One of the great killers, leading beyond mere death into extinction, has been the fragmentation of biological communities. Our networks of communication and trade have cut through its living fabric, reducing undisturbed remnants into scattered scraps too small to maintain abundance and diversity. A death by a thousand cuts. Not as dramatic as harpooning whales or poaching elephants or clear-cutting rainforests, but this has been where the day-by-day work of death-dealing takes place, destroying our ecosystem across vast swaths of entire continents. Its signs, like another dead opossum or flattened skunk on the road, so commonplace as to pass unawares.

Enclosure is the historic term for a great push in this direction. A movement beginning in England and then spreading through Great Britain and then out across the world. Connecting habitat fragmentation to enclosure begins to make a connection between a movement intended to enslave a rural population to the ambitions of a new economic and political elite with a wider form of destruction. This was a culminating triumph of the Age of Reason. A drive to rationalize the world, to rape its bounty, to funnel it into the hands of those willing and able to overturn any previously held compunction towards the sacredness of the physical world. Those ready to put their wildest desire ahead of everything had discovered the power to finalize their conquest.

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