Studying ecology is very important, because a simple change in the environment can have a profound effect on all living things; the destruction of one species can mean the death of many others. We cannot continue to harm our environment due to a poor understanding of ecology. So the more we know, the better. For example, humans continue to destroy wildlife habitats in order to build cities; we introduce contaminants such as pesticides and industrial wastes into the environment; and we deplete nonrenewable natural resources such as fossil fuels. These behaviors, if unchanged, could someday render the Earth uninhabitable. Thankfully, there is a movement to better understand ecology and take necessary steps to reduce pollution and end other destructive human activities.
One need only look at examples of ecological catastrophes to understand the need to study the subject as much as possible. The fight against mosquitoes is a good example. Shortly after World War II, a program was initiated by the World Health Organization to control malaria-spreading mosquitoes in Borneo with the chemical DDT. The method drastically decreased the mosquito population, just as advertised. However, the DDT caused unwanted side effects. Rooftops in the area where it was used began to collapse. As it turns out, the DDT also was killing off a type of wasp that kept roof-eating caterpillars under control. Goodbye wasps, hello caterpillars. And goodbye roofs.
People also sprayed DDT inside their homes to kill flies, which caused geckos that normally kept houseflies in check to die after eating DDT-laden houseflies. House cats, too, were poisoned and died after eating the dead geckos, and eventually rats began raiding homes for food. Over time, without cats to control the rats, they multiplied and were ultimately carriers of disease.
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