Katy Kelly

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Even if the only point that matters at the end of the line is an individual's conscious experience (which I think is highly debatable), species themselves are inherently valuable in that the complex interplay of species, which we do not fully understand, is a huge part of the whole system that allows any individual consciousness to exist.

We know bees are critical and valuable because of their role in pollinating plants we eat. We know whales are critical and valuable because of their role in fertilizing the ocean so that phytoplankton (who produce most of the world's oxygen) can flourish. As Ray pointed out, we have a direct example of what happened when we removed a predator from an ecosystem, trying to do good, and actually totally messed things up -- and then reintroduced them and helped things get back into balance (wolves in Yellowstone).

Piggybacking off Naryan, we generally have no idea which nodes of this system of species would cause the whole thing to collapse if they went extinct, and as more and more biodiversity is lost, we are eliminating redundancies and robustness in the system.

I'm reminded of Chesterton's fence:

'There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”'

New here! I don't have deep knowledge on these topics, but I would say yes.

From my limited research into permaculture/regenerative agriculture, it sounds like biodiversity and climate change aren't just linked in a 'climate change will devastate many species' way, but rather they impact one another in a feedback loop.

For example, deep root systems provide channels for water to seep into the earth. Shade from trees cools the ground. Some methods of regenerative agriculture, including animal agriculture, claim to be carbon sequestering rather than carbon emitting.

I've heard many people in Mexico say that the Mayan civilization likely collapsed due to overfarming, deforestation and drought, the idea being that the first two actually caused the latter. Projects like Greening the Desert in Jordan (not so long ago the fertile crescent!) add credence to this idea.

On X Risk: the majority of oxygen on earth is produced by phytoplankton in the ocean, and we know that whale migration patterns are an important part of this system, their poop acting as fertilizer. Is it possible that if we lost whales, maybe due to overfishing, the phytoplankton population could collapse rapidly and cause earth to be unliveable for those of us who need to breathe???

Idk! That's scary.

Finally, I would make the case that beauty isn't just some arbitrary aesthetic thing that only merits preservation for however human enjoyment fits into a utilitarian calculation. Our aesthetic tastes evolved over millions of years, and they are powerful drivers. Clearly they were selected for.

Perhaps they are there to help us recognize healthy systems as beautiful- whether they be people, ecosystems, rivers, or complex patterns reminiscent of those healthy systems ("sacred geometry," music, etc).

Loss of biodiversity is intuitively ugly and tragic to most people. I think we should listen to that even if we don't currently have good theory to understand the full importance, or we may find out too late.