Breaking Biodiversity Fast

Although I thought this book was a bit dry at times, it was full of interesting and informative  facts that kept me reading.  The issue they were discussing is a very complex one, as anyone who read this book can see.  I enjoyed that they’re analysis wasn’t completely one-sided, like most are.  I also liked that they didn’t simply do research to write this book, they had their own practical experiences and gained knowledge through these. 

The fact that rainforests cover such a little part of the earth but contain so much biodiversity is a mind boggling concept.  And we are ruining the little bit of rainforest we have left, another concept that is hard for me to wrap my head around.  One would think we would stop for at least a second to think about the negative effects we’re having on the earth.  But humans have created such a superiority complex that we believe we have the right to exploit the earth, no matter what the consequences.  Mother earth is going to end up killing us before we kill her.

I thought it was very interesting that they proposed that the idea of managing land under civilization in a sustainable and socially equitable manner was more effective than most ineffective methods of land conservation favored by mainstream environmental groups.  The authors even used an example of Costa Rica to prove their point, saying that more rainforest was saved as a result of the progressive land redistribution policies of the Sandinista. 

I completely agreed with the authors when they were discussing the problems with small, pristine tropical park reserves.  These reserves are experiencing a decrease in biodiversity because of all the agriculture around them.  The argument posed here is that less intensive agriculture may diminish the loss of biodiversity that these places are having so much trouble with.  However, my argument deviates a bit from theirs.  While reading this section of the book, along with various others, I just kept wondering, “why are we even using these areas for agriculture?”  The soils are completely depleted and have little nutrients to begin with, something I’ve learned in every environmental class I’ve taken so far.  Doesn’t it seem logical to stay away from areas that our plants won’t grow well in?

The authors filled this book with complex issues and left the reader with a sense of urgency, without feeling like they were being preached to.  They made it quite clear that something needs to be done, and soon, or the rainforests of this planet will begin to diminish over time.

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