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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 21 2012: My comment was tongue in cheek, mainly because I don't like alligators, or cats or dogs. My only real point is that the ecosystem, the biology of our planet will continue on. Species come, species go. Millions of years of refinement can vanish without reason at any time. Imagine how long it took amoebas to become dinosaurs. It took a lot of time, the dino's were very advanced and now they are gone. But the earth still turns, the sun still shines just like nothing ever occurred. I'm also a christian, so I believe that all that we know is created and created for a purpose. I know that I just got all goofy there, but it makes sense to me. So I don't worry too much about critters dying out, because something will take their place.
    • Apr 21 2012: While it is certainly true that on the vast timescale of geological history species evolve and go extinct all the time, I have seen a convincing argument that during the end Permian extinction event one of the things that caused it to be the biggest mass extinction EVER was the cascading effect of so many species going extinct at the same time.

      A metaphor I came across some time ago was imagining that the global ecosytem is a bit like an aeroplane. We are riding in the aeroplane and through our actions we are knocking out the odd rivet here and there. 'Doesn't matter if we knock this rivet out, the plane still flies. That rivet we can afford to lose as well...' Eventually we reach a point where so many rivets have been knocked out that the plane ceases to fly. In our modern world what would happen to our agriculture system if all the bees went extinct? What/who would pollinate our crops then? Which is a scary thought I think you'll agree.

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