Ecosystem is the array of organisms and their physical environment that interact through the flow of energy from one cycle to the other. This essay will be about Rachel Carson’s reading “The Obligation to Endure”and will incorporate Darwin’s principle of natural selection. The essay will conduct a research to describe an environmental threat to the ecosystem in the area that I live. The essay will clearly bring out how the lives of birds, fish, insects, animals, and plants are interconnected and threatened.
Ecosystem is the array of organisms and their physical environment that interact through the flow of energy from one cycle to the other. Organisms usually produce the energy that they need, including plants and planktons, while consumers are the heterotrophic organisms that get their energy feeding on other plants or animals. They include the carnivores, parasites, and herbivores (Miller 1971). In my ecosystem, plants are the main producers on land, while planktons provide food for marine life. And consumers include animals, birds, and humans. A food web results from the above interrelationship.
The relationship between humans and the society we live in is usually that of mutual dependence. While our earlier ancestors’ lives depended on hunting and gathering, the effects were negligible, and they did not threaten the environment. The “developed” population has, however, been a threat to the environment, and its effects have been disturbing animals and vegetative life. Just by their existence, people have made major impacts on the ecosystem: both, negative and positive. But it is, however, important to note that most of the ecosystem-related problems have been a direct result of people’s activities for without them there would have been no problems.
My review of the place where I reside in confirms my worst fears: there is loss of biodiversity, as well as changes to not only the community structure but also in ecosystem functioning. Agricultural and industrial developments in my community have resulted in food security and a comfortable life but, on the other hand, they have led to the degradation of the environment in very many ways. This is a big threat as this degradation threatens the life support that animals and humans depend on (Zoology).
In my community, deforestation has been a major ecological problem as it threatens plant life. Deforestation has been a rampant problem as more forests are cleared to pave the way for construction of houses and industrial plants. Worse still, mining of sand soils here for construction of these industries has threatened the vegetation cover. This has resulted in soil erosion as much of the water does not get absorbed into the soil but runoff waters carrying with it rich soil. The runoff water carries with it silt into rivers and finally oceans or reservoirs. Deforestation, either for farming or industrial construction, has therefore resulted in loss of some species that cannot survive on bare land as vegetation continues to disappear.
Silting of reservoirs and oceans has had far reaching impact not only on irrigation systems but also on marine life. Worse still, as Rachel Carson had put it in her essay, “The Obligation to Endure”,is the fact that DDT use in farms ends up on these rivers and finally lakes and oceans (Carson 8). Rachel believed that the use of DDT led to the destruction of wildlife habitats. Farmers have made use of insecticides like DDT to kill aphids or other “harmful” insects that threaten the life of their plants. Unfortunately for them, some insects have evolved to form survival resurgence, in a triumph vindication of Darwin’s principle of survival for the fittest. This has seen more poisonous strains of DDT being manufactured, and it seems it affects marine life more, as it ends up being washed to rivers, than killing the supposed insects. This way, sea birds, local fish, and other sea life have been threatened by the use of DDT and other radio active materials being dumped into the river. I must admit that some of the sea creatures I used to see exist no more or they have moved elsewhere. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who directly or indirectly depended on fishing have reclined to other activities as the number of fish has decreased or been wiped out by our own activates (Our Ecosystem and the Threats to it).
Reports indicate that DDT used in farms finds its way into our food chains. An American chemist, Miller Tyler, postulates that the use of DDT has led to increase in populations of several predatory birds like the cormorants, bald eagles, and brown pelicans which almost were extinct. This is because DDT is not metabolized, and thus does not breakdown, and is more soluble in fat than in water, and thus is accumulated in the body rather than being excreted. Since DDT is not excreted, when humans consume marine food or herbivores that have consumed plant materials with the chemical, we accumulate it in our bodies. This DDT experience is what led Rachel Carson to publicize her now famous book Silent Spring in 1963 (Miller).
From the above scenario, the ecosystem of my place is under threat, and drastic measures need to be taken to avoid a catastrophe. Humans clear land for agricultural or industrial use. As farmers make use of poisonous insecticides to eliminate aphids and other insects, the chemicals find a way to our bodies through vegetables and animal meat we eat or into the rivers and the through marine life. Sadly is the fact that disturbing our ecosystem has resulted in emergence of some new strains, from Darwin’s survival for the fittest or total disappearance of some animals or plants. I have witnessed this in my community and wish urgent measures to be taken by relevant authorities.