Parasites tend to rely on only one other organism for their support, and spend their lives in close proximity to that organism. Since humans and other animals related to humans rely on a wide variety of other organisms for support, one could say that they have a large number of symbiotic relationships with other animals. Some organisms, especially domesticated animals and plants, have come to rely on humans for support. If humans did not tend and feed domesticated animals such as chickens, they would probably all be eaten by raccoons and go extinct because many of their natural survival mechanisms have been bred away in favor of qualities that make them live more harmoniously with humans.
No. The conception of humans as parasites derives from an analogy that equates a parasite’s relationship with its host to man’s relationship with Earth. By definition, a parasite is a living organism that depends on another organism (the host) at the host’s expense. Many people perceive humans as parasites that depend on the Earth at the Earth’s expense. While this may be considered in many ways an accurate view of the human-Earth relationship, it is not technically true, since the Earth is not a living organism. By nature, humans do not have a parasitic relationship with other organisms. Rather, the roles that humans naturally fulfill in relation to other organisms are those of predator (when we eat other organisms); prey (when we are killed and eaten by larger organisms); competitor (when we compete with others for a resource); host (when a parasite lives off of us); and carion (when our decomposing remains are eaten by scavengers).
No, I think that industrial economies are parasitic to ecosystems on earth. Industrial economies destroy ecosystems in the process of excavating raw materials such as coal, oil, and iron ore. They involve high levels of energy use, pollution, and toxic waste as a byproduct of the manufacturing process. This is essentially unavoidable at the current time. Industrial economies are in no way capable of giving back to the natural ecosystem that they draw from. In this way they are parasitic. Humans are not by nature parasitic. Their relationship to the environment depends on the means of subsistence practiced by their culture.
I do not think it would be right to call humans as a whole parasitic, as we do not necessarily rely on another organism for survival. Humans have surpassed all other forms of life on this planet in terms of cognitive thought and ingenuity, and are able to craft ways of making other things serve them rather than the other way around. It is true that humans depend on certain resources for survival (food, water, shelter, etc.), but that does not mean parasitic. I concur with one of the aforementioned posts about humans in some ways forming symbiotic relationships with things on this Earth for mutual benefit, such as farming and keeping livestock. We the humans care for said plants and animals by providing sustenance to them until the time to harvest their resources come, and then humans reap the benefits of their labor to care for their crops and animals. In agriculture and ranching, however, humans are typically careful to only harvest enough to consume, but leave some to begin the cycle anew.
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