The lead of the Daily Mail said it all: “Scientists claim that there are fewer wild animals in neighborhoods where mostly people of color live — and their absence is affecting residents’ mental health.”
Let’s pause just there. Uh, “people of color” often live in cities, and cities often have fewer animals than, say, rural areas, where, you know, “people of color” also live.
But what’s a woke biologist to do? In the endless quest to find racism everywhere (and let’s be clear, racism exists all across the world), biologists have turned to the animal world.
A new study titled “Systemic Racism Alters Wildlife Genetic Diversity” claims to have found that neighborhood that were mandated to be segregated for minorities by the government are still suffering.
The study suggests that areas where mostly white people live have a greater animal diversity than those that are predominantly black.
“In the United States, systemic racism has had lasting effects on the structure of cities, specifically due to government-mandated redlining policies that produced racially segregated neighborhoods that persist today,” said the study.
But the second sentence acknowledges the obvious: “However, it is not known whether varying habitat structures and natural resource availability associated with racial segregation affect the demographics and evolution of urban wildlife populations.”
After thousands of words, the study concludes with this verbose passage: “If models including both covariates explain more variation than models with either covariate, this suggests that the effect of neighborhood racial composition and environmental disturbance on genetic composition are to some extent independent. If the opposite is true, it is more likely that racial composition affects genetic composition due to its correlation with environmental disturbance.”
That’s a lot of words.
Two of the researchers, University of Manitoba biologist Colin Garroway and Chloé Schmidt from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, also conclude that cities have less animal diversity.
They say that several factors — such as densely populated areas, lots of pavement, railroads, and nighttime lights — may contribute to the lower diversity of wildlife in non-white neighborhoods.
“Our results suggest that neighborhoods that are largely non-White support smaller, more fragmented, less genetically diverse wildlife populations. Notably, the effects of racial composition and habitat degradation on genetic composition were consistent across the majority of taxa regardless of urban sample locality,” the researchers wrote.
“We have shown that the well-described environmental patterns associated with historic and ongoing racial segregation in US cities have caused parallel patterns in wildlife demography detectable with genetic data. It is clear that systemic racism is altering the demography of urban wildlife populations on a national scale in ways that can shape the evolutionary processes acting on them and the probability of long-term persistence in cities.”
“These results are concerning because urban biodiversity is important for human mental and physical well-being, and disparities in access to nature build on existing health-related environmental disamenities in predominantly non-White neighborhoods.”
“Equitably distributing and increasing the amount and connectivity of natural habitat in cities can therefore benefit human well-being while simultaneously helping build resilience in urban wildlife.”
Yup, there is now a study out there that says there is more animal diversity in rural areas than there is in urban areas. You gotta’ wonder how much THAT cost to conduct?
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.