Adam: The only species directing climate change and evolution

Human caused climate change starts with mankind (Adam and Eve) leaving the Garden of Eden (nature pre farming, Genesis 2:5) to begin the hard work of farming and reforming the earth (Genesis 3:19). Over the next six millennia, humans are starting to learn, we have increasingly changed the world’s climate, and even the course of evolution and species extinction.

The Torah tells us that the exit of Adam (mankind) from the Garden of Eden marks the transition of one species-Homo Sapiens- from the realm of being part of nature, to the realm of dominating, and therefore being responsible for, the direction of nature (Genesis 1:27-8).

Now a recent study published 12/16/15 (Tevet 4, 5776) in the journal Nature, found and confirmed a surprising and very recent shift away from the steady relationship among species over time that prevailed for more than 300 million years.

This study offers the first long-term view of how species associated with each other for half of the existence of multicellular life on Earth has decisively changed said co-author Donald Waller, a professor of botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We did not expect, or predict, that we would see continuity in the fossil record for such a long time. The fraction of plant and animal species that were positively associated with each other was mostly unchanged for 300 million years. Then that fraction sharply declined over the last 6,000 years,” says Waller, a plant ecologist.

Species are ‘positively associated’ if they are found in the same place and time. Starting about 5776 years ago, negatively associated species were preponderant, meaning plants and animals are seldom found in the same place over a long time, a sign that longstanding relationships have been disturbed.

In assessing the cause of the dramatic change they found, the researchers first eliminated five possible sources of error. The most likely cause for the shift, the researchers state, was rapid human population growth, with ensuing effects from plant and animal agriculture.

“The conclusion we reluctantly came to is that there have been systematic changes around the world in ecological conditions, prompting changes in the pattern of species coexistence,” Waller says. “This is an aspect of global change that has never been noticed, or documented before.”

The situation on continents, often recognized as having more stable species assemblages, is now starting to resemble the situation on islands, Waller says. “In general, island habitats are fragmented, and species are vulnerable and declining. Islands are models for conservation biology because they indicate what happens in the end game” as species go extinct and biodiversity declines.

The study is more evidence that humans have substantially changed the planet, Waller adds. “Now we present evidence that humans are changing the Earth in another fundamental way: how species are associated with one another. It’s fossil evidence that we have entered the ‘anthropocene,’ a geologic era marked by human dominance of the planet.

“In fact, the study even provides a way to date the start of the anthropocene.”

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 450 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
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