Ecological Absurdities

January 9, 2011
The year 2010 was characterized by earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and a whole lot of shifting of Earth’s tectonic plates that left us mundane humans watching in awe as television broadcasts brought the action from across the world into the convenience of our own homes, narrating stories of chaos and destitute that resulted from the omnipotent natural disasters. The 7 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile, the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in China, and the tsunami in Indonesia left the world in fear of nature’s destructive force. Humans, however, can also be accounted for these frightful disasters; the oil platform that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico created widespread panic as marine creatures were dying of poisoning, and the oil contaminated the oceans for eighty-seven days. Not to say 2010 was a bad year, but it was a year of natural catastrophes.
2011 has dawned, and no longer are we facing geological disasters; the new trend seems to be animal absurdities. It started off with the dead birds falling from the sky. People stared in horror as they stepped around the grotesque number of birds that lay on the road. Dead birds were shown on TV, talked about on the radio, and written about in magazines and newspapers. Some postulated the red-winged blackbirds were dying because of the disorderly New Year’s fireworks that left the sensitive birds confounded; however, scientists now believe we have witnessed a die-off. These mass die-offs occur as frequently as every other day somewhere in the vast expansion of North America.
Falling dead birds: check. The next unusual occurrence was the Great White Shark “attack” off the coast of Australia. The shark merely nudged the boat’s motor, but its 16 feet of monstrosity managed to almost knock a man off board. Even though no one was injured, the media- unsurprisingly- has hyped the situation. Most people are assured that its more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a shark, but some people want to further reduce the risk factor. Only 1 person dies per year from a shark attack, which in Australia, is less than the number of people who die from bee stings per year. The sharks have as much right to the waters as we do, and we have no right to harm them to protect ourselves from a rare incident.
The next weird ecological event of early 2011 is the disappearance of bees. Some may believe their lives our better off with an attenuation of the population of bees; in reality, bees are depended upon to pollinate flowers and provide honey. In fact, honey bees are crucial to the production of 1/3 of the foods we eat. Not only were the bees gone, but they also left behind their eggs and larvae in the hives- which is very uncommon. If the bees do not return, we could be looking at a huge increase of pricing at the grocery store coupled with a decrease in the quality of the fruits and vegetables. Although bees are very important in our ecosystem, they usually go unappreciated.

What is going on in the natural world?





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