Monday, July 4, 2016

Quote: Alfred Wallace On Human Driven Extinction

He writes in The Malay Archipelago (1869):

It seems sad that on one hand such exquisite creatures should live out their lives and exhibit their charms only in these wild, inhospitable regions, doomed for ages yet to come to hopeless barbarism; while on the other hand, should civilized man ever reach these distant lands,  and bring moral, intellectual, and physical light into the recesses of these virgin forests, we may be sure that he will so disturb the nicely-balanced relations of organic and inorganic nature as to cause the disappearance, and finally extinction, of these very beings whose wonderful structure and beauty he alone is fitted to appreciate and enjoy. This consideration must surely tell us that all living things were not made for man. 

Via - The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography In An Age Of Extinction.

This was apparently a refutation of the argument made by the Duke of Argyll, that beauty in nature is evidence of God's handiwork. Wallace though was also clearly worried that European expansion and demand for natural resources would put these ecosystems at grave risk.

You can read The Malay Archipelago at Wallace Online.

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