TED Conversations

Arun Dhillon

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In context of environmental pollution/damage, how different are humans from other species?

There is no doubt that pollution is increasing.But humans are just striving to survive against diseases,famines,reproducing and making their lives easy,just like any other specie would do.We make dams that has huge environmental impact,but beavers also do so,in the process blocking a stream.Is the control of human population the simplest answer to control the pollution?.Would any other specie behave the same way as the humans?

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    Mar 29 2012: All species are the same in this regard even plants. Dropped pine needles for example are a natural barrier to other plants growing in pine forests, thats why pine forests have so little undergrowth. We are just having the most impact and we keep using technology to solve the problems that would otherwise be limiting our population. The concept of pollution is entirely man made. Really there is just stuff. If we don't like the stuff or we don't like what it does to the environment we call it pollution. One organisms pollution is another organisms food or shelter. To us an oil spill is a tragic event, to the bacteria that eat the oil its a party.
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      Mar 30 2012: I agree.
      But humans have something different from other species. We can chose which species we like (us included) and save them from otherwise inevitable extinction.
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        Apr 1 2012: Can we really choose which species we like or do we just save the ones that meet a set of parameters that we are programmed by our genetics to find attractive. We do tend to save things that are big,cute or smart, and this tendency seems to be non-cultural. Pretth much all humans seem to find the same animals attractive.
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          Apr 2 2012: This is still called chosing, in my book.
          If you say it's not, then please admit that you don't chose what words you write either.
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    Apr 25 2012: The human animal isnt much diffrent from any other creature. A pig will destoy your back yard looking for food with out so much as an appology. A skunk you can smell the air polution a half mile off. War? Try getting along with a grizzly in the bush. There are viruses that are mutaiting as we speak to kill as many of "us" as possible. The big difference between "Us" and "Them" is we have the ability to know better.
  • Apr 6 2012: Janine Benyus and her work on biomimicry prompted me to think about mimicking other species at least in terms of consumption... Have we ever seen an obese animal in the wild? I suspect most species do not consume more than they need for survival. Human's on the other hand seem to have a limitless appetite for consumption.
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    Apr 2 2012: Either way whether it's choice or compulsion saving a doomed species can't really have much effect on a global scale as the fact they are at risk of extinction means their numbers are too small to be of any real consequence. And I'm not so sure I do choose the words I write. The words are there to reflect what I'm thinking in a written form that Ididn't design. Nor do I really control the thoughts in my head. But that's an entirely different discussion