Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Evolution of species has a lot to do with natural selection. Organisms with different phenotypes have different chances for survival in a particular environment. Some species are better suited to survive in hot conditions, other species are better suited to the cold environment. Naturally, they cannot exist side by side, because the natural selection has smartly chosen which genes are preferable on a particular territory.

Selective pressure is an inevitable part of natural selection. To be precise, there are dozens of pressures that make species die out, mutate, develop new traits essential to survive. Native African people, for example, never have a fair skin, and desert plants are always meant to store a lot of water in their cells. Obviously, only dark-skinned people are well-equipped to survive in the equatorial area. In course of evolution, water-rich succulents have outlived many plants that were not meant to survive with little water under the blazing sun.

Interestingly, the immune system is a strong selective pressure to pathogenic organisms. Some of them have phenotypes that make them highly resistant to the host’s immune reaction, which makes bacteria and viruses mutate. This way some pathogens can disguise themselves within the host, which makes them difficult to find or fight.

Climate, food, predators, diseases, and human influence are typical selective pressures. They urge organisms to move, transform, or die out – the fierce law of wild nature. When humans are better prepared to resist absolutely any trouble from within, animals are defenseless, and that makes natural selection work.

The hierarchical structure of management is common to multiple big and small organizations. They look like pyramids with CEOs at the top of it. Every person in the organization subordinates to someone else, therefore, every worker in the middle of the pyramid has their bosses and subordinates. Non-profits do not stay aside. Hierarchical structure helps them maintain a status quo, which brings them stability. Today many organizations consider it a weakness, but environmental organizations take status quo as an essential feature to prove their viability.

Having a virtuous CEO, non-profits get more chances for funding. Conservation groups usually struggle to find the resources they need, and they cannot attract donors if they look too risky to potential investors. A flat structure brings disorganization, especially when applied to a big company. Being very innovative is good for small startups, but organizations collecting big money for conservation of wildlife have to have a clear management and flawless reputation. A hierarchical management suits best such purpose.

Apparently, conservation organizations do their best to remain attractive to investors. But preserving the wildlife depends on more factors such as legislation, local involvement, poor planning and vague goals put by conservation groups. They often need common efforts to take actions but eventually cannot get them. We all live in the same environment and have our own ambitions to what nature can bring us. Conservation organizations, in their turn, do not have a superpower to stop legislative negligence, industrial abuse, and illegal actions of individuals. Most likely, the type of organization has nothing to do with it.

Ecosystem functions are changed by industrial evolution and human involvement in the first place. They encompass all the biological, geochemical, and physical processes that take place in the ecosystem. Ecosystem functions range from regulating gas-formation within the atmosphere to providing comfortable living conditions to species and precious raw materials to humans. No wonder, ecosystems do not need a human intervention to function perfectly. But eventually, everything that we do prevents natural unities from supporting species and their habitat.

Climate change is a very global effect of human activity. The critical amount of greenhouse gasses filling the atmosphere made climate unpredictable and ecosystems – defenseless. Rising sea level moves amphibians and other species further into the continent. Tsunamis and storms destroy what once has been a coastal ecosystem. Animals are vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, just like humans. Floods and fires push animals that remain alive out of their habitat.

Decades ago, the regulatory function of ecosystems allowed them to keep the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere on a decent level. Green plants could take in some CO2 and release some oxygen instead. Besides, the extensive green mass of trees protected ecosystems from overheating. Today the amount of green plants has shrunk so much that fresh water sources dry out and species become extinct.

With all the respect to ecosystems they can provide, humans keep extracting non-renewable natural resources. But it would be very logical to suggest that such resources would one day deplete. It means that we are not smarter than nature. Once it can provide little for its wold species, it can hardly save humans from the crisis.