Blogging for the Earth

Blogging about Nature:  Introducing Garry Rogers on the League of Bloggers for a Better World

GarryRogers

Garry Rogers

My blog posts are about nature, about wildlife and its habitat (posts). They are expressions of my concerns for natural conditions and events.

During the past year, 2015, lethal heat waves and storms, decline of the great iconic species of elephants, lions, and rhinos, whittling away of the tropical rain forests, and massive clouds of air and water pollution made it clear that humanity is changing the Earth.

More than just the great species, we are eliminating many other species hundreds or perhaps thousands of times more quickly than ever achieved by meteorites, volcanic eruptions, or natural climate change.

Total extinction of a species usually happens after decades of decline.  In 2014, the World Wildlife Fund and other organizations carried out an exhaustive analysis of more than 10,000 wildlife studies (download the report).  They wanted to know how wild plants and animals were holding up against human activities. They learned that from 1970 to 2014, just 44 years, the total number of animals on Earth declined by more than 50%!  Rates of decline vary across species groups.  Birds, for instance declined by 40%.  Other groups, especially those dependent on freshwater, have declined by 70%.

What evolution took billions of years to produce, we humans are destroying in a tick of geologic time.  We are changing the planet so quickly, that not by migration, and certainly not by natural selection, can plants and animals cope. If we continue our activities at their current rate, in only a few centuries, we will turn the Earth into a factory farm of cities, farms, feedlots, and roads with only the tiniest fraction of our native creatures surviving on the fringes.

I often write brief comments without listing my sources. I am always happy to respond to requests for explanations.

 

Garry Rogers Nature Conservation News

What is the Nature Conservation News?

VultureMy online Scoop.It newspaper, Garry Rogers Nature Conservation News began operating last September.  It presents news stories called scoops.  My scoops are mostly concerned with animals and their interactions with humans.  I sometimes scoop interesting items about writing, and I scoop the rare items of science fiction news that involve stories and books with a nature conservation theme.  This post is a request for your help with scoop suggestions.  (Visit the news). Continue reading

Intelligence and Rise of the Tsaeb Civilization

What is Intelligence and How is it Used in Fiction?

NASA Header ImageFamiliar components of intelligence are reaction time, sensitivity, problem solving, foresight, and memory.  Novelists often elevate one or more of the components to make their characters more interesting or to give them the necessary ability to achieve plot elements.  Sometimes we pick up hints that a character is intelligent and then we are delighted when she almost magically connects disparate clues and solves the crime.  Dr. Who and Sherlock Holmes are spectacularly successful at this.  In other instances we enjoy watching a character’s routine use of his powerful intellect.  It is fun to watch Lee Child’s Jack Reacher use his exceptionally acute hearing to follow the progress of a professional tail who thinks Reacher is totally unaware of his presence.

Characters are also defined by their temperament, they way they experience and express anger, love, jealousy, regret, and so forth.  Temperament might seem to be the only real concern for character building, because it so clearly distinguishes individuals.  Intelligence, however, sets limits on the expression of temperament.  A smart wise-ass is more likely to produce interesting insults than a dumb one.  And an intelligent character is more likely to notice a detail such as the shape of a tree and see the connection between shape, competitive ability, and history of the tree.  Intelligence determines the depth and richness of a character’s response to experience.

What produces intelligence?  We know that brain size, composition, and internal connectivity are involved, but we only know that these are correlated with measured intelligence (see the references).  We do not know how they work, and we do not know the full list of factors that are necessary.  Perhaps high intelligence requires the presence of structures such as complex hands, thumbs, and voice box, or perhaps an undiscovered chemical.  Whatever the requirements, why haven’t they been met in many complex organisms?  Why aren’t all animals intelligent?

The theme and plot for “Corr Syl the Warrior” required highly intelligent characters with powers of thought beyond human ability.  I used evolution to create them.  I imagined an Earth on which evolution, in its gloriously random way, included intelligence among the traits of the first higher organisms.  I imagined that intelligence was common to all animals, and that along with other character traits, natural selection would continue to improve intelligence.  By the time dinosaurs appeared, most animals were as intelligent as humans are now (see the references).

Before I could use intelligence in my story, I had to answer numerous questions.  A central question concerned competition and conflict.  Would the many intelligent species on Earth have lived and worked together peacefully?  Or would they have built weapons and fought wars?  Observing the warlike tendencies of our modern human civilization, we might expect that universal intelligence would have raged across the Earth like a firestorm leaving nothing behind, perhaps not even the planet itself.  So this is what I decided must happen:  🙂 Continue reading

Scoop.it and Twitter Pass 11,000

Scoop.it and Twitter Make Their Numbers:  11,000+

Scoopit LogoThanks to all the 11,000 animal–nature–science fiction lovers who visited my Scoop.it paper and followed my Tweets.  You are so good-looking–just fabulous!

Numbers?Twitter_logo_blue

This week, “Nature Conservation & Science Fiction:  #EcoSciFi” passed 1,000 views, and Twitter passed 10,000 followers.

Real People

Spam is unavoidable on Twitter, but I have culled many off-topic fans, and I am confident that most of the 11,000 visitors and followers are people with genuine interests in animals, nature, science fiction, and writing.  Spam is not yet an issue for my Scoop.it paper.

Thank you!

Now would be a good time to visit #EcoSciFi and @Garry_Rogers and see what’s new.  I would be delighted to have your participation.

Garry