Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Importance of Political Ecology for the Well-Being of Societies

Take a look at nature. Any given place has its ecology of various plants, predators, and prey. Many animal are both predator and prey, feeding on smaller/weaker animals and being eaten by bigger/stronger animals. Some organisms may seem unpleasant, even unnecessary, but as established inhabitants of the environment, they play an essential role in the Natural Balance. Remove that organism, and it may have a negative domino effect on the rest of the environment. Some organisms may appear to be harmful to other organisms, but if the former is removed, the latter may suffer graver consequences in the long term(despite the short-term benefit). If coyotes, wolves, and cougars were removed from a forest, it would be a great boon for rabbits and deer. At least in the short-term. But as their populations explode, they will consume all the vegetation, and then, mass starvation will follow. We may look upon flies as annoying and useless, but maggots break down feces and carrion. 

Lessons drawn from nature are also applicable to the human body. People may consider certain organs to be gross and disgusting. People may see all bacteria as harmful. Bile is an unpleasant chemical produced by the body. So, should we remove the gall bladder that holds this noxious fluid? But, bile is essential to digestion. Or consider the bacteria in the large intestines. They may seem gross, but we cannot live without them.

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