Are Humans Parasites?

A lot of people ask, 'Do you think humans are parasites?' It's an interesting idea and one worth thinking about. People casually refer to humanity as a virus spreading across the earth. In fact, we do look like some strange kind of bio-film spreading across the landscape. A good metaphor? If the biosphere is our host, we do use it up for our own benefit. We do manipulate it. We alter the flows and fluxes of elements like carbon and nitrogen to benefit ourselves—often at the expense of the biosphere as a whole. If you look at how coral reefs or tropical forests are faring these days, you'll notice that our host is not doing that well right now. Parasites are very sophisticated; parasites are highly evolved; parasites are very successful, as reflected in their diversity. Humans are not very good parasites. Successful parasites do a very good job of balancing—using up their hosts and keeping them alive. It's all a question of tuning the adaptation to your particular host. In our case, we have only one host, so we have to be particularly careful.


If so, then we are very bad at it since we appear to be killing our only host.

Folksonomies: humanity environmentalism parasite

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Earth (0.954475): dbpedia | freebase
Thought (0.711307): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Coral reef (0.705763): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
English-language films (0.633484): dbpedia
Abstraction (0.608819): dbpedia | freebase
2005 albums (0.573908): dbpedia
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Human (0.547055): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 The Power of Parasites Talk at Columbia University,
Proceedings of Meetings and Symposia>Speech:  Zimmer, Carl (2008), The Power of Parasites Talk at Columbia University,, Retrieved on 2012-06-08


30 DEC 2013

 Human Relationship with the Earth

The Naturalist Virtue of Leaving Nature Untouched > Contrast > Are Humans Parasites?
The ideal versus the reality.
Folksonomies: nature environmentalism
Folksonomies: nature environmentalism