Let’s consider a scenario. There is only one species left on the Earth. This species is us – Humans.
Imagine that the most successful species (humans) have in the dog-eat-dog world of natural selection, propounded by Mr Darwin, out manoeuvred every other species and following the principle of winner-take-all-losers- die have killed every member of every species amidst chest thumping bravado and loud cheers.
Imagine we have killed all the mammals, amphibians, fishes, birds and destroyed a large part of their natural habitat. We have poisoned the seas so that there is no hope in the hell for the survival of any life that is left in its bosom. Now we are the sole masters of the planet and its riches and we don’t have to share it with any other cretins. What will happen then?
Let’s begin with the seas. The phytoplanktons the building blocks of life in the sea are destroyed due to acidification and other environmental pollution. The disappearance of the lowest of the lowly creatures as far as ocean food chain is considered will deal a body blow to ultra small fishes that feed on it. They will start dying in droves. Their disappearance will make the survival of larger fishes untenable. They will be wiped out. The Ocean flora that survives on the complex interplay of these species for pollination and growth will start decaying.
A time will come when there will be no sharks, no sting ray, no manates, no whales and no dolphins. There will be no coral reefs, no giant turtles, no huge migrations no yearly celebrations of a species arrival or departure.
On the ground the bees, the butterflies the small birds that pollinate plants and increase the biodiversity will be gone. The building block of growing diversity and increasing natural green cover would be lost. The loss would be felt in steady decline of the green cover.
Small birds that feed on the larve of insects will be gone. Insects and pests will grow and further damage the forests, mangroves, stand alone trees and finally crops.
In the absence of tree dwelling animals and birds, the natural carriers of seeds from one part of the forest to the other would be lost. Forests will become vulnerable to pest attacks. They will start declining and before long they would be gone too.
With oceans becoming a desolate place and shrinking forests falling silent, humans will face their first brush with loneliness.
Fishermen won’t go to the sea. They won’t sing a song for a better catch. Their women will never sing a song for their health, safety or arrival with loads of fine food. There will be no Hemingway to write “Old Man and the Sea” as there will be no one going to the sea.
Fishing villages will never smell of drying fish. Packaging plant will shut down and restaurants in big cities would see their menu cards becoming shorter and bland. Taste would be a casualty for the rich, poor will pay with their vocation.
There would be no honey, soon there would be no fragrance, there won’t be pine cones in fire place or wood for your furniture.
Poets and writers will have no inspiration to write. People will have no place to go as tourist. Hikers will hang their boots, anglers will trace their steps back to their home with heavy heart, never to return.
Children will never know the joy of riding an elephant or feeding a duck. They would never be able to make a distinction between a rose fragrance or a lily.
The world of sounds will forever be muted as rambunctious sounds of macaques, shrill sounds of birds and lion’s roar would all be lost.
Humans will live in the cities with their SUVs, ACs, TVs, refrigerators and go to the malls but the society and its imagination as well as expression would keep getting poorer with every passing generation.
It is then that the nature will turn against the humans. The sulking “super power” will challenge us for one final duel by unleashing pathogens, virus and pests that we couldn’t kill.
We would fight back with genetically modified food crops, heavy use of pesticides, inscetisides etc but there would be a limit. We will have to barter between saving our food production without poisoning it to an extent where it becomes a poison pill. The choice will be hard as the opponent would be battle hardened and drug resistant.
It would be a fight to the finish where there would be no winners.
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