This week is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. According to USA Today (2/25/2015), Chris Dionigi, director of the National Invasive Species Council, commented that invasive species are "one of the leading factors in the decline of species and the loss of biodiversity." They can also damage crops, the fishing industry, and individual property, he said.
All too true. But what this statement overlooks is that Homo sapiens is the most invasive species in the 3.5 billion year history of our planet. We have migrated and established successful populations in every continent except Antarctica. Our ever-expanding population has passed the seven billion mark. As we devastate the earth, as we deplete species through over-fishing in the oceans and create dead zones with pollution, our destructive impact is well on its way to becoming comparable to the mass extinctions that have punctuated the history of our planet.
As Walt Kelly's Pogo remarked, "We have met the enemy, and it is us." In the last chapter of Blood on My Hands* I suggest some steps we might take to save the planet before it's too late. The first, of course, is to recognize that there is a problem. Let us hope the National Invasive Species Council soon perceives the true dimensions of invasive species, especially ourselves.
*The link to Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_7?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cox%20blood%20on%20my%20hands&sprefix=cox%2C+bl%2Caps%2C270