OT - Invasive Snakes

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Mon, 10 Jan 2011 10:23:55 PST
These discussions about invasive species perplex me. 


If the basic assumption is that invasive species must be eliminated, then
that has some unfortunate consequences. Let's do a reductio ad absurdum
here: since the resources to eliminate all invasive species are not likely
to exist (we won't bother to kill pythons in Alaska), let's agree to confine
our elimination efforts to only the most invasive species and the ones which
have had the greatest adverse effects on indigenous plants and animals. 


OK, so we look around and try to determine which species that is. Hmmm.let's
see, would that be starlings? Pigeons? Kudzu? Oops, .it's pretty obvious
that the species which has worked hardest to attain that distinction is Homo
sapiens, a species not native to the Americas. And of the invasive
tendencies of this species, among the most disruptive have been those which
result from agricultural activity (billions of acres bereft of their
biological patrimony and the substitution of  several non-native plant and
animal species),  road building (which has produced a slaughterhouse for
those native animals which survive the road building itself), and the
recycling of stage one destructive activities like farming into stage two
destructive activities such as housing developments..well, the list could go
on and on. 


Obviously the ethical thing to do is to eliminate ourselves from the New
World and allow North, Central and South America to return to the paradises
they presumably were before "we" got here and wrecked it. 


But that's no fun, and since so many of our cultural myths promote us into
the role of God's representatives here on earth, we'll exempt ourselves in
deference to the wishes of the Deity and get on with trying to maintain a
Disneyland-like similitude of the American Ur-landscape. Hmm.too bad about
the megafauna, passenger pigeons, Carolina parakeet and those others. We'll
have to do some virtual versions to fill the void. And what's more
important, the ivory billed woodpecker's need for vast lowland forest tracts
or our need for toilet paper and newsprint? Come on, it's a no brainer. And
as for that old farm field you're going to restore as a "natural" landscape,
old timers seem to be divided over whether it was originally a bog or an
upland hardwood forest. Let's make it a prairie instead, and add a few
patriotic buffalo to keep the crowds happy. 


And soon we'll be 9 billion strong. We must be right because there are so
many of us. 


If Malthus could see what's happening now, I wonder if he would be glad that
he lived and died in the world as he knew it. He predicted our date with
destiny, and we seem to be doing everything in our power to test his
hypothesis and bring it on. .  


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