Friday, April 06, 2007

The End of the Wild
Stephen M. Meyer

What is the human without the Wild? Meyer presumes the end of natural selection and justifiably claims that for many many decades humans have changed the act of selection to human selection. It is our hand that determines the populace of individuals in an ecosystem - both intentionally and unintentionally.

This book was like a 97 page gasp. It is like someone telling you that your neighborhood is burning and it will never be the same and within the flames lie your beloved two cats and a dog and the deer, fox and squirrels that you watch every morning. The whole of the idea of what Meyer has to say puts butterflies in my stomach.

Meyer tells us that it would be wise to forget about saving the charismatic species like the panda, mountain gorilla California condor. The focus should be the whole ecosystem. The reason being is that these charismatic fauna and flora are doomed to begin with. It is merely an act of feel-good action for our own psyche.

Meyer tells us that we need to look at our own behavior and modify it drastically. He doesn't call for empty public policy and for more corporate environmental lobby, but a dumping of billions over the next twenty years into studying and classifying ecosystems. On the one hand he lauds the management of Nature as human selections, but on the other hand calls for a drastic step-up in management and study. This would-be irony makes a lot of sense if the end of the wild is real. There is no room, literally, for "nature to take its course" without human intervention, which is the definition of human selection.

If human selection is the contemporary process by which to make the most of our Earth and its various habitats, we should do it correctly. We may have to spend time mixing various sub populations for a stronger gene pool, cull weedy species, and construct larger and healthier wildlife corridors. We need to be consistent and smart about it.

Meyer doesn't state this in "the End of the Wild," but I think that there is a presumption that we are a weedy species that is out of control.

This book should be read by anyone and everyone...especially our youth. At 97 pages (it took me an hour to read) this could be part of assigned reading for many school-age groups.

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