The Doom of Dumb Animals

The operational definition of intelligence is a consistent display of appropriate behavior. Behind the behavior is a mental construal of how the world works. Failing to comprehend the environment invariably has negative consequences. In the instance of humans on planet Earth, the diagnosis is clear and the outcome apparent. These creatures face impending extinction and are taking much other life out with them.

Bird’s Eye View

The United States space agency NASA has taken a peek at the Earth below, and found: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity” as well as “the economic stratification of society into elites and masses (or ‘commoners’).” In that regard, “accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

Buzz Off

Pollination is essential to two-thirds of the world’s food crops. Commercial bee hives are often relied upon, but unkempt insects, including bees, beetles, flies and butterflies, are important, as the wild things are more productive pollinators. Pesticides and herbicides, blithely applied worldwide, are indiscriminate killers. Ironically, considering their intended benefit, crop yields are declining because of their use.

Externalities Internalized

Economists refer to pollution as an externality of production. Its cost is not captured in the price of the good produced. Instead, those who suffer the pollution pay with diminished quality of life. Capitalism has been an exuberant exercise in externalities, long tolerated by governments which could have put them in check. Now, the U.S. administration is about to show long overdue notice.


The Wicked Witch of the West has the climate report: “I’m melting. What a world….” The poles are liquefying faster than expected, because it has only recently dawned on scientists that the biosphere is a gyre. Up to now, climate models have not included feedback loops.