The Importance of Variety

By Dave Hanks

“To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” —Aldo Leopold

The country has great economic needs and problems. We must make use of our natural resources to meet our needs. However, we need to be careful, careful not to destroy those very things that provide that richness. As resources are used, we must (as Leopold advises) not fail to retain all the cogs that make up our ecosystems.

Cogs that most of us don’t think about - cogs that make up a big part of the total of life on earth – cogs that are not readily noticeable – cogs that support food chains from the bottom, so that we at the top can meet our needs and desires. Small things are food for bigger things. Eliminate any small thing along a food chain and the chain is in danger of collapsing – or eliminate a cog’s living space, and you have not only eliminated something small, but something much greater that depends on it.

The aesthetics resulting from variety is very essential to the peace and contentment of our souls. How dull it would be if we were all the same and if our surroundings had no diversity to please the eye.

There are some organisms we care a lot about, and some organisms that could go extinct without many folks caring. We can’t afford to lose any of them.

(From bull Moose to Fritilary Butterfly on a Tansey bloom)