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biodiversity jenga

What image would you use to illustrate the idea that humans are damaging biodiversity?


I don't like the metaphor of a house of cards, because the point of that game is to try to build something from nothing, knowing that the slightest false move will have the whole thing collapse - like a house of cards. The message is that creative activities lead almost inevitably to catastrophe.


I much prefer the Jenga metaphor. Humans are necessarily involved, and the game is to see how much you can remove before things go pearshaped. The tower is good and stable at the start, and gets less reliable as the reduction continues. But you can stop at any time, and there is a good chance that things will not collapse on their own accord.


A friend has pointed out that "in the Jenga you have a chance to restore, whereas in the cards house any restoration effort risks to make the whole thing collapse. One aspect, however, is missing in both metaphors, nature will recover, it may start from scratch again and it may take a long time, a several millions of years, but for nature that's no worry. So solving the climate and biodiversity crisis is above all in our own interest, if we want human society to continue to exist."

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Taken on May 2, 2010