Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A Long, But Worthwhile Read

Last Wednesday, I posted "Protect Native Species...Or Die!," after reading about the Native Fish Conservancy's Exotic Fishing Tournament. In that post, I briefly describe my ambivalence about the "invasive" species issue. Chris Clarke, at Creek Running North, read the post and linked to the quoted essay by Timothy Burke. His response is rich with side-tracks - Clarke's brief discussion of the preservationists' "balance of nature" is pointed and fine - and will give you a lot to chew on. Clarke's conclusion regarding "invasives," if you really don't have time to read it, is:
"Not all exotic species are invasive. Origin of the species isn't the issue; behavior is. And though the language some use to describe invasive species is redolent with horrible memory, that doesn't mean we ought to fall into the trap of metaphor. People coming from other places increase diversity, while invasive species decrease it."
And he offers a tidy one-liner regarding the "balance of nature":
"Nature no more 'seeks balance' than a slinky seeks the stair tread on which it happens to stop."


Devo said...

Now THAT is an excellent synopsis of an excellent understanding of the word (and connotation of) "invasive". Versus something like "diversifying". Exploitation versus integration.

Awesome. It's good to see that subtlety of language is not dead. At times I fear the worst for our ability to effectively communicate as a species (or even as a society)... and in so doing falling into a clumsy, hamfisted way of interacting with the world. Ever read Of Mice and Men? Lenny could be seen as a metaphor for what normal human beings are capable of once robbed of that very sense of subtlety that keeps us sensitive and fully conscious of our place in the world. And our potential effect on said world.

Hungry Hyaena said...

While I haven't read Of Mice and Men, I know well what it is about. Lenny could well represent the slip into "dullardism," something I would love to tackle in a later post.