Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Struggle for Survival

Life is precarious. Seven minutes without breathing, and the end is at hand. Seven days without water, our system shuts down. Seven weeks without food, well, we’d certainly lose a lot of weight.

The same struggle for survival holds true in the wild world of animals. Relax your guard for just a moment, and you become someone else’s meal.

Even the world of plants is governed by this battle for survival — although the serenity of the forest and the enchanting beauty of a flower mask its existence. Yet more recent research reveals a fierce battle for survival even in the world of plants.

This battle is fought at a much slower pace and is less obvious, particularly since it is fought primarily underground. Roots will travel enormous distances to find nutrients. Like animals, they claim their territory. They nurture their young. Some will even resort to poison to keep out unwanted competitors. 

Many fascinating secrets of the world of plants have recently come to light. When an insect is rapidly devouring a plant’s leaves, some plants manage to send out an alert by producing a strong odor that will attract other predators to rid them of the pest.

Why is it that life is not a given?

Why is it that life is a constant struggle for survival?

Human beings have learned to protect themselves from wild animals and from the cold and heat of the elements, to procure easy access to food and to cure themselves of diseases. On the other hand, people keep fighting wars even though they should have learned by now that no one wins in a war, there are only those who survive. 

Why this all-pervasive struggle for survival — among humans, beast and plants? Is it to keep nature in balance? Is it to advance evolution?

Maybe one day we will gain more knowledge and a better understanding. For now, all we can do is to keep striving.

Until next time,