Biodiversity: the extinct paradise –

Hopefully, in the near future, the evolution of the human mind will allow us to accept the blame for our actions as a species and begin the search for a return to the lost paradise.

What things are called loneliness?
Isn’t that the earth?
populated by different creatures
alive, the same as air?….
They also have their special features
Understanding, not insignificant.

John Milton – “Paradise Lost”

I’m not a fanatical environmentalist; I do not present a supposed “natural world” to the human world. I am active in the stream of ecological thought known as social or socio-ecological ecology, a stream that considers human socio-economic imbalances as one of the main environmental problems; a current that overcomes the epistemological trap of biological reductionism into which most contemporary ecological and ecological trends fall, a trap that takes away or ignores the political and socio-economic content inherent in every ecological proposal.

I understand that the fight to protect the environment is inextricably linked to the fight against capitalist exploitation and plunder; I understand that a sustainable society cannot exist within the logic of capital and that the fight to defend the environment inevitably includes the fight to defend the human being, who is so attacked, so alienated, so reified and commodified by capitalist society , like his own existence lost meaning; Yet from time to time, while hiking through the forests of Burro Negro National Park or through the mountains of the Paujil Mountains in central-western Venezuela, or walking alone in front of the Caribbean Sea, I enjoy imagining what the terrestrial ecosystem is would be like today if, through an evolutionary coincidence, the hominid genus had not given rise to the branch of Homo Sapiens 2 million years ago. Away from the noise of people, surrounded by the sounds of unanthropized nature, I dream of a world that existed, that no longer exists and that will never exist again.

Having freed my mind and soul from the limitations of body and reason, I fly through a wonderful and ancient world with images that are at the same time familiar and strange: I see a land full of forests, thousands, millions of square kilometers of a dome of plants , which extends almost from the sea coast to the highest mountains on every continent. A colossal mass of forest! This means that the air is clean and of indescribable purity. As I travel, the sky is flooded with flocks of birds of all species and colors: across the skies of North America, billions of passenger pigeons (now extinct) fly over the forests of pine, oak, fir, maple and holm oak. Here in Venezuela, the firmament of the plains sky is populated by tens of thousands of herons, parrots, corocoras and hundreds of species that color the sunlight in kaleidoscopic tones.

The lost paradise

In the prairies of North America, more than 80 million bison shake the earth as they flee the wolf packs and smylodons (saber-toothed tigers) that pursue them. Nearby, majestic herds of mammoths graze on the cold meadows. The oceans are teeming with life. More than 400,000 blue whales and hundreds of thousands of other whale species flood the vastness of the sea with their songs.

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Marine waters around the world are teeming with life; Countless and huge schools of sardines, anchovies, tuna, cod, salmon and hundreds of other species, including their predators, make it difficult to remember the deserts into which man has turned the seas today.

In Europe, extensive herds of uros, wild boars, deer, reindeer, giant elks, bison, woolly rhinos, mammoths and many other species wander the forests and plains, pursued by wolves, Siberian tigers, lions and cave bears in the north and Caspian tigers and packs of Atlas lions in the south.

North Africa is a garden that in no way resembles the desert images we know today. The large African megafauna (elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, lions, hippos, rhinos, etc.), now restricted to small areas in East Africa, fills with their presence every available space from the Nile Delta in the east to the coasts of the Atlantic. in the West. The Sahara Desert is only a tenth of its current size and tends to shrink with each passing year given the relentless advance of green spaces.

The plains of the Fertile Crescent in modern-day Iraq are not the radioactive desert that the barbarians and criminal invaders have turned them into today; They are swamps and swamps of great beauty and rich diversity of life. There is a reason why the Judeo-Christian and Muslim cosmogony located the Garden of Eden there.

India and the islands of Southeast Asia are monuments of biodiversity and beauty; Even today, after thousands of years of human destruction, the uniqueness of its landscapes is impressive and overwhelming.

The areas of modern-day China boast magnificent landscapes, with large herds of elephants and rhinos, with tens of thousands of tigers, pandas and bears and their baiji (dolphins) leaping between the waters of the Yang Tse.

Wherever my imaginary journey takes me, life explodes in its splendor and diversity. I am surprised when I come face to face with huge birds: moas in New Zealand, elephant birds in Madagascar, great auks on the Canadian coast and dodos in Mauritius.

In Australia, the diversity and complexity of marsupials is astonishing: countless giant kangaroos, diprodonts, thylacines (Tasmanian wolves) and marsupial lions.

Without thousands of years of deforestation and human-caused fires, and without gases produced by the combustion of hydrocarbons, Earth’s climate is colder than it is today.

What appears to my eyes and my mind is the true Garden of Eden, and since I believe that we humans were not the recipients of this paradise, on the contrary, I am completely convinced that we humans were in reality the serpent and are that death and brought sin into this Eden called earth. Hopefully, in the near future, the evolution of the human mind will have time to lead us to accept the blame for our actions as a species and begin the search for a return to the lost paradise. www.

* Joel Sangroni’s Padron He is Professor UNERMB

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