Veganism, as it was originally intended to be, is dead.
Maybe it never existed in the first place.

Post-veganism is a reflection about what it means to be a vegan,
now that the word has completely lost its meaning in the dominant culture.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do We Need to Kill Invasive Species?

We are told one story about invasive species. It often goes like this: invasive species are controlled by predators in one area - but when they move into a new area they out compete native species because they no longer have any natural predators. Is this the only story; or is it just the most dominant one?

The number one fear about invasive species seems to be that the native species will die. In extreme cases they may even go extinct. That definitely seems like a real fear - but is it logical? I'd argue that it's not. Scientists estimate that of all species that have ever lived, 99% of them are extinct. Extinction is actually a part of the natural process. Everyone can't live forever.

Extinction is so integral to natural processes that it actually drives evolution. Many of us act as if humans have reached some apex of perfection and that evolution is over. It's not. By interfering with native species and invasive species we are allowing native species to keep breeding and remain the same. We are not allowing them to evolve or have certain members with unique genetic mutations become better suited to an environment with new competition. In fact, we're letting our emotions get the best of us. We are picking certain species to preserve based on irrelevant traits; traits like attractiveness, exoticness and so forth decide who will die and who will live. Even traits like 'was here first' make us feel more apt to helping native species and actually killing invasive species.

Some people say that invasive species are not natural because of the speed that they can out compete native species with. The problem is that this ecological thought is in complete isolation of history. There have been five major extinction events on our planet. Some scientists believe we are currently in the sixth. This is nothing new, in fact it is normal.

Invasive species are more complex than I elude to. While I cannot cover all of the scientific jargon that would be proof that we need to change our attitudes towards invasive species, I can suggest that we need to imagine new ways to look at them. By killing some animals to preserve others we are interfering in a system that has gone on for millennium without our help. It's okay to not have all the answers, especially when the 'we can fix anything attitude' becomes an answer for a problem we don't completely understand.

1 comment:

  1. Very strange logic. As you know the sixth great extinction is driven by human activity and is not "natural" in that sense. I live in New Zealand and have my BAS in biodiversity management. If we did not control our invasive species we would not only lose (more) native animal species we would lose much more of our native flora as well. Are you suggesting we simply allow endanger species (flora and fauna) to go extinct?

    We have already interfered (that's how it started) and are now trying (when we can) to fix some of the damage that our past interference has caused - often very successfully.

    Your logic seems very dry and theory based. Have you ever done field work and seen the damage caused by invasive species?

    I agree that very often we over step our mark and should allow natural process to take place. I do not agree however that we should not try to stop human induced extinctions when we can. If we allow non-native species to invade naive habitats we not only put other species at risk we also put our selfs, our economy and organic agriculture at risk.