"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear, does it make a sound?" The thought experiment that attempts to assess the essence of being and reality blurs the lines between knowledge, observation and truth. The answer to the question clearly depends on one's frame of reference. In an anthropocentric world, the zealot might say no, for in the absence of a person to hear, the phenomenon does not exist. However, if one separates the id from the humanness label and accepts that science exists in the absence of oneself, then the tree clearly does make a sound. The falling body compresses the air, alters localized regions of pressure, and creates waves that propagate through matter; the product is a sound that emanates across the forest.
This exercise that seeks to find a connection between sensation and reality is, to me, about truth. An argument that claims a falling tree makes no sound, parallels those which profess humans bear no responsibility for a changing climate. The empiricist who that knows sound waves are not about the hearing but about the physics, can also recognize the body of evidence that point towards an anthropogenic cause for the predicament we now face.
There are countless models that correlate human expansion with accelerated global changes. The impact of our species is so profound that recent research now suggests that the development of agriculture in North America 6,000 years ago is linked to fundamental structural changes in plant and animal distributions that had previously remained constant for 300 million years (Scientists peg Anthropocene to first farmers). Not recognizing ones impact in the past is a forgivable offense, but in this modern era. denial is not reality and ignorance is a choice.
Today is December 25, 2015 and we have yet to experience a cold stretch or significant snow in central Minnesota. It is the warmest year on record and the rut continues throughout a season that is often defined by nutritional stress rather than sex. Just like the falling trees that break the solitude of a quiet forest, humans must accept the responsibility for the changes they impart on our home... these are strange days on planet Earth.
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