In praise of vermin
I write this essay in praise of all those critters that survive despite all mankind’s best efforts to exterminate them. I do so out of respect.
So kudos to weeds, pests and plagues! Tough enough to take us on! Here’s to dandilions, crabgrass, poison ivy, poison oak, and kudzu! Here’s to roaches and flies and fleas and mice and rats! Here’s to Asian carp, tiger mussels, raccoons and coyotes!
I think it the height of hypocrisy for us humans to complain of invasive pests. It’s no easy thing to be an invasive pest; you need some advantage. Raccoons have hands, rats have colonies. Invasiveness requires adaptability, as we well know, being invasive pests ourselves.
I praise vermin and weeds because they prove that life’s vitality exceeds ours; so a natural history beyond ours is guaranteed. I take comfort in this reflection. The raccoon’s hand proves that this planet needs hands, and if we drop the job then there will be another team to pick it up.
I have a modest proposal; that we find some rapidly-warming steep-sided Arctic island; that we stock it with all of the weeds and pests mentioned above. Then stand back, and watch the ecology of the future evolve.
I’m sure that experiment is already in process!