Selected Articles from our
The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Winter 2007 Issue
The Impetus For The “Back To Natives” Movement Has
Gotten Out Of Hand
By E. L. Eidolon
In England, according
to “Illustrated Gardens,” vacationing families are returning from
holidays to find huge plants, such as rhododendrons, dug up and carted
off, with a note in its place, explaining “This is non native and must
In the U.S. activities are less drastic but “armies of volunteers”
show up to “remove” some of our favorite trees, shrubs and some of our
favorite birds. Who gives them this right?
A hierarchy of birds, created
by the agencies and bird organizations, such as Audubon and AOU, decides
which birds are good and which, bad. The “hot birds” are raptors, like
owls, hawks, falcons, who eat the young of other birds. This is counter
to the effort to save the song birds and shore birds, on which millions
of dollars have been spent in just the past few years. Are we saving
them to be a raptor’s lunch? This man-made hierarchy is not based on
good, or on science. Such decision making is unsettling.
example is the attack on mute swans. Fossils of the ancestors of this
bird have been found in four states and more recent specimens from the
pre-colonization of Canada, have been found. Scientists from major
museums have come together and have admitted this. Dr. Robert Alison,
who works for both USF&W and the Canadian Wildlife Service, has formed
[email protected] asking for e-mail of support.
While we all go to
work, live our lives, major environmental decisions are made. What are
they based on? Grants? Perpetuation of major programs? There are serious
problems out there. Loss of birds, trees, and most recently fish, even
to the point of extinction, is very possible. The “science” used to
respond to or solve major problems will not put the blame where it truly
belongs, and so a non-native “hit list” is devised and the blame is
placed on non-native species. In Alan Burdick’s book, “Out of Eden,” he
says that scientists have traded real science for hysteria, and suggests
that there is a lapse of ethics in certain decisions. This is something
S. Dillon Ripley, who headed Smithsonian, suggested years ago.
the invaders. We are the non-natives. We are the destroyers and users
driving species to the point of extinction. Something other than
“removal programs” must be used to we not merely live with, but nurture
the environment around us. Targeting non-harmful flora or fauna for
removal based on “junk science” and whim cheats us as human beings.
the zebra mussel, which did a great job of cleaning up one of the
terribly polluted Great Lakes, has a place in nature and should be
nurtured and used for this purpose, not made extinct. Good science is
possible. Good science can bring in the grants. Good science can assure
a better solution for all living things and in this, we do hold
dominion, as benefactors.
E.L. Eidolon is a published author
and former consumer magazine editor/publisher, who regularly writes
material on the environment for newspapers, nationwide.