General Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

What benefit do human beings bring to the Earth?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) April 13th, 2016

How have we human beings enhanced our planet.

I’m not talking about books, or art, or entertainment, or technology or other inventions. These are things that only benefit us.

But how have we benefited our planet? How have we benefited the very core of nature itself?

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59 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Protection against asteroid/comet collisions In the future. Also we put out wild fires.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Human beings are part of the planet and its systems, therefore anything that benefits us like books and music also benefits the planet. We are not separate. We evolved from the dirt we stand on.

We are part of the being that is Earth.

We are part of the animal that is Earth.

ragingloli's avatar

Hmm.
You wiped out over 300 species in the last 500 years alone.
You destroyed countless biospheres to replace them with farmland and settlements.
You poisoned the atmosphere and littered the environment and the oceans with garbage.
You caused anthropogenic global warming will result in even more extinctions in the future.

So, even if you manage to find some obscure benefit that humans may or may not have brought the planet, overall humans are a disease that needs to be cured.

stanleybmanly's avatar

This is what the fight is all about. What if I’m prepared to DEFEND (you listenin penguin?) the proposition that the world is enhanced immeasurably by my enrichment through plundering its resources?

XOIIO's avatar

Benefit?

Oh man, give me a second, I’ll need to get an oxygen mask I’ll be laughing so hard.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Someday when our species has come of age we will be its eternal protectors. Until then we will still be rebellious teenagers running around and fucking everything up.

janbb's avatar

I don’t think I can defend our existence here at all.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Whoever said that benefiting the planet was a condition of existence?

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Seek's avatar

In the grand scheme of things, this tiny rock is insignificant, including the human race, its accomplishments and misdeeds, and all the other species that have lived and will live on its surface. Ultimately it will be swallowed by our dying sun and every atom that comprises each of our bodies will burn and break and become new atoms.

So…

Meh.

kritiper's avatar

To sweet Mother Earth, we are nothing more than germs. Bacteria. A scourge, a plague, the ultimate pestilence! We are ticks! We are MRSA! We are death!

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Coloma's avatar

Well…considering I am right in the middle of a 20/20 episode about that fuckhead dentist from Minnesota that murdered Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe last year, I think that about says it all. humans have done nothing but rape and pillage this planet and each other since the dawn of time. It really is time for us to become extinct and let the birds and the beasts live in peace again.

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JLeslie's avatar

Benefit? My first reaction is to say as humans we have not helped the planet in any way.

However, maybe we have? Maybe some of the things we do that we would label as mistakes or bad, actually sent the planet down a path better than the alternative, we just don’t know it, because we didn’t take that path. It’s like extending your ski trip one more day and breaking your leg on the slope, but what you don’t know is the path not followed would have meant you would have died in a car accident on the drive home from the airport if you had left your originally scheduled day. Maybe if there were no humans the planet left to the wild would be in worse shape? I doubt it, but it’s possible.

Stinley's avatar

I’m not sure I agree with the premise of the question. We are here, we exist, we don’t exactly live in harmony with other plants and animal which we call nature but we are part of nature. Nature cannot be benefitted. It just is.

Pandora's avatar

We benefit it when we die and put nutrients back into the ground. But other than that. We really don’t.
There are some discoveries every day, where we learn to do something better but I wouldn’t say we are benefit if we are generally a plague on the planet. We cause many of the upheavals.
Sure we save animals, but we are usually the ones who put them at risk in the first place.
We are trying to keep the oceans clean but we crapped all over it.
We are trying to save the trees but we cut them down and made a hole in the ozone that killed many.
We saved forest from burning down from lightning but we’ve started many that burned forest down to the ground.
I won’t put all of global warming at our feet but I believe we sped up a natural process in an unnatural way.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Stinley What I’m getting at is that matter that human beings have damaged this world with pollution and we seem to attempt to dominate all other life on earth. So I wonder, what exactly have we done to deserve the right to be the kings of the world (so to speak)?

Seek's avatar

We evolved higher reasoning ability, @NerdyKeith

We are products of nature. We are nature. Nature is a bitch.

Stinley's avatar

@NerdyKeith We have behaved in a domineering, self centered, greedy and hedonistic way. We have used our naturally evolved clever brains to scheme our way into this position. We’ve also worked together as a species to spread our dominance. Greed and team working is what we did to become the royal family of the world. I just don’t think it’s a question of right and wrong, do we deserve it or don’t we? We have it and we will continue to have it until we don’t. This is how nature works.

I get the idea that we are out of balance and we are using too many resources and throwing them away and we are doing this with such arrogant impunity.

NerdyKeith's avatar

Good pints @Seek and @Stinley. I suppose it always comes down to survival of the fittest within nature.

Coloma's avatar

True we are nature, but the nature of our beast is separated from all other beasts by that solely human trait of ego. No other animal possesses an ego that is hell bent on domination, winning and being right like the human animal.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Coloma Not true. Why do you think herds have a dominant male? He’s bent on domination. Humans do it on a larger scale.

