Recently there was an article published in the journal Science (widely considered one of the most prestigious science journals in the world) by two professors who I knew while I attended college in Pennsylvania (Franklin and Marshall College — Anyone ever heard of it?). I found this article particularly interesting because it explained how the beautiful Pennsylvania scenery that we assume is natural was actually created over the course of three hundred years. Saw mills and dams changed water flow patterns — those pretty streams that flow through the Southeastern PA (and nearby areas) that I grew up in aren’t natural at all.
Of course this is just another thing that we’ve done to make this country different from what it was when people first came here. We’ve also farmed the heck out of the land, built large industrial areas and, on top of that, there’s the issue of global warming (which, for the sake of this post, we’ll assume is caused by humans), increased carbon dioxide in the air, decreased top soil and forest land (mostly because of the farming), and a general increase in soil, water and air pollutants.
So, with all that said, It seems to me that we’ve done a lot of things to change the environment. With all that we’ve done why are we so upset when some plants, which we call “invasive” thrive in these settings? It’s not their fault that they do well in the conditions we’ve created. Sometimes I feel like we’ve built this great big smorgasbord of lutefisk (fish treated with lye — it’s pretty nasty) and then get angry when only people who grew up eating this type of fish come to the party.
I’m not trying to promote invasive plants — And I’ll be the first to admit that this post is oversimplifying the whole question of invasives — Still, it irks me sometimes that we aren’t more concerned about the environment where we plant our greenery rather than the plants themselves who, after all, are just feeding on the smorgasbord that we’ve created.