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Planet of Weeds Essay

“There is a consensus among conscientious biologists that the world is headed to another mass extinction” — this is what David Quammen was trying to say in his article entitled the “Planet of Weeds”. The article discussed the different extinction events that occurred, with the K-T event or the Cretaceous mass extinction as the latest, wherein large land animals including the dinosaurs did not survive. The article argued that there is a sixth extinction event which is in progress at the present.

Some may attribute this extinction event to the Homo sapiens or the humans, and others may even argue that the Homo sapiens will cause their own extinction, but science writer Quammen disagree with this position. Instead, he argued that this is a living world, and the extinction event is part of the natural process. As we go through the article, we can see that Quammen’s discussion revolved around the detrimental factors human beings posed on the environment like land conversion, habitual destruction, and overkill which cause the extinction of some species.

Moreover, if human activities will continue, more and more species will be endangered or totally extinct in accordance with the estimation of people who tried to quantify the rates of extinction. Humans intentionally or unintentionally cause the imbalance in the environment with their activities. However, there are plant and animal species which were able to thrive in the world of humans, such as the cats and the rats. Thus, Quammen called the Earth as a “Planet of Weed”, because only those species which can reproduce quickly, disperse widely, can live anyhow in anywhere like the weeds will likely be the ones which will survive.

The human themselves are consummate weeds, and only those animal and plant species which were able to survive human-dominated areas. Being a science writer that he is, Quammen is not that alarmed with the sixth extinction being in progress. “Species die, species arise” — this is the natural process in this world. His interview with a paleontologist supported this position, and much of the information he used for this paper are from other scientists as well. As the global climate changes, species should adapt well to this change in order to survive.

One of the changes occurring in the global climate resulted to a water draught in Los Angeles. The largest city in California is experiencing severe water drought as of 2007 to present. Because of this, people should conserve water — be it in the household, in commercial or industrial places. As of June 1, 2009, the mandate on water conservation has taken effect. This mandate will help people lessen the cost of their water bills at the same time conserve water. Since the city is experiencing water drought, people should plant plants which are drought-resistant.

The native plants are less likely to need a lot of water since they are adapted to dry places. However, there is a trend in America wherein people plant lawns and flower beds as if they were in England. This is because America was once conquered by the Englishmen, and those ancestors bought their old plants with them. The lawn has also become a status symbol by the mid-1800, wherein the rich and the affluent were the only ones who can afford to keep a lawn (Donaldson, ___ ).

Nowadays, a lot of Americans were able to keep a lawn. In this period of drought, fining those people who have green lawns is not necessary as long as they are able to conserve water while keeping their lawns. Maybe they should plant drought-resistant grass such as the Bermuda grass to keep the green around their houses. People also need to be in touch with nature to attain a calming state of mind. As the world experiences global climatic change, people should adapt their lifestyle with their resources.

As Los Angeles is experiencing drought, people should be vigilant and conserve as much as they could, because water is such a precious resource and we only have one Earth to live. References: Donaldson, Cameron ( _____). History of the American lawn. Retrieved from http://www. spacecoastaudubon. org/limpkin/040401Limpkin/History%20of%20the%20Am%20Lawn. html. Boxall, Bettina (2010). The Los Angeles Times article collection. Retrieved from http://articles. latimes. com/2010/jan/25/local/la-me-drought25-2010jan25.


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