Planet Earth conquered

When I was a kid exploring the local forests, I’d often gravitate to places where there weren’t many people – my goal was not to seen anyone else during those forays.

I always found there was a “vibe” in heavily trafficked areas; even if people weren’t physically present. The animals behaved differently in those places too. Upon finding a quiet place, I would fantasize that I had “discovered” a new area and revel in the relative absence of trash or noise pollution.

Up until recently, I still believed there were places on Earth that were unaffected by modern humans and I found it somehow comforting to think these places existed.

Those beliefs have been dashed in recent years thanks to global warming, climate change, stories such as the news of DDT in penguins in the Arctic and now it seems even the poisoning of the deep sea. The deep sea we know relatively little about, but nevertheless it hasn’t escaped from our reach. It doesn’t matter any more how inhospitable an environment it is; we are there is some shape or form.

According to this entry on Terra Daily, persistent organic pollutants including  tributyltin (TBT), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), and dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) are now affecting the deep-sea food web and have been found in animals such as squid that feed at depths of over 6,000 feet.

The presence of these chemicals in turn poses a threat to whales and dolphins who feed on these creatures.

We have certainly conquered the planet; no corner, nook or crannie remains untouched from our presence it seems. Unfortunately, like so many human conquests, it hasn’t been one that historians of the future will reflect on kindly. Our conquest will make the activities of Attila the Hun and the Crusades look like petty mischief.