I admit that I am ambivalent about alien invaders.
Many folks are very passionate about the alien invaders and we have some pretty aggressive ones like kudzu. Too bad Americans seldom eat it because 320 million people noshing on kudzu would definitely keep it in check. Fire ants are not a favorite on my list of invaders, but they are here and moving north. YouTube has a video of a guy pouring molten aluminum down fire ant mounds to create amazing sculptures. Interesting but not effective.
The problem is that without alien invaders our ability to adapt and survive is compromised. Gaia is a prolific old gal and spawns babies of all kinds in every direction. All her babies are invaders, humans most of all.
Archaea were here first but they are anaerobic. When plants showed up, they produced so much poison that nearly all Archaea went extinct. The poison was oxygen and the Archaea that survived live inside us and deep in the ground. They were once the only life on this planet.
Imagine how Archaea have survived five planet wide extinctions and hopefully survive this sixth extinction. On this, their own home, where the atmosphere has become so toxic to them that it means instant death. Not long drawn out cancer death, but right now death. I’m thinking Archaea would really like to see those green plants go extinct so they can have their planet back. Alien invaders at their worst!
Endless waves of alien invaders have increased the number of species that live on our planet. The species that are most at risk of extinction are those who occupy a very small niche and are too specialized to adapt to other circumstances. Breaking the circular economies causes extinction of even more widely adapted species. Alien invaders are pretty good survivors during massive change but they also fall to extinction because all of Gaia’s children need functions supplied by other members of their circle.
Humans are generalists and will eat anything, it is why we can live in such diverse places… never mind planetwide shipping for a moment because shipping is not a stable way to source food.
Diversity of species makes our circular economy stronger. Each of us fills a niche and each of us responds to others in our circle. Most functions are filled by more than one species because they are critical. If any function is lost, the circle has mass die off because we are complex and locked together.
Mass die off called the Sixth Extinction is happening right now. A planetwide extinction means that so many circular economies are weak that most of them fall at the same time.
What are the functions in a circular economy? Water, healthy soil, diverse plant life, and diverse animal population are some of the factors we see. The microbial level that supports it all fascinated me in school and I researched the plant-soil interface. Feeding the soil microbes is the fastest way to healthy plants and pesticides and fertilizers both damage the soil biota. Think compost.
So when I recognize that a function is poorly supported in my circular economy, I try to add support in that area. If I can find the original players I will bring them back in. If not I look for a close neighbor and hope they will naturalize and fulfill that function for my circle.
Humans do not know enough to manage our life support systems. Luckily we are not in charge of these systems, they are complex beyond our comprehension.
No knowledge is required to destroy our life support systems that are comprised of endless circular economies and that interlock with their neighbors. Intuitively we know destruction and we don’t need endless scientific studies on the effects of xyz. The effects are blatant in most cases. Most studies are requested (and voluntarily paid for) by those who are destroying something! It is a common delay tactic designed to allow the maximizing of profit before moving on. You cannot stop me until there is a study proving I am destroying this! Deceptive but effective.
I love scientific study. Study is just so interesting and it appeals to that little girl in me that loves observing the natural world. It can be misused.
I give an assist where I can without causing harm. We can strengthen the systems around us without total knowledge. If we make a few mistakes, kudzu happens. Since we don’t know what we are doing, sticking with local plants or close neighbors is likely to have the best outcome for the stability of our own circle.
I support working with native plants because success is easier for beginners like us. Native plants are already built into your own [unbroken] circular economy and they already fulfill a function whether you see it or not. Adding a native where missing helps close the circle.
Alien Invaders? They may be the very thing that saves us… or replaces us in our circle.