As a Floridian, this is one of those things that’s been bugging me about our state and its politics. See, for whatever reason the powers that be have decided that “non-native” invasive species of plants and animals are “bad”. While on the surface you may agree; being that certain species can threaten the entire ecosystem and balance therein. On the one hand, yes, plants and animal species not from this biosphere can cause damages on a massive scale. The lack of predators and limiting factors allow alien species to flourish unchecked and sometimes they can just overrun everything, and if the environment doesn’t prevent growth, they can destroy that too. It’s amazing how destructive such innocuous creatures from outside an ecosystem can ruin everything.
So by now you might not be seeing a down side to the extermination and control of such things. But here’s the problem, they might not be all bad! See, invasions and rebalancing happens all the time in nature! It’s not just a part of nature, it IS nature. While equilibrium is the natural state of things, discord and chaos are also a part of this process. The constant destruction and rebirth are just cycles of the greater picture, we just have to step back and look at it objectively.
I guess the issue with us is that of reluctance to change and convenience. We don’t like change and especially don’t like things that inconvenience us. But nature is an ever present force and to quote Jurassic Park, “life WILL find a way”. It has a way of spreading and beating upon the walls of our civilization with the strength of a thousand hurricanes. While it can not be contained or controlled, it can be managed… and can be destroyed. It is a paradox; both powerful and fragile at the same time. And unfortunately, the more we humans interfere, the worse things usually end up for everything that’s not us.
Some more specific problems with Florida would be with stuff like the Brazilian Pepper, that destroys some of the natural foliage (specifically the plants that are structural to the coastline… ie… very very bad) or the anaconda and those cute little iguana lizard things as well as a number of birds (like parrots) and even monkeys. I think what we need to do here is try and draw a line in the sand with what we are willing to exterminate. Some stuff moves in and fits right in, like the monkeys and parrots, while others destroy public property (like the lizards), some just like to fight with the gators for predatory dominance (snakes), and some are just plane destructive like that pepper tree. So the question is, at what point are we willing to mass murder a species? Is it because it needs control because it causes hazards to the environment and its inhabitants? Or is it because they are pests to us humans? We’ve already seen how we humans can over hunt/exterminate a species into absolute extinction just because, well, we wanted to. There are many many creatures on the “never to return” list because of us. And we need to really take a good look at what we are doing because at the end of the day… WE are the invasive species.
That’s right, if you ever go to Florida or have ever lived there… just look around (or remember it)… Everything you see there was, at one point, the ocean floor. The native species of plants an animals were oceanic. Seaweed was our grass and fish our birds. Fastforward many years and through a series of mishaps, accidental wanderings, mass invasions, destruction, and rebirth, we find this state as a lush ecosystem of flora and fauna living in balance. Then we show up and everything goes to hell. But at least after a few decades of destruction we’ve gotten the hint and given the EPA a lot of mess to clean up. We’re getting there though. So before we start adding our little buddies to the “kill on sight” list, maybe we should take a big ol look at that big objective picture. Because the invasion, destruction, and rebirth cycles have been going on for millions of years now… and who do we think we are to stand in the way of that? Just a little food for thought. (queue up the “the more you know” jingle)