Interview with Geoffrey Bowker

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Video transcript: "There's something of a saying in my field that geodiversity begets biodiversity, that you need to have a diverse geological setting, in order to create the set of niches that you need for various lifeforms to specialize. So, again, it's not thinking about Earth as the background and life here, it's about the diversity, geological diversity is as important, as central to our being as biodiversity is. We can think of a couple of examples of the ways in which that's changing over the last couple of centuries for the worst and I'll finish on one way in which it's changing somewhat for the better. Changing for the worst - we like concrete everywhere, we move sand everywhere, we flatten the landscape, so that the sources of biodiversity go away. One popular form of fishing, one of the worst forms of fishing is dredging what are called seamounts. And seamounts are these mountains that exist under the sea and boats have been coming along them dredging the side of them. As they dredge the side of them, they strip the life off them and they flatten them into just these kind of useless hunks of rock which are sitting there under the sea now. So you're taking something which was living and beautiful and part of the genuine bio-geodiversity of the Earth,and you're turning it into something which is just flat and standardized.

Now, there are some strange results of this. In Paris, a few years ago, it was found, for example, that archaea bacteria, the original bacteria, were doing very well on some city streets in Paris. And the reason for that is - lots of guys in Paris, in those years, they're much cleaner and more standardized now, would piss on the side of the walls. As they pissed on the side of the walls, they were creating an acid background, this little geodiverse niche within buildings, which was actually allowing for those kinds of bacteria to flourish. So, that's a somewhat perverse example, but generically, what I'm trying to get across here, is that we need to deal with geodiversity just as much as we deal with biodiversity."

Other interviews with Geoffrey Bowker

Related tags: Biodiversity Loss, Systems, Climate Change, Story, Theory, Interdependence,