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Ecological Succession: Mimicking Life to Live

March 26, 2013

    “In the coming decades, the survival of humanity will depend on our ecological literacy — our ability to understand the basic principles of ecology and to live accordingly.”

~ Fritjof Capra, PhD

Life breeds life. Naturally. Ecological succession presents a suiting example of complex interdependent species living with a purpose for the betterment, longevity and ultimate resiliency of their community.

Ecological communities revolve around a structure that evolves and matures through extremely complex and organized systems. So organized its easily mistaken as simple processes.

Growth expands patiently, starting with pioneering species that create proper conditions for proceeding life, with a sequential purpose of their own until a thriving climax community is reached, where physical and biotic equilibrium produces a self-perpetuating habitat.

Forested Exemplars

Take a forest, for instance, where pioneering, opportunistic species initiate dispersed colonization. In the plant world, these species are apt to growth in direct sunlight, but once they develop a canopy shading the ground, their seedlings develop to a lesser degree. They created an environment welcoming proceeding shade tolerant species to sprout as the forest evolves and adapts to environmental conditions.

It is more complex than this, as a range of intermediate stages take place and certain species develop different tolerances, but even this basic comprehension signals potent relevance to humans.

They key is that life endures through complex succession, as organized natural growth continues until a resilient climax population is reached. If a catastrophe occurs, pioneers jump on the opportunity to set things right and promptly begin breeding life.

It seems weeds, shrubs, trees–plants–have a more organized system structured for robust resiliency than our higher intellectual species. They live to live, putting life as a premier priority without manipulation or disturbance. Nature’s most powerful display of resiliency stems from disturbances created by the only living species that tries to manipulate, organize and ultimately control not only fellows, but life itself.

Initially colonizing a habitat or pioneering opportunity from disturbances, these stages of life evolve through orderly and predictable changes within an ecological community. The theory is well observed and well known; yet ecological accolades have not reverberated throughout human society–which is a living, ecological system all the same.

Human Successions

Just like those pioneering, opportunistic plant species that set the stage for successive growth toward stable, sustainable resiliency, the pioneering, forward thinking, innovative hands and minds that see the world in its proper perspective are gaining recognition and support. Modern disturbances and their effects are sounding alarms reasonable, ambitious people can’t ignore. Sure, those stuck in profit driven companies succeeding at the moment are bound to believe in what brings them success, but they, too, surely know things are a mess and necessary tending, adapting and innovation is due.

Today’s modern pioneers are opportunistic in that they see an environment suffering crises, just like the initial species that begin slowly repopulating a forest after a disturbance, such as a leveling fire. These species, and the rest that work in succession toward a resilient community to reach a robust climax community function with the ebb and flow of nature, where as modern day pioneers must work against the greain for the betterment of the environment, putting people and planet before profit, (and what is profit without people or planet?). They are serving a purpose symbolic to that which starts a forest of Oak Trees.

They’re fighting authoritative resistance, finding opportunity in disturbed areas and moving in to repopulate it properly–with patience and solid values promoting resilient, robust natural life systems to catalyze ripe and welcoming breading grounds for successive populations. Through ecological evolution, an environment that supports bigger, stronger communities using what we lay today and taking it to the next level, continually adapting and evolving toward a human rendered, technologically adapted climax community.

Accelerated Human-Adapted Ecological Sustainability

By the time beliefs sprouted by today’s population are succeeded multiple times through natural progression through each successive stage, the Earth’s ecosystem will become more complex, interdependent and ultimately functional for a sustainable world.

Pioneers are adapting conditions conducive to life everyday, and as that mind state spreads, as life naturally attracts life, people will catch on. Through our actions, a stronger population born into a world blazing a new path will replace us.

We grew through engraved philosophies of Enlightenment to the Industrial Revolution, where new generations will see a natural world matched with more policy, planning and businesses functioning in accord with their worldview–and the next generation even more so. Like a forest, patience and place in the greater ecological community results in resiliency.

Anyone alive right now can be part of this major reformation. For all the opportunistic souls pioneering new forms of work and life, setting and spreading conditions conducive to life in a destroyed ecosystem, you’re part of something bigger greater than the sum of its parts.

Wonderful Woes of Possibility

It may seem like blowing out a trick candle, as every effort is matched with a resurgence of convention, but eventual that flame will go out.

We’re actually lucky. It is opportunistic to have a world riddled with fault, allowing so many pockets for people to plug in and work towards betterment. Einstein noted this wonderment in his day, commenting that a world of trouble only offers generous opportunities for us to devote ourselves to meaningful work.

Embrace this. Embrace life and life will embrace us back. Spread life and life will spread.

Earth’s innate conduciveness to life is jarred by anthropogenic manipulations and disturbances. Humans are highly intelligent; we know damage is being done, so why do we continue our course of ill action?

The paradigm of contemporary thought derived from centuries of innovation. It’s in our nature to seek answers, discover, understand and manipulate–these curiosities are the driving source of life, innovation, research and purpose many find in their lives, which is admirable and fantastic; nevertheless, we must humble our yearnings and realize our place in a natural system.

We can innovatively wield technology, incorporating techniques like biomimicry toward exceeding ecological climax community characteristics and devising an even more resilient, flourishing sustainable world.

Are you part of the movement? Will you be? Every action counts. What do you do? What could you do? What will you do? What can others do?

We’re living in historic times. Where will you make your mark?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alex Jones permalink
    March 29, 2013 8:55 am

    I like the idea of being a sustainability pioneer.

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