Monday, October 1, 2007

Biological Monuments


While cruising the World-Wide-Web for a blog worthy topic, I stumbled across an article from the Associated Press I found quite interesting. CBC reports National Garden Clubs, Inc., a nonprofit that promotes a love of gardening in the United States and overseas, will plant a tree cloned from President Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill home on Long Island. It will join several other trees cloned from the estates of past American presidents, creating a tree tribute to dead American powerhouses.

Initially I rolled my eyes at the thought of science, yet again, breaking the bounds of Mother Nature. Who are we to clone the most majestic natural specimen for the pleasure of some American loyalists? I am a true traditionalist when it comes to the planet and at times I don’t think science should be budding its nose into something that has worked just fine for millennia. Keep the tree where the tree stands! What guarantee do they have that these cloned wanna-be trees won’t be susceptible to diseases? Or worse, introduce a disease that will devastate a garden, forest or entire ecosystem. Will these replicas be just as genetically sound as the originals? How will this intruder affect the environment its put in?

After considerable thought and internal debate however, I am of the opinion that this cloning thing - if done right - could be a huge advantage to ecosystems that have been, or are becoming debilitated by humans heavy hand. Will science evolve enough to save entire ecosystems? What about a rain forest? Or a boreal forest? Can this genetically manipulated flora be adapted to allow BC pine trees a resistance to the devastating effects of the Pine Beetle? Can such manipulation progress to a point where coral can be altered to survive in a warmer ocean? If so, this could signify monumental benefits to the planets ecosystems.

I still think science tends to cross ethical lines but I love my planet and I would like to see it continue to thrive for my nephew’s sake. I find it only fair that he gets to explore the diversity this planet has to offer, despite our abuses of the environment.

Reference :
http://www.cbc.ca/cp/science/070928/g092802A.html

Image Reference: http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/113647/2/istockphoto_113647_exotic_roots_of_a_bay_fig_tree.jpg

2 comments:

Dominic B. said...

I think the science is there for us to use...the problem is not the use of science, even for selfish or unsignificant reasons. The problem seems to be that WE(the "intelligent" human race)create problems with our science...that we have no solutions for. As long as there is no problem everything seems to be ok....we are bad at risk assessment. Where there is no money to be made...we do not see a risk....

nikks said...

An interesting blog Kim. I totally understand your internal debate on this one. At first glance I would have rolled my eyes as well, at Americans' effort to manipulate science for their own satisfactions. I would HOPE that your suggestion of using science and what we have discovered so far, when it comes to cloning, would be something that we would possibly look into; but, it is also unfortunately my belief that, as a race, we are inherently selfish. Similar to Dominic's comment, we are often only concerned with discovery and with issues in society, so as long as they make money - The lovely realities of a capitalist society. Mother Nature and the diversity of this planet is something we should all be in awe of, respect, and not tamper with; but, evidence continuously points to us doing the exact opposite....