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What is your job in nature?

In the natural world all animals and plants, except for one species, have a job to do. For example, cockroaches are tropical insects originally who's primary job in nature is/was to compost dead vegetation and to feed other members of the food chain. Stromatolites produce oxygen and consume CO2. Wolves maintain healthy populations of deer, elk, bison, and other prey species. Sharks control fish and crustacean populations and in turn safeguard oceanic atmospheric gas producers and absorbers. Fungi decompose wood and other organic matter. Bees and bats pollinate plants and control insect populations. Mice feed larger animals. Wildebeest graze grasses low enough for other herbivores to eat. And so on, and so forth, and so forth. Everything on the planet has a biological job. Except for one creature. A naked and arrogant primate called Homo Sapiens. What is our job in nature? To show other animals how stupid it is to pollute? To teach other species that too much intelligence is a bad thing? To emphasize that single celled virus's can be idolized and mimicked well by a multi-cellular organism? Really? What a grand lesson that is don't you think so? I have heard people bragging about our great accomplishments as a species. Language! Art! Music! Technology! Civilization! Flight! Medicine! Sentience! We are astonishing creatures aren't we? The problem we have is our smallness. Our failure to remember the fact that we are not mysteriously exempt from or removed from other life forms and nature no matter how much we attempt to deceive ourselves with this grand notion of alienation and a sense of entitlement. To think of ourselves as great in any of the areas that we use as comparatives is truly a farce when you consider that there are other organisms on EVERY count who have done it before and better than us. We do not appreciate it often and we do not care. As a species we are greedy, self centered, arrogant, delusional, fraudulent, chaotic, abhorrent, destructive, filthy, egotistical, self righteous, and filled with a sense of self-entitlement and pride that is baseless and unmerited. We have hundreds of languages, some quite complex. Written and spoken communication. Does this prove we are "higher" than other creatures? Better than they are? More advanced? Not when you realize that "simple" insects such as ants and bees and wasps engage in chemical, and physical communication on a level that is as precise and in depth as our own. A single bee can do a dance that tells other bees the location of a food source, how rich that food source is, how far away it is, and what it is. Rats can vocalize warnings to each other about danger or food sources. They know how to test for poison, and can problem solve faster than many primates. And dolphins and other cetaceans have audio communication that is so complex and sending so many thousands of messages a second that we cannot even break the basic code and are unable to grasp a fraction of their communication with our meager "superior" minds. Their brains are also far more complex than ours, greater size, more lobes, and yet we think that we are such incredible communicators. Elephants can communicate using low frequency for vast distances. It is rather astonishing just how presumptuous we are as a species. We have art. We create things for visual impact. I am an artist. Surely I will not debate the merits of human art? Isn't it better than anything in the animal world? It would seem so,unless we looked to some of the birds of Paradise who make elaborate collections or flowers, berries, and shiny baubles to decorate their nests for attracting a female. Or the Bower Bird that builds and elaborate bower to draw in females. The male weaving and placing blue items around the structure. Cichlids and many other fish decorate their nests with shells and interesting stones for similar affect as the birds do. But our art is so much better because we just do it and appreciate it right? Is the practicality of animals visual art displays a nice way to underrate what those creatures find aesthetically appealing? We have music and song. Really? And animals do not? Ever listen to birds singing? Or perhaps the songs of male whales are not to our liking as much as other whales appreciate them. The songs of insects as they court each other, or frogs as they call out. Loons in the northern lakes who call out. Or the trumpeting of elephants? Are these songs less valid because they did not get a Grammy award? Animals have had their top hits out a lot longer than we have. Technology and Civilization! What about those things? Surely nature sees in us a refinement of these areas that no other animals have? Well if we ignore termite mounds that have active thermodynamic ventilation systems in them to maintain temperature and humidity. Or ant colonies and their elaborate excavations. Or wasps who discovered and made paper long before humans did. Or maybe it is our agricultural technology that sets us apart right? Well, that sounds good on paper, but the fact of the matter is that ants have been cutting leaves and feeding it to their underground fungus gardens and weeding out invasive species long before humans discovered or implemented agriculture. But we use tools to hunt and solve problems. So do chimpanzees who fish for termites with twigs and grass blades, who hunt bushbabies with sharpened spears, and crack nuts with rocks. Or orangutans who use broad leaves as umbrellas and make nests to sleep in. Languors and vultures use rocks to crack open ostrich eggs. Ravens and 127 other species of birds use formic ants as a natural pesticide by rubbing annoyed formic ants all over their bodies making the ants spray them with formic acid that kills and repels parasites. Birds such as crows add pebbles to water pools in bromiliads and hard to reach places to make the water level rise so that they can drink. Hermit crabs add stinging anemones to their shells to protect themselves from predation. Bats use echo location to hunt and navigate in absolute darkness. Spiders weave webs from a material with a greater tensile strength than steel. Insects like the Bombardier Beetle use explosives for self defense. The Praying Mantis has small pits in the side of its thorax that allow it to detect the ultrasonic echo of an approaching bat so that it can