Biological Diversity, May 16, 1997

American Flatbread ­ Flatbread Kitchen
Friday May 16, 1997
Tonight’s menu and baking are dedicated to


Two weeks ago I wrote: “We need biological diversity like we need air.” What is all this clamor about biological diversity? Why is it important? I remember twenty years ago or so a friend asking me, after I having gone on about the death of the oceans, why he should care, “after all, he said, I don’t like seafood.” A good question. Why does it matter? Of what value are slime molds or club fungi or liverworts or nematodes or rotifers or comb jellies or sea walnuts or sand dollars?

There are over a million known species of plants and animals and monera (bacteria and blue-green algae) on earth, and maybe another one to four million yet to be discovered. Each is its own miracle of creation. Their value and purpose is largely unknown to we who so often conceive of our world in homocentric ways. If it is not a chicken or dog or maple or wheat then of what value is it?

The answer, I believe, can only be found from a perspective of humbleness. Just because we do not know of a plant or animal or bacteria’s worth does not mean that it is worthless. Or, conversely, just because a certain species bothers or is harmful to us does it mean the world would be a better place without that species, (yes little black fly in my ear ­ I mean even you). The great diversity of life is an endowment for us to celebrate and to pass on to those who will follow. Thanks for coming tonight.

Love, George

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