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In her book “The Secret of Life,” Erica Alister explains how flies help to recycle all sorts of things, from the carpet of dead beach leaves to animal “waste.”
Dying is an essential part of life, to clear the way for the next generation. And someone has to do the recycling. Flies have larva that munch away dead leaves and twigs or feed off decaying organic mould. Flies — along with bacteria, fungi and other invertebrates — perform this valuable role of recycling nutrients back into the environment. There is a particular group of flies and other insects, the coprophages, which feed on animal waste.
Someone wrote about flies, “You think they are horrid, dirty insects; but they are not, they are busy making the world a cleaner place for us all to live in.” This should make us look at flies in a different way, as a crucial component of the environment.
Planet Earth is comprised of interconnected systems. Nature has an inherent value and we humans are just part of it. We cannot exist on our own. We can only go so far with our degradation — the planet is finite — beyond which restoration is impossible.
"...just look at the condition of the planet and the changes taking place."
In 1854, Chief Seattle delivered a speech to an assembly of tribes preparing to sign away their land, under duress, to the white men. “What is man without beast?” he asked. “If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.”
He reflected that the white men were ravaging the land, treating his mother, the Earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered and sold like sheep. His appetite devours the earth and leaves only a desert.
Over 160 years later, we have not heeded his prophetic words, even as our situation becomes more dire. In 1962, Rachel Carson, in her book “Silent Springs,” reminded us again of the interconnection between nature and human society, and there have been other voices echoing her warning since.
Since the Industrial Revolution the Earth has been slipping into a chasm, and it looks now like we are getting closer to the edge. If the temperature keeps rising we may reach a point of no return. It may sound like a doomsday scenario, but just look at the condition of the planet and the changes taking place. We need only look at our own situation: changing weather, eroding coastline, dwindling fish stocks, the quality of our drinking water, the waste in the ocean.
I don’t expect there will be a divine intervention or a scientific quick-fix. Change will require a collective awareness, global co-operation and individual responsibility. With our track record to date, it doesn’t look promising. And right now, with the pandemic, a lot of us are just concerned with making ends meet and maintaining our sanity.
Conception Bay South