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Global Ecology On the Road to Redemption

by Dr. Aryeh Gotfryd

  

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If the science of ecology has demonstrated anything at all, it is this: No act thuds into isolation or oblivion. Everything is interwoven and responsive, with all natural processes intimately linked in a precisely balanced global ecosystem.

Each species, each creature, each organ, each cell, is finely attuned and adapted to its natural environment, and yet each one has its significant role in creating the precise environmental conditions for the next cell, the next organ, the next creature, and the biosphere as a whole.

The natural balance of ecosystems is so very finely tuned that a small change in just one component, be it the ozone layer, dioxin levels, tropical rain forest acreage, or blue whale survival, can make a tremendous impact, directly or indirectly, on seemingly unrelated systems even halfway across the world.

DDT

A classic example is the story of the formerly popular insecticide DDT. A minute amount got into water and was absorbed by filter feeding, tiny shrimp. These were eaten by small fish, which in turn were eaten by larger fish. Predatory birds such as osprey, eagles, or pelicans ate the fish, and -- as the world was surprised to hear in the late 1960's -- the birds failed to reproduce because of DDT sprayed on mosquitoes hundreds of miles away.

The natural balance of ecosystems is so very finely tuned that a small change in just one component, be it the ozone layer, dioxin levels, tropical rain forest acreage, or blue whale survival, can make a tremendous impact, directly or indirectly, on seemingly unrelated systems even halfway across the world
The problem was that at every link in this food chain, DDT was becoming about ten times more concentrated in the animals. So, what started as parts per million in water ended up as deadly percentages in bird egg shells.

Then, of course, are the all-too-frequent environmental catastrophes precipitated by relatively tiny human misdeeds, such as oceanic oil spills, Chernobyl, and so on.

Environmentalism

A more positive phenomenon is the environmental movement, where surprisingly small numbers of optimistic activists have managed to galvanize and redirect companies, industrial sectors, and even whole societies to recycle, conserve natural resources, and reduce waste and pollution.

In just a few decades, the environmental movement has become literally and figuratively a grassroots movement, and politicians worldwide are greening up. As the maxim goes, "Where the people lead, the leaders will follow." In the last few years we have seen the UN Bruntland Commission on sustainable development, the Montreal accords on greenhouse gases, and the Brazil summit, where in each case close to 100 national leaders achieved consensus on major global environmental problems and what needs to be done to remedy them.

All of this has been accomplished on one single, simple premise. Each and every small private activity is essential to restoring the world's natural environments to a healthy state.


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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Maimonides
Moses son of Maimon, born in Spain in 1135, died in Egypt in 1204. Noted philosopher and authority on Jewish law. Also was an accomplished physician and was the personal doctor for members of the Egyptian royalty. Interred in Tiberius, Israel.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.