it has been a while since last time I updated you on everything. A lot happened lately, and so I didn’t put enough efforts into this organization. ecojar is failing ... It’s a shame.
For those of you who know me, I used to conduct research in plant physiology and that was how I developed ecojar. A few months ago, I switched to another field that directly engagesin various climate change issues and actively seeks solutions. During this major change, I did a lot of reading, thinking, and ted-talk-watching; not just about where this new path would lead me to, but also about humans and our place in nature, how we got ourselves in this position today, and where we were heading to. There’s one thing that I have begun to fully understand, which I didn’t give much thought in the past, was that we got ourselves into the climate change mess today is because humans do not have the capability to foresee long-term consequences.
In 1944 during world war ii, us coast guards established a radio system on st. matthew island and released 29 reindeers as emergency food. when the war was over, the soldiers left the island and it was no one’s responsibility to collect the reindeers. there were no predicators to the reindeers on the island (besides the soldiers) and it was full of their favorite food, lichen. Now forwarding to 1957, 13 years after the coast guards’ operation, biologist dave klein stepped onto the island and found roughly 1,300 reindeers. He returned 6 years later and found about 6,000 reindeers (that’s about 47 reindeers for every square mile). for those of you who still remember a concept from high school biology, carrying capacity of an ecosystem has its limits. so in 1966, when prof. klein returned to the island, he found 42 reindeers. In the next decade, reindeer was extinct on st.matthew island. The moral of the story is that no one blamed the reindeers for their inability of developing birth control methods or constructing canoe to move to another island ... well, that’s because they are reindeers.
Now you might think, wait a minute I see where you are going with this, but we are humans... but perhaps we are just that stupid. History has shown us; that dude who chopped down the last tree on eastern island still did it, even though he probably could see the entire island at the time. we over-fish our ocean, we put a huge amount of greenhouse gases in the air, we emit air pollutes, we overpopulate the earth, we massively consume nonrenewable natural resources ... we over-do everything to an extreme that the numbers we use to describe these things are incomprehensible to our mental capacities. it’s called “tragedy of the commons.”
The solution to this problem is rather simple. all we have to do is fully realizing the long-term consequence of our action. so when the next time we decide to leave the front yard light on, we should relate that to arctic glacier melting, or how much warming it causes globally, or how much sea level rise it contributes... but it’s not easy to do. our current method of teaching ecology and ecosystem biology in k-12 is not effective in connecting our actions to the big picture, it does not show the long-term consequences. in a standard high school biology class, students do fun dna experiment, test their own blood type, study fossils of ancient organisms, but there’s hardly any education tool that could effectively convey the concept of ecology, the very concept that could guide us out of our current climate crisis mess, if we achieve a good understanding of it. currently the students are stuck with boring videos and figures for studying ecology.
each ecojar is a miniature ecosystem, it has all the basic but also important ecology concepts built in them. I have been making ecojar for almost 4 years and I think it’s time to put what I do the best to where it is needed the most. I will combine my skill in science communication with this organization to form a new branch. currently, ecojar is undertaking a major change and that is incorporating an educational tool branch into this organization. ecojar, from now on, is known as a form of art and an educational tool.
thanks for your attention.