki: the wolf example is a good one for certain mechanics...but the context is all wrong. The wolf was not dispossessed by any introduced species...except MAN. Heh, heh....in your example....MAN is the McDonald's. Everywhere you look, all you see is MAN.....except where MAN intentionally removes himself.

So......read in.......invasive species, except Man,...............continue. Even stating lots of those lost species have to be found elsewhere and reintroduced by Man still really misses the point. "The World without Humans"==yes, lots of species not much around now would snap back but not the ONES GONE EXTINCT and replaced by other non-human species.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:27 am

I maintain that human beings are part and parcel of the ecosystem; we simply have more autonomy than other species when it comes to affecting the environments in which we live. We no longer change our environments solely based on survival and reproduction, but also based on the needs of the ecosystem itself, independent of our personal needs.

In Massachusetts, white-tailed deer no longer have natural predators...except for human hunters. Our Department of Fisheries and Wildlife controls the deer population via the careful issuance of hunting permits every year. If the population is high, a hunter might be granted as many as four doe permits. If it's low, no doe permits might be issued that year.

The island of Martha's Vineyard learned the hard way that humans were an integral part of the food chain. Without considering the consequences, they banned hunting on the island. It didn't last long. The white-tailed deer population got out of control quickly with no natural predators, and began overrunning the island, eating the blissfully wealthy's expensive ornamental shrubbery, to their horror.

For all intents and purposes, we are an invasive species...unless wiser ecological minds are able to convince the powers that be that regulations are in our better interests. The brook in front of my house is loaded with trout that I dare not fish. My city has allowed so much land upstream to be paved over and built on that my brook is extremely tainted with E. coli from leaking septic tanks, multiple chemicals from lawn fertilizers, road salt because storm drains flow into it, and who knows what else. And my brook flows into a small river, which flows into a larger river, which flows into the Connecticut River, which flows into Long Island Sound, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

My local Conservation Commission appears to be uninterested in the situation, as well as the advanced erosion this situation is causing, which is causing my septic tank to be in danger of falling into the brook. That last is a work in progress; I'm attempting to convince them to hook my house into the existing city sewer system a block away, since the situation is their fault for not considering the 100-year storm when they allowed those houses to be built upstream.
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:11 am

Septic tanks are a problem. About a kilometer from my home is a small community with lots of septic tanks and the soil water is foul. Fortunately, I live far enough away, and my home has a "bio cycle " system, which uses powered aeration. We discharge into tne rain forest downhill from my house, and the discharge water is so pure, you could drink it. Just a bit high in nitrates and phosphates. The native trees love it !

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:05 am

I'm extremely careful in caring for mine. Nothing except septic-safe toilet paper gets flushed, I add bacteria to it regularly, and get it pumped on the schedule recommended by the company that pumps it. Since my house in on the brook, I have a pumping chamber to move everything away from the brook to the leach field; I check the functioning of the pump regularly (it has an alarm system). I even clean out my sink traps a couple times a year.

Your system sounds much better. I'm surprised, given the harshness of my state's wetlands regulations, that a septic system was allowed here...that they didn't insist on a hook-up to the city sanitary sewer system. Wish they had!
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
—Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby TJrandom » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:08 pm

Please let me know when the remaining megafauna are introduced to countries worldwide... lions, tigers, bears, etc.

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:58 pm

What tickles my imagination is the possibility of the rebirth of extinct species. Any animal that went extinct over the last few thousand years is likely to have left bones with intact DNA. The woolly mammoth and woolly rhino are real possibilities for reconstruction, since there is frozen tissue with undamaged DNA. But maybe we could recreate the marsupial lion, the Tasmanian tiger, the NZ giant moa, the Madagascan elephant bird etc.

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Poodle » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:22 pm

I still miss elms.

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby scrmbldggs » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:21 pm

:( ...and the Ents...


(Are the elms all ded by now?)
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby scrmbldggs » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:37 pm

Hmm, looks like these tamed beasts still exist.
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Poodle » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:43 pm

scrmbldggs wrote::( ...and the Ents...


(Are the elms all ded by now?)

No (as you've seen) - there are a few left here and there. Not a single one around here, though. There has been a program (ended a couple of years ago) of taking cuttings from immune trees and replanting around the country, but I'm not going to be around to see any 'new' mature ones.

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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Flash » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:41 pm

I wouldn't want the giant sloth and the titanoboa to come back. :shock:
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Re: The Anthropocene Thrives

Postby Lance Kennedy » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:55 am

What's wrong with the giant sloth and the titanoboa. They never did you any harm !


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