On vacation in the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, I witnessed another invasion of beautiful ecosystems. Angry for several days and feeling helpless to do anything about the Yellow Sweet Clover marching over the landscape, I told my wife, Donna that I had to do something to alert people to this takeover of these beautiful landscapes. After several nights, I thought about how over the past 60 years I have been aware of invasive species and have seen the list grow and grow and grow.
What is our place on this planet? Does our labeling of plants as negative aliens and as invaders invite more negative thoughts? What good has become of our waging war on these alien species? Shouting and preaching that this just isn’t right nor nature’s way and getting all fired up and angry at one of God’s creations just didn’t seem to fit well with me anymore. I’m tired of generating negative feelings inside of me. This thought made me start to question the overall picture of man and nature and our relationship to plants, each other and our interaction with all species of our world.
Here are some of my questions that I ponder often:
· Were any species created out of negative thoughts?
· Were any plants or animals meant to remain in one area? If so, why do they do so well when introduced into different areas?
· What is the long-term succession of these so-called invasives or alien species? I mean over thousands of years?
· Can we live with these aliens and make peace or will we always wage war on them?
· Does the attack on the “invasive species” ultimately do any good?
· Are we supposed to sit back and do nothing?
· Can we make any peace with this rapidly changing world of the intermingling of species?
· Is this really a natural event and man truly is a part of nature but thinks that he isn’t because of his ability to choose and reason?
· Is it logical to think that man isn’t a part of nature or is this just another arrogant thought that puts us as the ultimate animal separated from all nature and we stand alone still fighting and compartmentalizing all species.
· Is there a kinder, more positive and cooperative way of dealing with what we perceive as invasive species?
· Does prejudice produce more prejudice?
If we are just holographic pieces of the “Great Spirit”, then we are included in this great magnificent process that created the universe and all within it. Are we not programmed to keep creating something different?
Does any one thing deserve to be eradicated or is that part of the plan?
Are the invasives just signals to us that we need to change our ways and they are just messengers sacrificing their lives for a cause yet unknown to us?
Some of the species that I have come into contact with and waged war over the years are:
· Japanese Honey Suckle
· Multi-flora Rose
· Crown Vetch
· Yellow Sweet Clover
· Garlic Mustard
These are just a minute number of species that I have allowed to cause stress and negative energy in me. I think that now after decades of fighting, I am ready to accept that these aliens are just part of the cosmic progression to a different place on earth and the universe that is neither good nor bad.
What do you think?
Tired of struggling over this issue,
Howard Bright President Ion Exchange, Inc.