Did we (man) ever take into consideration how our own actions would affect our community before proceeding with a project or deed?  We seem to be quick to take on a ‘killing’ mentality when we are met with a perceived threat.  I see one of the biggest threats to our own selves is our own “stinking thinking”.   “Get it before it gets me.”  Without the global view that each and every species has a place and function in our world we are on the road to upset the balance of the collective whole.

We have weeds, which when contact is made on the human skin in sunlight, can cause blistering.  So instead of education we undertake spraying programs with chemicals to eliminate this offending plant, the spraying of which can cause a multitude of ills to our habitats and various life forms.

People in the neighbourhood spot some coyotes (at least what appears to be) in a residential area and the discussion turns to the potential of harm to our children or pets so our thoughts go to getting them before they get us.  Talks ensue about bounties and setting traps to insure a perceived possible threat will never materialize.

So let’s talk about bounties for a moment particularly with reference to the coyote.  We know that coyotes are very wary of man and will usually keep their distance.  Fear prompts a neighbourhood to set traps for the coyote which is usually done by baiting a trap with food.  An action that is totally counterintuitive to keeping the animals at bay.  To live in coexistence with this species means not giving them access to a food, not inviting them to dinner.  That’s why we have particular protocols to follow when disposing of dead animals from a farm operation.

Then there is the Southeast Alaska sea otter bounty.  From what I have read the idea for introducing this bounty is to decrease the population of an animal which competes for some of the same food that man does.  In other words the decrease of the ocean’s bounty available for harvest is being blamed on the sea otters.  It is worth noting that corporations and people dependant on gathering fish may prefer to put blame someplace else than perhaps their own voracious wasteful fishing practices.

It is quite disturbing to be a part of a species that is capable of amazing brilliance and yet act with such thoughtlessness.  It seems to me that we are one part of the whole and if we do not start having more courtesy, respect and forethought about what we do and how it affects our land, water, air and the many life forms who travel this earth with us…we will… SELF-destruct.

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1 Comment

  1. Jacqueline brings up a great point by asking what her part in the scheme of things is. Indeed, it is important to take into consideration how our own actions affect our community. Our community being the planet we live on, our neighborhood, our country, continent, etc.

    Any organism on our planet will strive, with varying degrees of success, to overcome all other competing organisms. Competition is and always has been part of our planet. It is because of competition that many species have become extinct and others thrive. For example, in the early to mid 1800s humans developed new agricultural techniques, and as a result human populations have since grown tremendously. Our thriving population has offset many other species in terms of loss of habitat and use of other competing resources (such as fish that other species would otherwise eat).

    Is spraying for weeds a horrible thing to do? Is setting bounties on coyotes or sea otters the best option? If we fail to manage any species, than we are in effect allowing something else to manage the species. If spraying for a weed harms habitats that are more important to humans, then sure, maybe we should live with some irritants. I’m not saying that all populations need to be controlled, nor should they just be left alone.

    Certaintly we do need to have respect for our planet if we are to be good stewards. In terms of population controls for species that compete with us, be they through spraying or bounties, doing nothing is just as bad as going all out to destroy the competition. If we do not carefully manage our resources and act as good stewards, then we will indeed self-destruct. Maybe the question we need to ask ourselves is which species do we want to allow dominion over our community. It is easy enough to say that one species or another should have preference in somebody else’s community, but honestly, what do you think should happen in your community? I’m not ready to mandate what species needs to come out on top in yours.

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