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Asha de Vos

Marine Biologist, The University of California Santa Cruz

TEDCRED 100+

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Everything on this earth is so closely intertwined that when we drive a species to extinction, we are spelling our own demise.

As a biologist I study webs of things and this is something I strongly believe in. We think that just because something is not an immediate part of our day to day life, its destruction will have no impact on us as humans - but I don't think thats correct. I am keen to have lots of input on this idea and examples and thoughts :)

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    Apr 19 2012: When and if humans drive some species to extinction upon which we (unknowingly) are dependent, humans will do one of two things: adapt or die. No matter what, change proceeds and inevitably the human species will do what 99.99 percent of all species do, evolve in unrecognizable life-forms (over a long time frame) or die (in a relatively short time-frame). Can humanity adapt fast enough for some remnant to live on when civilization collapses? Probably. Not necessarily. As for *civilization* surviving, I wouldn't put money down on ours existing in 200 years (not very long considering the modern human race is about 80,000 years old.) Between nuclear weapons, biological agents, antibiotic existence, political paralysis, and so on, the odds for our civilization aren't very good. Both in Australia and in North and South America, waves of humans resulted in the extermination of a host of large mammals (mammoths, saber-tooth tigers, etc, etc.). Humans (Aborigines and 'native Americans') survived. However, in the event of a collapse of civilization, the ensuing mess might more closely resemble that of a city starving in seige --- first eaten are the cows, then the horses, then the dogs, then the rats, then the mice -- and finally other human beings.

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