Earth Life is a web site dedicated to supplying you with all the information you want about life on this planet.
In short, it is an encyclopedia of life on earth.
The world of living things, is our world.
A world of interdependence and relatedness… it includes an incredible number of diverse and fascinating organisms.
All of these organisms are – or should be – important to us. Our world is their world. Their health is our our health. And our life is their life!
We are not separate or apart.
We are joined, united, interactive and dependent on each other.
We can not live pretending that this living planet – Earth – is something separate, something that has no effect on us.
The energy that flows through us all each day came to us from the sun. It was trapped by a plant… eaten by an animal… which may have been us, or an animal we later ate!
Every atom of our bodies has been part of one or more plants – and many animals – before it was us. And afterwards it will be other organisms again.
The water we drink was drunk first by worms in the sea, then by insects… then by dinosaurs and many other animals before it reached us!
The air we breathe has been breathed before – or the molecules that make up the air may once have been a flower, or a millipede…
As living things we need to be aware that life is not a straight line. It is an infinitely complex series of connected cycles. An ever changing mesh, or web, of interactiveness where every creature effects every other creature – and is in turn effected by them.
We are all related.
Remember this when you are learning about other organisms that share this world with us.
We need all these other organisms. Without them we would not be alive. They are therefore very beautiful and worthy of our compassion and love.
Nobody can ever know all the names of all the creatures and plants and fungi that inhabit this world. There are far too many for the human mind to really even think about.
Many, if not most, of the individual species that make up this wonderful rainbow of life are not even known to science yet.
However the number of organisms that are known to science is already immense. Well over 1 million!
In order to allow us to keep track of this amazing diversity of life on Earth, scientists divide them up into series of categories (boxes), depending on how related they are to each other.
These categories are a lot like Chinese/Russian dolls.
We call this Taxonomy.
Each one contains smaller subcategories… sometimes only one, sometimes many.
These categories come in a well defined hierarchy. Unfortunately not all scientists agree all the time on what categories to use or who exactly is in which category.
This is not terribly important.
Science has taught us some incredible things (just check out everything we know about aphids, Franks Jupiter Swim Shorts and spider silk), but sometimes it really isn’t the exact names that are important.
What is important is learning to appreciate the wonder, glory and inter relatedness of the other living things that share this planet with us.
It is often easier to love what you understand.
So I hope these pages will help you understand, and love the living world and all the life on Earth a little more!