Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Most Invasive Species on Earth

Today I read a wonderful blog by Meredith O'Reilly about invasive plants being aggressively sold in garden stores while volunteers break their backs digging them out!

Here's the final paragraph:
   "A side note: I met a woman once who told me that she wraps netting around her Yaupons and other native berrying plants in order to keep the birds from eating up the berries. She complained that the birds were eating the berries so fast that she couldn’t enjoy how pretty the berries looked in the fall. Personally, I find the sight of birds eating berries to be incredibly beautiful and entertaining – in fact, I garden for that purpose — but this woman was willing to cover her pretty shrubs with ugly netting in order to deny a native food to wildlife. I’m truly at a loss of words to explain that one."

I had one of my many OMG moments! How hateful of nature and the earth can humans get? We've all watched the videos of humans torturing animals in the name of feeding all of us, or killing the dolphins, poisoning all the pollinators, spilling the oil into animal breeding grounds so we all can drive our cars cheaply. The summer of 2010 wasn't pretty.  But when it extends to a one to one relationship like this, I find myself baffled.

So I looked up the definition of "Invasive Species" and what do you think I saw? Judge for yourself. Here is the definition of invasive species from a couple sources.


""Invasive species" means an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health."


"An "invasive species" is defined as a species that is

1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and
2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. (Executive Order 13112)."

Anyone else noticing a pattern here? Humans are and always have been very human-centric but this was a surprise to me. I have always thought of invasives as primarily bad for the native wildlife. As Ms. O'Reilly mentions in her blog, non-natives out compete natives and usually have less nutrition for the native wildlife, leaving the animals and insects without enough food and shelter.  But as far as the officials are concerned, it's about human health and harm. Here we really have circular logic, since it doesn't seem most of our officials have figured out that what's good for wildlife IS conducive to human health and welfare!

In the meantime humans continue to over populate the planet. Digging into eco-systems they shouldn't even be in, such as the latest Russian exploration into an under-ice lake in the South Pole.

NPR Article 2/3/2011 

We humans spread disease, pollute, dump garbage, kill and destroy everything including our own children and fellow beings. We slice off the mountain tops, flood valleys large enough to shake the earth, and even throw debris up into space! Then we're surprise that gentle nature seems to turn against us!

There is only one answer from nature's point of view, lower the number of humans. From my point of view, as a human, I'd like to see us use our brains to wake up and change our ways. We might make some progress in the United States, but I don't know what we can do about dense populations like China.

China's Three Gorges Dam: An Environmental Catastrophe?
  Nope, there's no doubt in my mind about it; humans ARE indeed the most invasive species on the earth.

Photo Credit: Edward Burtynsky

No comments: