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Summary

We have seen, on the home page of this website, that volumetrically-insignificant numbers of individual dinoflagellates, surrounded on all sides by “vast amounts of open space,” routinely manage to calamitously-alter the aqueous environment in which they live.

 

And specifically, that, in a one-liter sample of water from a
red-tide, the dinoflagellate cells themselves occupy a total
area equivalent to (or less than) the area represented by the
dot shown in the diagram below. 

 

the dot in the illustration below denotes
two one-thousandths
  of  one percent

karenia_2_1000ths_of_1_percent.jpg

while the remaining  99.998 72%  of the rectangle

represents an enormous quantity
of unoccupied "empty space"

 

 

This is not to necessarily suggest a direct applicability of dinoflagellate impacts and trajectories to humanity’s own global trajectories and impacts today.  However, it is provocative to consider that today our own species, surrounded by an apparently enormous atmosphere and seemingly “vast amounts of open space” also seems to be well on its way, via an on-going release of potentially calamitous wastes and extensive physical damage to natural systems, to a significant alteration of the entire gaseous environment in which we live.

 

Given the current demographic corner into which we seem to have
painted ourselves (with our 7th, 8th, and 9th billions on-track to arrive
between now and mid-century),

one would suppose that we are clearly smarter than a completely
mindless population of one-celled dinoflagellates

which repeatedly show themselves capable of calamity even while occupying less than
two one-thousandths of one percent of the total volume in which the sample resides.

 

 

Invoking sobriety, however, we may actually be following a
trajectory that is strikingly similar to that of the dinoflagellates,
because our own species, like the red-tide dinoflagellates of
marine environments, releases chemical wastes and toxins
into our surroundings.

 

 

Worse still, from at least one point of view,

we may actually be on a trajectory that is considerably
worse
than that of the dinoflagellates

 

For each dinoflagellate releases only its own
biological / cellular wastes into its surroundings. 

In  the case of ourselves, however, we release
both our biological and cellular wastes, 

along with a highly-amplified daily avalanche
of additional societal and industrial wastes

that is growing ever-larger with our exploding
numbers and ever-expanding industrialization

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postcripts
 
 
(1) Recall that our illustration above reflects
a one-liter sample of red-tide that contains
approximately 1,000,000 cells of Karenia
brevis
per liter. 

Some Karenia brevis red-tides, however, 
occur with as few as 100,000 K. brevis cells
per liter.  To adjust the above illustration to
reflect this lesser number of dinoflagellate cells
per unit volume,

if we were to use precisely the same sized dot
as shown in the present diagram, we would
have to multiply the area of the white rectangle
ten-fold

 
 
(2) In addition, K. brevis and other dinoflagellates
confine themselves to releasing only their biological,
cellular, and metabolic wastes into the surroundings
in which they live


Our own species, on the other hand,
may actually be on a trajectory
        that is  far worse
than that of the dinoflagellates
 
because not only do we release our
biological and metabolic wastes into
the environment in which we reside,
 
but we also supplement such normal
wastes, on a daily basis, with tons upon
tons of greenhouse gases and other
societal and industrial wastes.

 

(3) NO OTHER ANIMALS ON EARTH  
                   
supplement
their natural biological, metabolic, and
cellular wastes in this way,

and no other animals on earth have
             EVER supplemented their biological
wastes in this way,
 

and in the worst outbreaks of calamitous
red-tides that have ever occurred,
 
        no dinoflagellates on earth
 
have EVER supplemented their natural
biological wastes in this way.

Upon reflection, these observations, while somewhat
provocative (and disconcerting?),

would seem to suggest that not only may we be
following a trajectory that is far worse than that
of Karenia brevis and similar dinoflagellates,

but we may potentially be on a trajectory that is
                                    
multiple orders of magnitude worse


Bearing in mind that red-tides are one of the quintessential examples
of population explosions that culminate in environmental calamities,

the above assessments involving "vast amounts of open-space"  might,
perhaps, serve as food for thought.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

“A continuation of today’s demographic tidal wave may constitute

the greatest single risk that our species has ever undertaken.”

 

What Every Citizen Should Know About Our Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 GPSO 2010

The comments, illustrations, mathematics, and data presented on this site

are offered as a contribution to the Global Population Speak Out dialogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2010, Randolph Femmer.

All rights reserved.