drop to the ground quickly in mid flight. Butterflies and moths see in the Ultraviolet and in the Infrared spectrum. But somehow we are the special ones eh? Flight! We have taken control of the skies. We can now fly in our planes and balloons and rockets. We can glide in para-sails, gliders, and other devices. Sounds incredible doesn't it? But lets see what other animals can fly or glide (some without wings)? Baby spiders or "spiderlings" take to flight by climbing to a high point and spinning a single long strand of silk in the wind. They can been known to colonize distant islands and flown for thousands of miles without wings. Bats can fly in true flight. They were the first mammal to fly, long before we even existed. Flying squirrels can glide for great distances. So can the flying snake. That's right I said snake. It compresses it's body after launching from a tall tree. It makes a swimming gliding motion and can sail for hundreds of feet by doing this. So can a small lizard called a flying dragon. It glides well too. As does the flying frog! then there are the insects. Dragonflies can out maneuver our best helicopters. Birds have been flying long before we evolved. And contrary to popular misconception, the fastest bird on Earth is not a "stooping" Peregrine Falcon. Rather it is the Kingfisher which was clocked by National Geographic researchers in 1972 at an amazing 1,056 Miles per hour in a dive! The first fliers to break the sound barrier! Makes us look a bit second rate doesn't it? Hatchet fish can fly. So can flying fish and butterfly fish. Even the fish have been doing it longer than we have. Well there is our use of medicine! Surely there we are unique? Um, afraid not. In South America macaws and other parrot species eat toxic berries that could kill them, but they neutralize the affect by ingesting a type of chalk clay that absorbs the toxins and renders it inert. Lemurs do the same thing in Madagascar only they ingest charcoal to get the same result. Clownfish rub continuously along the sides of anemones tentacles to borrow the slime that the animal uses to tell it's stinging tips not to sting itself. We already discussed birds doing the behavior known as "anting" to keep themselves parasite free. Lemurs do the same thing with toxic millipedes. Biting the insect lightly to make it secret it's noxious chemical defenses and then rubbing their bodies with the secretion. This keeps them parasite free and gets them mildly intoxicated. Sentience is self awareness. Here we must certainly be unique and therefore special! Well actually there are a few other species that are easily recognized as sentient. All of the great apes show sentient behavior. So too do cetaceans. Both examples show full cognitive self awareness. The same holds true for Ravens. Certain species of Goats and Pigs. Remarkable how non-unique we really are. And yet we still see ourselves as better. So let's review the facts. Animals share all of the same great attributes or hallmarks of "specialness" that we do. BUT they have been doing this since before we arrived on the planet! We have caused more species extinction than any other source in the history of our rather short time on this rather old planet. We have badly altered our atmosphere to the point that it is rapidly changing our climate and threatening us with the world's Sixth Mass Extinction event. An event predicted to be second largest of all of the previous mass extinctions except for the Permian-Triassic Extinction of 251 Million years ago. That one killed off 95% of all life on our planet. Whereas we will only fuel the extinction of 87-93% of all life forms. We have polluted the environment and poisoned and diminished aquifers, fossil fuels, mineral resources, forests, land, air, water, oceans, soil, atmosphere, habitat, and have done so while living in gross denial of the simple facts. We are a very sick, destructive, unnatural, and unworthy life form as a whole. Our planet can comfortably support a total human population of 2.54 Billion Humans without depleting the resources needed for continuous survival. yet as of 2012 we will be at a little over 7 Billion humans on the planet. And we have no job in nature other then a destructive imitation of a virus. Hell bent on killing off the host that it needs in order to survive. In defense of virus's they do not have a "superior intellect" to make better choices! We are jobless, greedy, slobs. Pure and simple. Our environmental worth as a species is zilch, zero, nada! And nature has been trying very hard to put us in check while we have kept pushing and pushing and pushing our luck. We have missed out on our niche lessons.We are NOT above nature or the natural laws that govern all life! We lack predators (for the most part) so nature provides us with pathogens, disease, increasing numbers of sociopaths and violent individuals. The urge of nations to fight wars. Increasing cases of sterility and reproductive failure and dysfunction. Nature is trying to cull us down. Thin down the ranks. But we don't "get it" as a species! Before men go out and get viagra or enzyte or other sexual enhancement drugs, take a moment and think, maybe there is a reason your equipment points to the south? We have over bred and reproduced beyond our sustainability. Where does it all end? What are the answers? Only time will answer all of these questions in a 100% certain manner. But I am fighting for the oceans and to restore balance. I have chosen not to sit on the sidelines jobless and just see how the "mass extinction thing" all plays out. The role of the species I cannot control. No one person can. But the role I play as an individual I can greatly influence. I will choose to clean up trash, to protect endangered species, to try to avert man-made and man-fueled mass extinction. Because when I die I want to know that my time on the planet was well spent doing something as natural and productive and beneficial as I could to make a positive change for any and all life forms. I must be the change and the solution that I wish to see. I must try to do something "superior" and worthy of the intelligence and potential which I share with the world and others of my species. In the end, I want to know that nature and humanity have realized a balance if and where possible,and that I had a hand in helping to make that happen.
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