Monday, April 4, 2011

I Apparently Hate Mexicans?

On April 2ed the New York Times released an article titled Mother Nature’s Melting Pot.

For whatever reason Hugh Raffles, the articles author, has taken the opinions of conservationists and spun them so they are in support of the governor of Arizona's No Mexicans agenda. There's so much wrong here and I wonder why it's even brought up as it's not even the focus of the article. Humans are all one species so his analogy doesn't make sense.  

I've been a native plant gardener and conservationist for a number of years now and I have yet to meet anyone who is 100% against nonnative anything. The genuine consensus is "We hate invasive species!" Not "we must only use species that are native to within 10 miles of our home." 

It’s true that some non-native species have brought with them expensive and well-publicized problems; zebra mussels, nutria and kudzu are prime examples. But even these notorious villains have ecological or economic benefits. Zebra mussels, for example, significantly improve water quality, which increases populations of small fish, invertebrates and seaweeds — and that, in turn, has helped expand the number of larger fish and birds.
Well who cares about more fish and birds? Our native mussels filter water as good as the best of them. And they're not growing prolifically in city plumbing system causing millions in repairs each year. I don't see anyone making Nutria skin coats anymore. Kudzu beneficial!? This man is an idiot! That fucking plant turns forests into topiary graveyards! I don't care how many sheep it feeds. The dam livestock isn't eating enough of it! We need to import Giraffes to get it off our trees and power lines!

Indeed, non-native plants and animals have transformed the American landscape in unmistakably positive ways. Honeybees were introduced from Europe in the 1600s, and new stocks from elsewhere in the world have landed at least eight times since. They succeeded in making themselves indispensable, economically and symbolically. In the process, they made us grateful that they arrived, stayed and found their place.
But the honeybee is a lucky exception. Today, a species’s immigration status often makes it a target for eradication, no matter its effect on the environment. Eucalyptus trees, charged with everything from suffocating birds with their resin to elevating fire risk with their peeling bark, are the targets of large-scale felling.
Honeybees are pollinating the fucking Kudzu!
Yet eucalyptuses are not only majestic trees popular with picnickers, they are one of the few sources of nectar available to northern Californian bees in winter and a vital destination for migrating monarch butterflies.
Monarchs on Eucalyptus trees!? How many Eucalyptus trees does California have? What about our native Asters, Goldenrod, Iron Weed, and late flowering Eupatoriums (boneset and joe pye weed)? What about what's native to California!? Yah know; the stuff that was growing there before humans ever arrived. How on earth did the Monarch butterfly ever take care of itself before the Eucalyptus tree was imported? Maybe if they didn't have to compete with the Honey Bee for nectar it wouldn't be a problem.

Or take ice plant, a much-vilified Old World succulent that spreads its thick, candy-colored carpet along the California coast. Concerned that it is crowding out native wildflowers, legions of environmental volunteers rip it from the sandy soil and pile it in slowly moldering heaps along the cliffs.
Yet ice plant, introduced to the West Coast at the beginning of the 20th century to stabilize railroad tracks, is an attractive plant that can also deter erosion of the sandstone bluffs on which it grows.
A creeping succulent to stabilize rail roads, what is this man smoking? How the hell does that work? Here in New Jersey we use rocks along our road sides and they seem to work great!

The rest of the article is crap. He's talking about nonnatives making habitat ... thanks to climate change killing off what used to be there. And how climate change has opened the range to some natives that have become pests. He makes a point or two about some natives no longer being suited to their environment but this is all due to climate change.

I don't understand the over all point of this article. Should we stop conservation efforts? Lower our standards on importation perhaps? Hell let's just legalize pot and opium while we're at it.

On and that picture they used for the article sucks. It's clearly a 6th grader's interpretation of Dr. Seuss and it only makes the article that much more confusing to read. Fuck him.