Officer Welcoming Burmese Python to Florida
Discussion boards of group battling invasive species have lit up recently. The reaction is to Hugh Raffles’ editorial in the New York Times, April 3, 2011 called Mother Nature’s Melting Pot. Mr. Raffles analogizes anti-immigrant sentiment sweeping the country to views of groups seeking to control non-native plant and animal species. According to Raffles, both have anti-alien beliefs. As Mr. Raffles says “Just ask our non-native animals and plants: they too are commonly labeled as aliens, even though they also provide significant benefits to their new home.”
You hit me where it hurts, Mr. Raffles! I believe in an open, welcoming society. Why not extend that welcome to all plants and animals?
But first don’t we need to dialogue a little to improve understanding? Let’s open one among plants and animals: bring the ash borer and the ash tree to the table. Why the animosity? Or maybe there isn’t. Of course, it’s just my anti ash borer bias kicking in!
To overcome my biases, therefore, I would propose exchange programs, starting with burrowing insects from around the world. (I admit being suspicious of some of them after all.) I am sure we can find many native trees in this country who would gladly serve as hosts. We’ll recruit redwoods, white pines, cedars and other native trees. I am sure they would be willing to provide room and board. We’ll even offer a stipend for food and lodging. Those critters are small, but they’ll eat you out of house and home!