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Thread: Unnatural enrichment

  1. #1 Unnatural enrichment 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    I have just got back from a two week scuba diving holiday to the Philippine Islands. A very educational experience.

    At one point, I was diving on a sea grass bed. Sea grass supports a few fish and other marine species, but is way less rich in species than a coral reef. A bit like a terrestrial grassland being less diverse than rain forest. Anyway, I came across what looked like an old and defunct mooring. It was a chunk of concrete with a length of steel pipe sticking out, and a short length of heavy rope lying across the sea bed. I counted nearly 20 species of fish in and under this bit of junk. The point is that human rubbish can create an environment that supports a much greater biodiversity than a non rubbish 'pristine' area.

    At home, I do not leave rubbish lying around. But I make good use of large and unnatural lumps of rock as part of my landscaping. It is clear that spaces under these lumps of rock are used as habitats by skinks (small lizards). I now have hundreds of skinks living aound my home, and very welcome they are. In the book "The New Nature", Australian naturalist Tim Low points out how he finds an enormous increase in reptile numbers in local town dumps, hiding under sheets of rubbish.

    I am well aware that shipwrecks become havens for marine life. There are two such wrecks within 5 kms of my home, and I have dived both (plus numerous others in many environments). Those wrecks grow encrusting life like crazy, and fish life increases around such wrecks.

    I believe these examples illustrate one of the many errors in those who cling to the Naturalistic Fallacy. That is : the belief that things natural must be superior to things unnatural. Humans can and do increase biomass and biodiversity in many unnatural environments by piling up rubbish.

    My view is that we should not cling to the idiot fallacy, and accept that rather often human activity can benefit the natural envcironment, even when that activity is highly 'unnatural'. I made the very strong suggestion to my hosts in the Philippines that they should be dumping car bodies on the sea bed, in great heaps. After a few years, those car bodies would be covered with coral, and be homes to hundreds of marine species.

    Do you guys agree, or are you wedded to the naturalistic fallacy?


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  3. #2  
    ▼▼ dn ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ ▼▼ RedPanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The point is that human rubbish can create an environment that supports a much greater biodiversity than a non rubbish 'pristine' area.
    Some more examples:
    Artificial reef - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    ...human rubbish can create an environment that supports a much greater biodiversity than a non rubbish 'pristine' area.

    Do you guys agree, or are you wedded to the naturalistic fallacy?
    weeeeeelllllllllllllll
    we is natural
    born and bred of this earth's ecological niches--------We evolved here.
    You inhale the waste products of plants with every breath.

    our rubbish and garbage are just hand-me-down ecological niches.(Nature shops at good-will)
    different rubbish or garbage will attract different species
    (means, within limits, you can chose your wild neighbors....................)

    sunken cars, abandoned bridges, and etc... old oil platforms are oases of lifes diversity
    raptors perch on the sides of highways waiting for some fresh warm road-kill.

    (from the red/green show)
    "remember, we're all in this together"
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  5. #4  
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    Time to start making reefs out of rusted oil barrels.
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  6. #5  
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    Submerge every junked vehicle to be found, enhance life within the seas, re-cycle no iron-based products, expand iron-ore mining immensely, create American jobs for Americans, a NO-LOSE deal, no?

    Don't forget early forced retirement of all new vehicles at a certain age; what is it, in Tokyo, at 5 years (?), mandatory scrap! Dump all of them in the sea! Build bigger factories to replace all of 'em! Be certain the new factories are energy efficient; better yet, make mandatory that they function with use of NO ELECTRIOCAL POWER! More jobs created!

    The place gets crazier all the time...... jocular
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  7. #6  
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    The artificial reefs we've placed around South Australian waters seem to have been pretty successful.

    I'd be a bit cautious about advising people to just dump cars and other stuff into the ocean. Leaving all those plastics to break up and degrade is not doing ocean critters or seabirds any favours - and they do matter even if the affected animals are hundreds of kms away from your dump site. Whatever you use has to be pretty thoroughly cleaned up. Fisheries | Artificial reefs.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    I am not by any means suggesting all obsolete cars get dumped in the ocean. Just pointing out that our junk is often a treasure to other life forms.

    Many years ago, I did a trip on a relatively small boat from Fiji back to NZ. We carried a lot of beer! By the time we were half way back, we had several hundred empty beer bottles. I thoroughly upset one of our passengers, who was a young lady with firm environmentalist views, by filling all those bottles with sea water and throwing them over the side. The sea depth at that point was about 1 km. My own view was that the beer bottles would be seriously unlikely at that depth ever to cause a problem to humans, and they would form surfaces for encrusting life to grow on, and refuges for living things that liked to live in holes. Overall, they would be an asset to marine life. Do you agree?
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I have just got back from a two week scuba diving holiday to the Philippine Islands. A very educational experience.

