One day Trump makes up a terrorist story on Sweden; the next day riots break out in an area of Stockholm with a high immigrant population. Then, the killing of wolves and bears has been reinstated, giving the seal of approval to accelerate the demise of civilization out of pure ignorance for how life works as a system. Transcending Trump’s effect on human emotion requires a higher level of self and social awareness so action do not fuel more polarization.
While media attention focuses on Donald Trump, it is less about the man and the party’s beliefs and more about the effect of their ethos and fear that is critical. Setting aside the man and like-minded followers, there is an opportunity to transcend Trump’s effect. Fear is like wildfire without the growth afterwards as I noted in a recent Huffington Post article called Accelerating Performance in Complexity. The emotion transmits instantly – a comment inciting fear in one part of the world sparks anger elsewhere in the world in an instant. The effect is debilitating for decision-making, in that it serves to distract from more positive and constructive value of handling change positively. In terms of the radical and rapid change we are in the midst of, the human spirit also suffers from feeling a loss of control. No part of this dynamic is healthy.
However, there is a better option. Rather than respond with fear, or attempt to reclaim control of a confusing outer world through anger, counteracting the negative effect is by awareness and self-direction via your heart and your feelings. Leading yourself through polarized positions is best achieved by becoming more aware of what emotion is being sparked and whether it is an emotion you’d like to act on or not. This transcends your politics, your beliefs about religion or race or any other biases or prejudices that rule perception. In this time of polarization, the shadow side of every single person is reveals and offered up to transform and release.
When I dip into how I feel about the decision to reinstate the killing of wolves in and bears, I feel renewed focus on raising leadership consciousness and understanding of living systems. If humanity hopes to continue living on this planet then we must recognize that we are not above the rest of life, but part of it. Given that we’re in the 6th mass extinction, it is imperative to know that the disappearance of predators is accelerates the extinction of humanity.
Why is the 6th Mass Extinction Different?
Stanford University explains why the 6th mass extinction is different from all the rest. For the first 5 mass extinctions the big commonality was that small animals living in the water column were more likely to go extinct than animals on the sea floors and bigger animals.
Regardless of the triggers: sudden glaciation, changes in ocean acidity, massive volcanic eruptions, meteor impact small animals went first.
For the 6th mass extinction (imminent) it is the large animals that are threatened.
Why should we care?
Relative to the last five extinctions this is unusual. While the environmental signals from the last five similar today, it is the type of animals being removed that is important.
Humans tend to target the largest healthier adults of the species. And we kill from a distance. This has different impact on population dynamics than what you see from natural predators.
Wolves are a signature species. Their presence of wolves ensures ecosystem health. In fact, large animals are a good indicator of the health of the ecosystem. Was this understanding part of the decision to reinstate the legislation allowing killing of wolves and bears? Definitely not.
Ecological Consequences of Extinguishing Large Animals
In studying areas where large animals are excluded the ecological consequences are rise of rodents by roughly twice the parasites. Human health is at risk.
Removing large predators like wolves initiates a biological cascade… a systems impact. With the loss of large animals, fires become more destructive. For example, on the savannah, dry vegetation becomes fuel – the fire regime is changed.
Genetic diversity is critical for resilience. Every species shares a common code but also has it’s own genetic signature and the interactions make the system work. Without the big animals plants producing fruits for consumption by animals, lose their ability to disperse the fruit seeds. Genetic diversity is essential for species for be prepared for environmental change. Man is part of that system; not above it.
If you react to uncertainty with fear, you’re exhibiting the same wired in alarm system a hold-over from cave-men days. No one truly knows the impact of driving animals extinct. In addition to climate change altering the dynamics of food production, extinction of species removes a critical part of the chain. On top of efforts to remove species, on top of climate change, add the impact of ecological overdraft from past human activity that nature’s “resources” were finite. Put it all together and you can expect to evolve fast.
Our decisions play into the extinction process. If we made a concerted effort starting with using emotion to redirect focus from fear to creative innovation, we could alter the trajectory. There is still plenty of hope and creative energy that can be applied to our evolution as a species.
Listen to the whole interview: https://soundcloud.com/generation-anthropocene/on-the-precipice