Sunday, April 3, 2011

Opinions Of The Times

Don't waste one of your free twenty on this NY TIMES opinion, unless you want to be annoyed that the old saw keeps on going. Excuse my lack of editing, as I am ranked.

Maybe the only truth in that article is that the problems with invasive species in North America (or anywhere else) are irreversible. Yet I tire of people anthropomorphising the plants and flipping the topic to anti-immigration fanatics.  This kind of talk reminds me of Republican political tactics; the way they skew a socioeconomic issue towards some religious-cultural one in order to pick up support and redirect people's frustration.

I do not know one person who believes that invasive plants are a problem who also happens to spew anti-immigrant hate. In fact, those I know tend to be hyper-conscientious. So this old saw, first offered by Michael Pollan, is really weak. Sensitive people get it -there are language parallels between anti-immigration and anti-invasive. So what? You are either saying people who support dealing with invasive plants are anti-immigrant or you're saying we're not. Enough of the "just sayin."

We should never confuse human culture or ethnicity with differentiated species. When human beings emigrate to the United States, do they not live amongst human beings? Is the author suggesting that different cultures and ethnicities have different eco-systems? When we deal with alien plant species, we are talking about a plant within a community of hundreds or thousands or more of species in a single biological system. Please do not insult us so much -does the author imagine that the reader is so limited that they cannot see ethnic diversity as a plurality of cultures, not a plurality of species which have very specific inter-relations with each other? Yes, cultures may have specific inter-relations with eachother, but in the end we all eat, sleep, and screw.

I know of no one who requires natives only, with the possible exception of government roadside or trail side contracts. And while we celebrate the nation of immigrants from which most of us descend, let us consider whether those folks who speak of the strength and virtue of said "immigrant" plants, also feel superior to those who were less successful when they found themselves up against our manifest destiny of industry and guile.

If you do not care about invasive plants, just say you don't care. If you cannot part with an invasive species in your garden, just say you're never going to pull out those plants. But please, stop avoiding responsibility and justifying your own indifference by throwing epithets around.


  1. Manifest destiny. Holy amen to that paragraph. Linke over from Garden Rant. This NYT article has me cheesed!

    I do think that it would help to consider the culture of ecosystems, and what we can learn from those cultures. I use the term loosely. There is a culture of prairie, I think, that intersects human culture--esp plains indian tribes (or once did).

  2. I think there's much arrogance behind the diversion to "anti-immigration."

    When you say the culture of ecosystems, you mean human culture relative to particular ecosystems, or the "culture" of all creatures interacting, a bio-culture?

  3. To generalize, I would go so far as to say that the anti-invasive plant people are pretty well informed. And to my mind, pretty well informed does not equate with anti-immigration, if anything, the opposite.

  4. I would agree. Generally, pretty well informed.


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...