Lets talk about natural selection for just a moment. It is a pretty amazing aspect of the evolutionary process. I mean I can attribute all my perfect features to natural selection. OK kidding, but seriously when you think about how organisms develop and improve (or not) you have to admit that life, and survival, can be pretty darn fascinating. Now call me odd, but I think about natural selection a lot. One because I was an anthropology major for my undergrad and there was always a daily dose of Darwin, and two because when I go out into my back garden and see things like lizards and birds in a fairly urban area, I am always so impressed that they have been able to survive, though constantly tormented by human "progress".
Going through the laundry list of what has been spotted in our back garden, we can see there are some obvious traits that reptiles, birds, as well as other creatures such a rodents and insects possess that allow them to survive in this modern world. Snakes and lizards are pretty good at hiding. I think they know that there are a lot of humans that are scared of them and rather than making their presence known and getting squashed by the sissies, they are able to get what they need while staying out of sight. I will admit there is a lot of room for discussion there, as mentioned just going through the list of animals that have been seen. Birds, well this is an easy one, they can fly, which is a real advantage, since on their own humans cannot (haha suckers we are slow to evolve). Then there are the rodents who multiply fast and are generally not too selective in their food choices. Bugs are sort of the same, they can reproduce pretty quickly. I guess you have to with relatively short life spans, which seem to be getting shorter the more chemicals humans put down to keep them away. But there is something else to all this, something that I actually saw the other day. A birds nest had fallen out of a tree, and while on a walk with my favorite person we discovered it. It was empty and no longer in use, but it was still a huge score for us. As I picked up the nest to examine it I notice that some of the building material that this particular bird had used was trash, candy wrappers. My heart sank. Talk about being forced to adapt to a bad situation. There is something that is just not right with this picture.
Why are we, yes we humans, forcing animals that are constantly fighting to survive, making life that much harder. In the scheme of things humans are the newbies, and have only been around a for a brief second historically, while other organisms have been around much longer in some form or another. Shouldn't we be slightly more accommodating them. Don't you think they know a bit more about this survival stuff, having done it for so long. We are not talking about the pandas or polar bears which adapted to eat or live only in specific areas. There downfall is an obvious reflection of human interference. And when it is obvious, right before it is too late, we seem to do something, to ease the guilt. Whether is works or not, at least we can say we tried (barf). And I am not talking about the animals that we have sent to the brink of extinction because of violence and greed. Human created guns are not an evolutionary trait that betters our existence, but rather a tool of violence that continues to hurt (but this is a discussion for a another time). Factory farming keeps the lives of farm animals short, preventing the proper evolutionary growth. All of this human control and "advancement" tips the scales, and takes away the balance that was previously found.
Trash does not go away, instead it seems to be finding its way into birds nests or worse into the birds. I want to see more wildlife in my back yard. I want my back yard to look like it is supposed to, not some manicured patch of grass, but rather a habitat where I can live as well as all the other creatures that were here long before me. I want balance back, for the animals around, as well as for my own sake. This balance will only start to come back if we are more aware. Do not force the birds to make a nest out of trash, or worse yet eat it. Think about your choices. Save what small bits of wildlife we have left. Because without it I will only hear those awful bulldozers and that is super depressing.
This short video is a even more extreme example of the point of this post.