“When extinction adjusts the number of species to the [undisturbed] land area that remains for the plants, mammals, reptiles, birds, and invertebrates of North America (something that will happen within most of our lifetimes), we will have lost 95 percent of the species that greeted the Pilgrims.”
That sentence was excerpted from my textbook, Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy. I’m currently taking a course on native plants, part of an organic horticulture curriculum offered by British Columbia-based Gaia College. Reading the chapter was very sobering. But Mr. Tallamy goes on to suggest that there are ways we can slow this process. Designing our living spaces (like our gardens, for a start) to accommodate non-humans so that we can all live sustainably together is part of the solution. Something as simple as leaving some of your garden beds covered with leaves, twigs and other natural debris so that solitary bees can find a place to nest is a good start. Every little bit helps.
The more I’m learning, the more it’s sinking in how much work there is to do to stop us from destroying our natural world. And I’m realizing that most of the heavy lifting needs to happen in our own heads. But meanwhile, there are transformations happening now for the better. Like the very cool process taking place in Yellowstone National Park, when wolves were reintroduced in 1995 which kickstarted a natural progression that led to a check in erosion and a change in the physical geography of the park. Check out this gorgeous video from Sustainable Man.