    At one point, I was diving on a sea grass bed. Sea grass supports a few fish and other marine species, but is way less rich in species than a coral reef. A bit like a terrestrial grassland being less diverse than rain forest. Anyway, I came across what looked like an old and defunct mooring. It was a chunk of concrete with a length of steel pipe sticking out, and a short length of heavy rope lying across the sea bed. I counted nearly 20 species of fish in and under this bit of junk. The point is that human rubbish can create an environment that supports a much greater biodiversity than a non rubbish 'pristine' area.

    At home, I do not leave rubbish lying around. But I make good use of large and unnatural lumps of rock as part of my landscaping. It is clear that spaces under these lumps of rock are used as habitats by skinks (small lizards). I now have hundreds of skinks living aound my home, and very welcome they are. In the book "The New Nature", Australian naturalist Tim Low points out how he finds an enormous increase in reptile numbers in local town dumps, hiding under sheets of rubbish.

    I am well aware that shipwrecks become havens for marine life. There are two such wrecks within 5 kms of my home, and I have dived both (plus numerous others in many environments). Those wrecks grow encrusting life like crazy, and fish life increases around such wrecks.

    I believe these examples illustrate one of the many errors in those who cling to the Naturalistic Fallacy. That is : the belief that things natural must be superior to things unnatural. Humans can and do increase biomass and biodiversity in many unnatural environments by piling up rubbish.

    My view is that we should not cling to the idiot fallacy, and accept that rather often human activity can benefit the natural envcironment, even when that activity is highly 'unnatural'. I made the very strong suggestion to my hosts in the Philippines that they should be dumping car bodies on the sea bed, in great heaps. After a few years, those car bodies would be covered with coral, and be homes to hundreds of marine species.

    Do you guys agree, or are you wedded to the naturalistic fallacy?
    I would say, in my humble opinion, that if it lands there and is not PUT there intentionally, it's a great thing that it increases marine life.
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  10. #9  
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    unlikely at that depth ever to cause a problem to humans, and they would form surfaces for encrusting life to grow on, and refuges for living things that liked to live in holes. Overall, they would be an asset to marine life. Do you agree?
    At that depth and well away from shore (so they can't be sucked up and delivered to beaches by tides or storms on a sloping surface) I'd say go for it. But only for glass or pottery or metal - never for any plastics.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Submerge every junked vehicle to be found, enhance life within the seas, re-cycle no iron-based products, expand iron-ore mining immensely, create American jobs for Americans, a NO-LOSE deal, no?

    Don't forget early forced retirement of all new vehicles at a certain age; what is it, in Tokyo, at 5 years (?), mandatory scrap! Dump all of them in the sea! Build bigger factories to replace all of 'em! Be certain the new factories are energy efficient; better yet, make mandatory that they function with use of NO ELECTRIOCAL POWER! More jobs created!

    The place gets crazier all the time...... jocular
    especially after you got here
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  12. #11  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    I would like to emphasize, though, that it is not just in the sea that human junk can be enriching. Piles of rubbish or other human made stuff can provide all sorts of special little niches and homes for animals. Even something as humdrum as a culvert can support lots of life. We have a bird here in NZ (the Welcome Swallow) that used to be rare, but is now common due to the fact that humans have inadvertently supplied it with an enormous number of suitable nest sites.

    Just think of oxidation ponds which clean up city sewage, and the incredible amount of water birds who live and feed there.

    Of course, overall, the human impact may be positive or negative. Cutting down rainforest and converting it to grassland tends to severely reduce biodiversity. But in other areas, humans do the opposite.
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  13. #12  
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    I used to dive off pompano beach in florida (south of light-house point)
    between the 2nd and third reefs there was an iron pipe about 1 ft in diameter by maybe 20 feet long
    lobster fishing there was easy
    stick your hand in the pipe, and a lobster pinches onto your fingers
    retract the hand and remove the lobster----stick it in the sack
    repeat
    in a few minutes of painful fingers, you have a meal for 3-4-5

    ..................
    reduce
    repair
    rebuild
    retask/reuse
    recycle
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  14. #13  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Nature is persistent in reclaiming all resources, regardless of by whom they are wrought...



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