Can we Lose the Term "Invasive Species"?

I’m soaking in every evolution related book I can find this year. I felt a distinct lack in my understanding of the topic, and the more I read to rectify my lack, the more I fall in love with the material and ideas. Fantastic!! While I wouldn’t recommend starting with Darwin’s “Origin of Species” I can strongly recommend Dawkins “The Greatest Show on Earth” and Dennett’s “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.” The latter is intensely dense, and a slog to read through, but ONLY because it has so much goodness packed inside. It is never a bore… just, well… dense!

But to my point, it is clear that the term “invasive species” must be removed from our language. Every species is an opportunist, and if fortunate enough to be adapted to a new environment it will become dominant. So often, however, people use the term “invasive species” to invoke some kind of preferred “natural” state that was more correct before the invaders arrived. It is protectionist whining, coming from amoeba and humans alike. Today I read that the Antarctic Ice Cap is melting, and the newly exposed land is being attacked by invasive species.

No…evolution is continuing as conditions change. So, humbly, I submit we add “invasive species” to my dung heap of English words including “common sense,” “intuition,” and “documentary”; words that do more to spin and politicize than they do to clarify. And really… aren’t humans the single biggest invasive species on the planet?


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