In permaculture courses there is often an exercise entitled the web of life where each participant represents a different part of an ecosystem and a ball of string is thrown around the circle between different elements in that ecosystem representing the connections between each pair of elements. Inevitably each element has connections with several others. The course facilitator with everyone pulling on the strings then goes around cutting a few connections, taking out elements of that ecosystem and, always some are surprised to see how little needs to be taken out in order for the whole thing to fall apart.
I was reminded of this today when a friend expressed her concern about the Brazilian rain forest following the recent elections there. If only one or two species go, inevitably many more are threatened and will go over a longer period of time.
As an aromatherapist, this is important to me, as some of the species I use are under threat. Sandalwood is one example and Rosewood another. Both are available from sustainable sources which actually increase their numbers but in the wild both are threatened along with the insects etc. that depend on them.
The same web of dependency, also occurs in human society. We all depend on others for things as diverse as fixing cars, distilling essential oils, producing electricity or the means to do so and of course increasingly few of us are producing much if any of our own food. Those of us who do often see this interdependence in action. Chickens or other animals often provide manure for soil fertility, even mowing the lawn becomes part of the cycle providing nitrogen and even heat as it rots down.
Sometimes when I am preparing for doing a massage or clearing up afterwards, I like to take a few moments and just be thankful for the complexity of the relationships between all the elements of the ecosystem that we are part of.