We are perhaps too ready to arrogantly bask in “alpha” status because we sit at the top of a Food Chain. But this also means that we are critically dependent upon the integrity and sustainability of that Food Chain.
A Food Chain is just a hierarchy of Biomass formation created by nutrient cycling. All Food Chains start in Water with photosynthesis, fueled by Energy from the Sun to produce Biomass from nutrients.
By “Biomass” we mean any living organism, any waste (such as fecal waste) produced by such organisms and any dead or decomposing remnants of any organism. So we are Biomass, all the food we eat is Biomass, all the fecal waste we produce is Biomass.
The first life-forms on earth were Cyanobacteria and Algae in an environment that was “primordial soup” loaded with substances such as methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide etc. Since there was no existing “food” or Biomass to provide nourishment, these first life-forms had to be “autotrophic”, or makers of their own food “from scratch” using these substances, which are toxic to us, as are the toxins produced by Cyanobacteria.
Over time, a new kind of organism evolved called Heterotrophs. Rather than synthesize their Biomass from scratch, they took a short-cut by using existing Biomass (Autrotrophs) as a nutrient source or food.
The evolution of Heterotrophs was the start of the Nutrient Cycle – whereby existing Biomass, whether living or dead, including the waste produced by living Biomass, is utilized as a nutrient source to produce new Biomass.
There is one basic but fundamentally valid and significant conclusion that we can draw; because Cyanobacteria and Man exist at two polar opposites of the spectrum of evolutionary development, if conditions exist that favor Cyanobacteria proliferation, then they will be antagonistic to Man.
So ensuring that nutrients are directed into creation of the “right” Biomass to sustain our Food Chain is critical, as is the maintenance of sufficient usable Water. If nutrients are directed into the formation of Biomass in the form of Cyanobacteria and algae, water resources are degraded and as it reverts to primordial soup, it all starts going wrong for us.
So understanding the complex interplay at the nexus between Energy, Water and Biomass is critical to sustainable Water and Food security.