Life, the environment and our ecosystem.
Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QR, UK.
This article is dedicated to Ed Stiefel who not only contributed with distinction to the development of biological inorganic chemistry with a special interest in molybdenum and its chemistry but had begun the long task of increasing our awareness of the difficulties mankind faces arising from damage to the environment. Here, I take up this theme in an effort to illustrate the nature of today's problems by putting them in the perspective of the whole of evolution of our ecosystem. The central theme is that evolution of organisms has always had to come to terms with the systematic development of the environment. In the past, environmental changes have been slow so that adaptation through genetic adjustment has had time to follow. In the last two hundred years change has become fast and the adaptive process rests not with genes but with mankind's physical-chemical control.
PMID: 17709144 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]