The Cycle of life; toll on the environment

Most, if not all things in life go through a cycle. From plants which release seeds then die. The seed then germinates and experiences growth to the point when it flowers. This flower then produces fruit and from the fruit comes the seeds, and the cycle begins all over again.

Take another example of the frog whose eggs develop to an embryo and onwards into a tadpole and it continues to experience growth until it matures into an adult frog, capable of laying more eggs. What of human beings?

We start off as fertilized eggs onto fetuses then into babies, then into a child, then a teenager, then a young adult all the way to the point when we get to a ripe old age and as the old die, others are born and the cycle continues.

There are many theories and arguments as to which stage of life is the best or most preferred. For a butterfly for instance, as a caterpillar all it can do is crawl around then it enters into the chrysalis stage.

At this point, the hibernation could be taken to be the most peaceful of times for the butterfly, but it could also be the most mundane of times yet it is a necessary step towards emerging as an adult butterfly.

Finally when it emerges, it can not only fly but it is far more beautiful than in its caterpillar days. Similarly so for plants that start off as seeds lacking luster only to later bloom into the beauty that comes with flowers.

Similarly, so with human beings, where life seems beautiful as a child and again as an old person referred to by The Economist as the U-bend of life. The notion being, “the greyer the world, the brighter it becomes” (The Economist)

life

So it begs the question, does the same apply for the environment? Do changes occurring in our world positively or negatively affect the environment? The negative impact comes with activities such as pollution from industrialized nations, global warming due to increased civilization, natural environment encroachment by buildings and other human activities such logging.

Let’s take the case of global warming and increased carbon dioxide emission. While CO2 is important for plant growth, too much of this gas leads to climate change and increased temperatures which is welcomed in colder areas but the long term effect is situations such as melted glaciers that can cause disasters such as avalanches and increased sea levels which pollutes fresh water sources.

Absorption of CO2 causes water acidification which bears a great effect on the ocean and aquatic food chain. Melting of ice has been reported to cause release of methane from the sea bed as it is usually trapped in the ice crystals (Skeptical Science).

Increased temperatures also result in heat waves that causes death of many organisms and this also interferes with basic processes of life such as plant growth. Increased prevalence of diseases occur as a more conducive environment is provided by the increased temperatures resulting in increased numbers of disease causing organisms such as mosquitos.

Increased human population also puts a stress on the environment as more resources are required and more activities are carried out therefore leading to more of the negative effects that occur on the environment. This results in scarcity of fundamental resources that could result in wars as people fight for the few remaining resources such as water, food and energy supplies. Other effects include erosion and droughts which cause death of plants and animals.

Migration patterns of animals and birds also change and this carries an effect on the food chains and food webs.

Therefore, all factors considered, change and cycles of life aren’t necessarily beneficial to the environment as the impact caused by the change may have far more negative reaching effects than if the environment was left unaltered. So in as much as the cars we own have evolved over time and so have the clothes we wear, let us preserve the integrity of environment by leaving it un-altered.