If humans show tendencies that are unnatural, it’s our compassionate ones.

Darth_Algar's avatar

As I’ve said before: we are not so removed from other animals, we’re just clever enough to adapt and to make tools to compensate for our natural weaknesses.

Coloma's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Dominance in nature, herd animals has nothing to do with ego. Animals do not possess the traits of human ego. They do not scheme and connive, they do not seek revenge, they do not act out of jealously, greed, a need for power. They do not hold grudges, they do not make up stories in their minds to justify bad behavior. They do not lie, cheat, or otherwise deceive each other. Sure, the Hyena may steal the lions kill but it is about survival not greed or ego.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Coloma The results are the same. Nature does not care about the inner workings of the brain in these matters. At base, we’re doing the same thing.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Nature is cold, harsh and unfeeling. It does not care about your ego, or your compassion. It does not care about millions of animals dying off. It does not care about about your morals or your lack of morals. Nature simply is. Nature is just living beings doing what they do, and that includes as just as much as any other animal.

Coloma's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I don’t think the results are the same. Nature does not create divisiveness in the same manner human ego does.. As @Darth_Algar says, nature just is, but human ego creates a much harsher outcome that effects all life forms than simply acting on instinct.
Greed, revenge, corruption, enslavement, taking more than is necessary for survival, this is soley a human trait driven by ego.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Coloma Just because an animal is not able to think on levels as a human does not mean it’s not creating divisiveness. The strife is just as real. It simply doesn’t have the added layer of lucidity that we give our divisiveness. Also, squirrels hide way more than they need. They’re greedy buggers.

Coloma's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Storing food for winter does not make the squirrel greedy. It is a survival strategy, It is practical to store food that will be buried in winter snow when foraging is harder. Hoarding acorns in the fall when nature provides the squirrels primary food source has nothing to do with greed, just like a bear fattening up before hibernation has nothing to do with greed.

Greed is a product of human ego, taking more than is needed for basic survival.
It is also not about thinking, animals think to varying degrees but in the moment, they have no concept of past or future.
Thinking and ego are two separate mind functions. Ego is all about winning, being right, envy, jealousy, egoic emotions that animals do not employ. Only humans hold grudges and seek revenge for real or merely perceived wrongs, animals do not.

Anyway….horse dead. lol

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Coloma You’re looking at what’s occurring in the interior of the human, and I’m trying to explain that regardless of the interior, the exterior result is not different between a human and a squirrel. And we agree that this horse is dead. :)

Seek's avatar

Maybe not a squirrel, but a mantis shrimp would totally do that, give the chance.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

If homo sapiens were dropped here by another race of beings, I could understand saying we humans are separate from nature. However, we humans evolved here from the same dirt the squirrel evolved from. Our brains evolved differently and gave us different capacities than the squirrel, but much of what we do on a daily basis is squirrely or squirrel-like. One squirrel stealing from its neighbor’s cache can be argued to represent an nuclear attack on a much smaller level.

ragingloli's avatar

And gassing 11 million people is just like stepping on a bug.~

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The outcome is the same to the victims.

Nature does not give a shit about the morality humans assign to atrocities. It is this morality you are alluding to in your comments on this thread. It is completely irrelevant to Nature. Nature is purely amoral.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I mentioned it above, and it bears repeating. It is arguable that our morals and values like compassion set us apart from Nature. Our ability to wreak havoc does not.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I suppose the one benefit we render the earth, is that we were here to witness its glories, and a few of us have documented those wonders. With luck, some of those records will remain or find themselves tucked away somewhere after we’ve ruined the planet and ourselves in the process.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’ll guaran-goddamn-tee you that if one ant colony could nuke or gas a competing colony it would (and probably without the reservations we have about the act).

flutherother's avatar

Nature is indifferent and unaware of benefit or damage. All we can do is to make things better for ourselves and we aren’t always very good even at that.

LostInParadise's avatar

We are wiping out species at such a rapid rate that many are calling it the sixth extinction. This cancels out any small benefit we may be providing.

hsrch's avatar

We are an infection on the surface of the earth.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@hsrch can a host infect itself?

ragingloli's avatar

Yes.
It is called cancer.

Leadfoot's avatar

This question always sounds like it assumes the planet/flora & Fauna are more important than the people on it. They aren’t.

Should we screw it up for ourselves? Why would we want to do that?

Coloma's avatar

@Leadfoot Why indeed, considering we already have.
Humans have single handedly ravaged this planet beyond repair, at least for 100’s of years to come. All life forms are created equal, and humans are not any more or less important than a sea turtle or a redwood tree. Organisms are organisms and they all evolved from the same great melting pot of cosmic soup. The human organism is just the most destructive organism to yet evolve.

ragingloli's avatar

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@ragingloli That is a highly logical conclusion

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