The Network of Relations Among Living Organisms and Our Role in It
There is beauty in diversity. When you look at the vastness of our planet and the details that make it up, aren't you thankful that everything doesn't look the same? The diversity in our world is but one factor of all that contributes to making it beautiful. There is also the fact that we are not called to live in isolation; everyone you see is somebody's somebody. There is either a genealogical, social, or professional chain linking one person to another. Each person contributes differently to the flow of things. This is at the level of us humans. Now, picture a link with nature in mind: the plants and animals, water, air, and earth. That's basically where the concept of ecology would step in: our interaction with our environment and everything that makes it up.
There exists a network of relations among the different living organisms in our world in varying ranges of organization — a sort of interdependence for sustainability. The United Nations declared 2020 as the "International Year of Plant Health." Some may wonder why the interest in plants, well, maybe besides the fact that 80 percent of the food we eat comes from plants. That alone is already a good reason to give them the utmost attention. But an aspect that goes almost unnoticed is that plants also make the oxygen we breathe, hence our link with them. They produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, using the energy of sunlight, converting carbon dioxide.
Have you ever experienced air quality in an industrialized region compared to that in an area with more vegetation? Trees and vegetation can help reduce air pollution, making the air we breathe fresher and cleaner. The more the greenery, the cleaner the air.
With their declaration this year, the UN stressed the attack on plants by invasive pests and called on people and organizations to work together to protect plants. There goes the link again! We can't underlook the human factor; the plants won't defend themselves. Even in creation's story, it is said that God took a while to send the rain upon the earth, for there was no man to cultivate the ground.
Protecting plant health is protecting not only the food we eat but also the air we breathe, the environment in which we live, and evidently protecting people. Even the very soil on which we cultivate needs us to be its ally. Besides it being useful for cultivation, it has other ecosystem services it renders to humanity, including temperature regulation, water filtration, carbon and nutrient cycling, etc. And it is also the habitat for most living things and their food. Everything has its importance. There is no isolated detail, but all interweave in a system, a cycle that sustains life on earth.
We have a responsibility towards our environment, and that's simply how nature will have it. Our activities or lifestyle can either be harmful or helpful to our environment because we are linked up by ecological processes and by the built-in responsibility that we as a superior species possess.