I just started up reading a new book
‘Darwin comes to town: how the urban jungle drives evolution)
I have to say the captured me from the first chapter (So grappling that I nearly missed my bus stop !) where he talks about the London tube and how mosquitos in the different lines are genetically different from each other and genetically different from mosquitos above ground, with even different life strategies (including different reproduction!)
And this is how much we influence the environment around us by building cities. We are not only obviously destroying natural habitats and rebuilding artificial landscapes which are reducing biodiversity but more than that we are creating new channels for species to be connected and more barriers that make species diverge and specialise. And I don't think we can ignore it. We are changing a lot more than we imagine. Heck, a lot more that even I imagined. I guessed I always thought about impacts in terms of reducing species, by taking away their habitat. But nature is faster and like many other things, it's all a question of action and reaction. So nature can learn to convive with human, and can learn to adapt to eat our leftovers. Even if they contain toxic material. Listen to this: Some birds, like pigeon, which are living in the city are developing darker wings than their countryside counterparts. What do darker wings have to do with rubbish? According to a study, darker wings contain higher level of melanin which has detoxifying quality.
Of course, in a way , is great to see nature outsmart us (like when the birds managed to figure out how to get to the cream out of delivered milk bottles!), and it gives me some good hopes that even after the anthropocene will pass, this planet will go on .. but this does not mean that we can continue on like we are because nature adapts anyway, and we are not sure where all of these changes are going and whether they will be ultimately good for species persistence on longer time scales. Think about it, if populations become so small and so specialised and genetically different to other neighbouring populations, to the point of being unable to interbreed, then there is a high risk of inbreeding and all of its associated risks (like being more prone to genetic dysmorphism... the same reason why they teach us in schools that having children with our cousins is not good idea!
But what can we do in the meantime?
Designing cities which considers corridors for nature (corridors of complex grass with flowers and some trees, green roofs, green walls..) for example could limit any excessive segregation, allowing for nature to be nature and individuals to be able to go meet each other (think about this: would you go on a date with someone if you had to take 5 different buses? You would probably chose to go and meet up with someone on the same metro line instead..). Also allowing for more nature in general, with a range of flora and fauna, will allow for natural feeding conditions and not needing to eat rubbish (think - birds will be more likely eating insects, worms and seeds rather than cigarette butts...) could allow nature to remain nature . And just be mindful of this mingling, and if anything just observe it and be amazed about how all that you have learnt on that biology book (think back to the classic black moths with the onset of industrial revolution example) - yes, nature is awesome!
And read the book
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