It has been my provilage and pleasure throughout this book to demonstrate how the signs of evolutionary change are plain to see no matter where we look on our planet. Although I have taken you to some exotic places, the influence of evolution can be discovered everywhere. We do not have to travel to the ends of the Earth – even when we stay at home we can be Darwinian tourists. Each field, mountain, reef, and canyon reveals parts of the Earth’s long past. The consequences of evolution are all around us and affect our daily lives.
Only through such an evolutionary perspective can we understand the true history of the world and of our species, and how our actions will affect the future of the planet. This understanding is of tremendous importance, because everywhere in the world that our species has gone we have changed the environment and reduced the world’s ecological and genetic variation, closing off our options for the future.
At the same time, our own activites have produced evolutionary changes in our own species that we are only on the verge of comprehending. We must understand the changes that we have brought about in ourselves and in the entire living world if we are to meet the immense challenges of human population growth and environmental degradation in the years and centuries to come. We must see the world through evolutionary eyes. If we let ignorance and the denial of evolution prevail, we are in danger of destroying the living fabric of the world that we treasure and that sustains us.
- Christopher Wills, The Darwinian Tourist: Viewing the World Through Evolutionary Eyes (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), p. 320