Civilization dependent on ecosystem

I occasionally, when preparing for class, find myself discovering things that I wish I had not found. I suppose that this is true for other educators, as well. Like the words from Don Henley’s song, “Dirty Laundry,” it’s a matter of “You don’t really want to know what’s goin’ on; you don’t really want to find out how far it’s gone.”

This has happened a couple of times in the past several weeks, as we study ecology.

Bees. Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate.

The reasons are both complex and multiple; some of them are human related and some are not and some are a mystery.

One thing is clear, however, and that is that the cycle of life will be greatly interrupted if bees disappear. The cycle of pollination and germination in plants will be turned upside down or into chaos, which will greatly affect all levels of the ecological web.

This is not just the plot of a children’s movie; rather the children’s movie of several years ago pointed to impending problems that need to be addressed.

What can you do? Plant, as you are placing your garden this year, bee-friendly plants. Herbs stick in my mind as being one of the top choices. These also attract butterflies, which are also dynamic pollen-spreaders.

Water. A constant concern for us, given our climate, but increasingly, a concern in other areas of the world as well.

Growing up in the northeast, I took water for granted. However, the tainting of our water supply affects all areas of the country, regardless of rainfall.

Population growth cannot help but have a negative effect on water supplies, in terms of pollution that results from runoff, industry, etc.

Eventually it filters down to the ocean, which is not, as some had thought, a limitless place for water to magically become pure. If nothing else, we should have learned that from last year’s oil disaster.

Thinking about it, it’s not just preparing for ecology class that can get one to thinking. Social studies can do it, too. Many of our eco challenges arise from the belief that we are somehow invincible.

It never hurts to remember that some of the world’s civilizations have lasted, not centuries, but millennia. We are new, and our environment ought not to become the victim of a young and brash society.