Don Pablo Edronkin

A Brief Reflection On Science and the Wild.




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If science is your thing, then exploring the wilderness and the unknown is what you are really interested about, the order within the apparent chaos, and the harmony of nature, even in numbers.

Exploring means caring for what is already known and what we yet have to know and thus, remain pristine; exploring is tightly related to ecology and the environment.

You will not find nowadays real explorers whose intentions are to 'rape' the world as people like Ann Coulter suggested.

We should not follow the words of recalcitrants as such; we don't need to care about the examples they set because such people - being usually pusillanimous - don't live up to the expectations that they have about others. But there is now another imperative reason for studying our planet and that is, to understand how to save it.

By not caring to preserve our environment, we are setting off the biggest weapon of mass destruction of all; in fact, this may be the mother of all WMDs; we all know that it is important to care for nature and our world, but regarding the immediate effects of playing foul with our environment; what would happen in the long term is quite another question, and nobody seems to really care.

The palaeontological and geological history of our planet suggest that ecological catastrophes - bad as the always are - have no localised effects, and if they propagate somehow thorough time, they may cause tremendous mass extinctions that in the past wiped out in just fractions of time a good part of all living entities on the planet.

A meteor was what annihilated the dinosaurs and other species 66,4 million years ago; it is also know that about 235 million years before our time, another, yet more massive extinction destroyed most of the life on Earth. This event was apparently caused by a natural occurrence of the now famous greenhouse effect. It seems that 505 million years ago there was yet another great extinction just as complex life was beginning to develop.

These phenomena were indeed, natural. But the problem is that now we can trigger the same chain of events that caused them just by our human activity. Thus, it is important to develop an ecological mindset in order to take better care of our resources and how we deal with them; we shall not be the cause of the next great problem on Earth.

But ironically, in order to put ecology first in our set of priorities, taking would not be enough; it seems that the actual occurrence of all sorts of catastrophes is not enough either: we are witnessing year after year and with an alarming increase in frequency all sorts of storms destroying entire communities in the U.S.A. coast, and tornadoes, fires and extreme weather events in southern Europe.

It may seem sarcastic, but in order to make people care about ecology, it is necessary to turn it into a business, a profitable market activity; and this is what you can achieve with the courses that we are now presenting. Saying that it is a matter of survival for our species does not seem to make anyone more reasonable, for it is entirely realistic to say that we would have far more saints if sainthood were a profitable profession; but we can transform this human weakness into strength by taking the initiative.

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