Humanity and its cultivated nature also known as culture, will determine the fate of millions of species of plants, animals, insects and other organisms including its own. Throughout the history of the Earth there has been 5 previous "Mass Extinctions" in which 3 quarters of the planet's species became extinct. The cause of these past 5 have been connected to extraterrestrial events such as astroids striking the Earth's surface drastically changing the environment quicker than most species could adapt to. The natural extinction rate is less than 2 species per 1 million years. Due to human behavior, our current extinction rate of species is conservatively 3-80 times higher than the natural rate, not counting the large quantity of threatened species according to a recent study lead by paleobiologist Anthony Barnosky of Berkeley California. Within 300 years, 3 quarters of the planets animals could be extinct, marking the 6th mass extinction, and the 1st caused by the cultures we've invested in. Habitat destruction, competition from human introduced non-native species, anthropogenic climate change, amongst other threats are at the heart of this looming reality.
The great news is that culture is a choice. The choices we make as individuals reflect our personal culture, and the choices our micro and macro communities make, reflect our society's dominant cultures. While it is unfortunate that our overall current trajectory is self-destructive socially, and ecologically as it is based on unsustainable ideals, we today, have a monumental opportunity for meaningful positive change in our local and global communities.
This blog series will focus on what you can do positively in a community pertaining to a specific topic of interest. First topic up is Local Ecology, focusing on rehabilitating our local ecosystem using native plants.
Caesar Creek State Park. We've chosen to instead of managing these acres as ecologically unproductive and economically inefficient lawn, manage these acres as a native prairie community which is maintained by burning every 2-3 years. This community has evolutionary connections with the local insects and higher life forms that depend on the insects and native plants. If you were to walk this prairie in midsummer you can see these connections expressed in the busy buzzing of pollinators, hunting of airborne and grass hidden predators, and occasional grazing of white tail deer. Nature isn't the only winner in this choice, economically it is much more efficient to manage this land by annual mowing and burning ever 2-3 years than to have to mow a field of turf grass 20-25 times each year which saves the park labor and resource costs. Society also benefits from the aesthetic awe the prairie gives naturally inviting wildlife enthusiasts, botanists, biologists, ecologists, photographers, birders, and curious children to explore this community using the trails maintained by the State Park. This is a positive win-win choice for ecology, economics, and even social health in a way given its' inherit recreational properties.
Here at Caesar Creek State Park, volunteers and park workers are clearing more and more invasive honeysuckle from the forest each year and maintaining that of which they've already cleared. The result is the restoration and preservation of a lush herbaceous layer that wouldn't exist in the presence of honeysuckle, and a well stratified mid story of viburnums, eastern redbud, and flowering dogwood. This is one of the most popular trails in the park, in part due to the aesthetic of a healthy, open, forest complemented by interesting topography. Volunteers and park administration have made a cultural choice here to protect and restore nature for the better of ecology and it's admirers.
Happen Inc. Happen Inc has partnered with the Taking Root in my Community team, one team of the Taking Root Campaign. The Taking Root Campaign is a metropolitan wide campaign with 4 main goals; to plant 2 million trees by 2020, to promote the many benefits of healthy trees, to foster a sense of stewardship in individuals and communities, and to better manage our existing forests.
churches and other groups in the seed collection, tree growing, and tree planting process offers opportunities to build connection between humanity and nature. If you've ever nurtured any kind of plant from seed, and planted it somewhere where you could watch it grow, you can start to understand the potential connections made between community members completely engaged in all facets of this growing program, and the trees that they nurture. The cultivation of the plant, in return, cultivates the person. Community members now have the opportunity to impact the natural environment of their community in a positive manner that is economically efficient creating a win-win for nature and humanity.
External Related LinksHappen Inc.- Website Facebook
Caesar Creek State Park- Website Facebook
Taking Root Campaign- Website Facebook
Taking Root In My Community- Facebook
Earth's 6th Mass Extinction Article