Peter d'Errico: Planet goes to dogs as humans fight over drilling

"I learned this one night camping in Monument Valley: Dogs in the desert fight about food even when there is enough to go around. The first dog gets a scrap. A second arrives, and a third; each gets a scrap. A fourth and fifth, too. But though they each have something to gnaw on, they chase around desperately. Finally, I toss an extra scrap and instantaneously they settle down to eat. They observe the existing resources, but fight over the chance of a future food shortage.

Recent news reminds me of this lesson: Under the headline, “A Gold Rush in the Abyss,” the New York Times reports that undersea prospecting for minerals is expanding around the globe. Nations and companies vie to stake claims to seabed sources of copper, silver, gold, and other substances. The stated motivation is “dwindling resources on land” and “predictions of metal shortages ahead.”

As if to underscore the similarity between industrial humans and dogs, the Times describes the process this way: “Ships…send down sharp drills that gnaw into the rocky seabed.” Dogs gnaw bones and humans use drills to gnaw the earth."

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Peter d'Errico: Is the Biosphere Going to the Dogs? (Indian Country Today 7/27)

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