The Human Role in A Perfect Ecosystem

In thinking about how ecosystems function, and about how every part of them seems to fulfill a role, the question came to me: in a perfect ecosystem, what is the role of humans? Or would a perfect ecosystem be devoid of humans?

A few possible answers came. The first was that humans would care for the ecosystem as its stewards. But the truth is this: no ecosystem needs us. They can get along just fine without our care, or even our love. Which some might think suggests the conclusion that Earth is better off without us. But I don’t believe this, for one very simple reason: we exist, and we love. For the Earth to be better off without us, we would have to be evil incarnate, and we’re not. We love. So what is the role of that love in an ecosystem?

I stood under a stand of trees and watched a wary squirrel dart from branch to branch, going about its business, doing what squirrels do. Maybe, as humans, we need to do what humans do. But what is that? And don’t we do a lot of uncaring, destructive things? Yes. But what would we be doing if we had everything we needed? We would all have free time. We would laugh, love, and be creative, and when the time came, we would take what we need from the system of which we are a part. We would take only what we need. Food. Shelter. Water. We would take these things in ways that are uninvasive. We would not have so many children that we ourselves become invasive as a species. We would give back to the ecosystem as much as we took from it.

We would, in essence, be doing not just what humans do, but what all elements of a perfect ecosystem do. Care for ourselves, take only what we need, and spend our free time in joy. We may not recognize when a bug, or a plant, or a bird, or an animal is joyful; their joy is different from ours. But when they have no need to hunt for food or care for each other, they relax. They grow. They sing.

Nature would give us all we needed, if only we would let it. This is not so difficult for us to do.

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6 Responses to The Human Role in A Perfect Ecosystem

  1. Martin_Lack says:

    The human race will have come of age when it finally realises that nature has intrinsic value (not instrumental value or inherent value) — value it would have even if we were not here to observe it. (Robert Goodin – A Green Theory of Value).

    • cmdrquack says:

      Thanks for the comment. I tend to agree with the quotation – the question is when will the human race come of age? I believe we’re in the process of doing so right now, and I’m hopeful it won’t take as long as it might.

      • Martin_Lack says:

        It’s not a direct quotation (hence the abence of speech marks) but, hey, who’s splitting hairs? Oh yeah, I am. Err, sorry about that! 🙂

        I too am hoping for the best (but planning for the worst)… 😦

  2. Judy Peace says:

    whoa, msieu quack, this is a great piece, hits me right where i’m living right now. thanks. the take only what we need part is the real trick? hard enough for the aware; is it even possible for the (seemingly at least) totally unaware. maybe the caring for ourselves part in the right ways is trickier yet.

  3. Judy Peace says:

    whoa, msieu quack, this is a great piece, hits me right where i’m living right now. thanks. the take only what we need part is the real trick? hard enough for the aware; is it even possible for the (seemingly at least) totally unaware. maybe the caring for ourselves part in the right ways is trickier yet?

  4. Judy Peace says:

    ‘scuza moi, shaky fingers clicked twice, then ‘twouldn’t let me post, so i changed end mark hoping it would think it would think it was a different post, so posted twice! and can’t register to edit apparently unless pay $.

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