For any species to continue it must maintain the capacity to adapt to the environment in a sustainable way as well as pass on the ability to sense and negotiate the environment to their offspring. Adaptability takes many forms, but one common thread that runs through the entire body of life is the need to live within ones environmental means – to establish and maintain equilibrium or endure the consequences of disequilibrium.
If a species exploits an environment beyond the environment’s capacity to replenish, it leads to the demise of that same species. While an immediate increase in population might come as a result of some quantum leap in the capacity of a species to exploit the environment to draw nourishment, if that new capacity exceeds the carrying capacity of the environment to renew itself, the stage is set for a population crash, even though that crash may be displaced in time.
Another illustration of the need for equilibrium communicated through biology is the need to provide and receive nourishment in order to continue. Each organ in a biological body scheme must continuously adapt to provide nourishing value to the community of organs as it also draws nourishment from that same community. Because environments change, the need to be flexible is also important. Vestigial organs are those that fade from relevance and eventually existence because they no longer provide anything of nourishing value in the context of the body’s community of organs.
Each species of life is an organ in the larger body of life. The same principle that applies to organs in the body, applies to a species in the context of the body of life. Humanity must recognize and behave as if our place at nature’s table is provisional on our role as cultivators of nourishing value in the context of the body of life. Being aware of this role is not sufficient, nothing short of performing this role will sustain our place in the body of life.
This fact of life is stated plainly through the structure of biology.