Sometimes even natural disasters can be good

Ben3rdEye

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Read this interesting account

FYI-sometimes natural disasters benefit the environment.

Subject: [sea-peat] Article: Tsunami, a blessing for mangrove forests

Tsunami, a blessing for mangrove forests

Mangrove forests in the coastal areas have not only withstood the impact of nature's fury but have acted as a shield for the population there.

CHENNAI, UNI:

The December 26 tsunami has wrecked the entire coastline, but has turned the mangrove trees more greener.

The dense mangrove forests stood like a wall and had acted as a shield against the tsunami, saving the coastal communities in atleast five hamlets in Pichavaram in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu when the giant tidal waves swept the coast. After bearing the brunt of the tsunami, the mangrove forests, grown in about 1,500 hectares of area in Pichavaram, turned more healthy as the tidal waves widened the mouth, paving way for entry of more fresh sea water. Besides, the strong waves flushed out the hydrogen sulphate content in the area, according to Dr V Selvam, Project Director (Mangroves), Dr M S Swaminathan Research Foundation here.

Dismissing as false that the mangrove trees were withering after being hit by tsunami, he said, while the wild trees on the coastline could not bear the enhanced salinity, the tsunami had come as a blessing in disguise for the mangroves. "Now that there is a free flow of sea water, the trees are growing very well," Dr Selvam said. Last year, the forests faced the danger of withering away with the salinity level rising to an alarming 60 gms per litre.

"Except the frontline trees, 99 per cent of the trees are in good health," Dr Selvam, who had visited the mangrove forests after the tsunami devastation, observed.

Now that it had been proved that mangrove forests could withstand the impact of nature's fury on the coastal population, the government could take up generation of mangroves on the east coast in the fast track, Dr Selvam suggested.

This called for a Joint Mangrove Management Approach, he said, adding that with the involvement of experts, local people, Central and State governments and non-governmental organisations, the coastline could be protected with mangrove forests.

In Nagapattinam, mangroves could be grown in an area of about 6,000 hectares near Nagore, where there was extensive mud, thanks to the Upanar river in the area, Dr Selvam said.

Above article was taken from Deccan Herald - dated sat Jan 8, 2005

http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/jan082005/n16.asp

“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has comeâ€
Victor Hugo


 

kitkat

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The gaia theory has a bit about this too... volcanoes giving out carbon dioxide, form part of a feedback loop taht keeps carbon dioxide emission stable, so that has protected out planet for millions of years... amazing huh
 

Reconstructed

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kitkat said:
The gaia theory has a bit about this too... volcanoes giving out carbon dioxide, form part of a feedback loop taht keeps carbon dioxide emission stable, so that has protected out planet for millions of years... amazing huh

That isn't the gaia theory. Thousands of Earth systems have positive or negative feedback loops that regulate and maintain dynamic equilibrium. There are about a billion examples of this, in almost every environmental system on Earth from streams to albedo. The Earth is a giant fluctuating accumulation of billions of feedback loops maintaining dynamic equilibriums. It has nothing to do with Gaia theory.

The gaia theory is just a conglomerate of qualitative and quantitative hypothesis that are lumped together and given a flashy name to give people a "theory" that they can cite. As far as the current definition of a living thing, the Earth is not "living."



"...Gaia theory is that the entire Earth is a single unified organism; in this view the Earth's biosphere is consciously manipulating the climate in order to make conditions more conducive to life. Scientists contend that there is no evidence at all to support this last point of view, and it has come about because many people do not understand the concept of homeostasis. Many non-scientists instinctively see homeostasis as an activity that requires conscious control, although this is not so.

Much more speculative versions of Gaia theory, including all versions in which it is held that the Earth is actually conscious or part of some universe-wide evolution, are currently held to be outside the bounds of science."
 

Meijin

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Mmmmm - not sure if consciousness is a definition of 'life' which is itself notoriously difficult to define - Varela (et al) suggest autopoesis as a definition of life, that is, self-replication. Of course crystals would fit this definition as they reproduce without DNA, but if the theorists are right then early live originated in an RNA world where replication was VERY similar to the way that crystals reproduce (thru the attachments of atoms and causal chains).

Consciousness should not be a definition of life for other reasons, primarily that evolution itself (outside what humans consciously choose to do in the future) is not a conscious process - it is blind. Therefore, it seems to me (but I haven't finished thinking about it) that the earth has every right to be thought of as 'alive' in that the sum is greater than the parts - try living without your heart or your heart without you...the earth may not be conscious but it may be alive in the way thaT one's biody is alive yet is not run by some homunculus is it?
 

RedZebra

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a good reason not to define "life" as "consciousness" is that then a lot of people would have an excuse for cruelty to animals... (although then the argument would become "are animals conscious?").

it's also not a matter of the sum being greater than its parts either. A beach doesn't exist except as a conglomeration of its parts (sand grains, sea etc) but is not alive, unless you really stretch the definition.

Consciousness, I believe, requires a degree of self-reflexivity. ie: you can conceptualize your self. Consequently you can imagine possible outcomes of future events, and empathise with others you imagine are conscious.

The idea of the earth being alive, as in, an organism, is interesting, but I can't think of anything to indicate that the earth could be called "conscious". :-/
 

lala69

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"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction". nuff said.
 

Reconstructed

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It is just widely misunderstood that environmental systems can and do maintain equilibrium without any conscious control. People see Earth adapting to changing conditions and attribute that to some kind of consciousness or living mechanism (Gaia Theory) when it is really just natural science maintaining dynamic equilibrium.

All geomorphological processes are simply mechanisms to maintain an equilibrium. Every landform you see is the result of processes that erode high points and at the same time raise low points. It isn't any different than a chemical system that shifts either to the reactants or products to maintain equilibrium (Le Chatelier's Principle) when its conditions change.

The fundamental principle of life is that all things change. Impermanance is, perhaps ironically, the only permanent thing in all of reality. You can see the manifestations of this in the way in which systems change to accomodate equilibrium conditions. To hopefully tie this back into my point, the processes of Earth do not categorize it as a living thing but only emphasize its natural place in the everchanging environment of reality.
 
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