Should not people and civilizations have the same fear of invasion from those different from themselves? Does not the category of “invasive species” apply to people as well?
For example, why would non-Muslims welcome an influx of Muslims or why would non-black civilizations welcome an influx of blacks? Why would a Muslim country such as Saudi Arabia welcome an influx of non-Muslims? Why would Japan welcome an influx of non-Japanese? Why would Israel want an influx of non-Jews? Such influxes would create social tension and destroy social trust.
When you let in a non-native species, you might not know the devastation the invader will wreck upon your civilization.
It used to be that Los Angeles was filled with beautiful white people. Now they’re a distinct minority. I grew up in white Australia and when I walk down the street these days in brown Los Angeles, and at times and in particular moods I feel uncomfortable because most of the people are so different from me, so brown, and they’re speaking different languages and they don’t have the same allegiances and customs that I have, and I remember that this city, this nation, this West, used to be white and now it is getting browner and stranger by the day, and this makes me, at times, annoyed.
I am a convert to Orthodox Judaism. The more immersed I become in Orthodox Judaism, the more strange the world looks outside of it. The more identify with my group, the more I have fears and concerns about outsiders. That’s the way group identity works. The stronger your group identity, the more likely you are to have negative feelings about outsiders.
A small ant from East Asia is keeping Israeli environmental groups awake at night. The ant, whose official name is the yellow crazy ant, has in recent years caused heavy damage to ecological systems and has wreaked havoc with crops in various part of the world, with local experts fearing it could reach Israel.
In a new report, written by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel in conjunction with the Nature and Parks Authority, the SPNI warns that the ant is one of eight invasive species of flora and fauna that could reach the area, and suggests preparing as soon as possible to prevent their entry.
The report, entitled “The Path to National Ecological Security,” will be presented this month to the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, which will have a special session on coping with invasive species. These are species that succeed in stowing away in cargo or luggage on planes and ships and reaching new areas where they have no natural enemies. They thus reproduce rapidly, often causing environmental damage and sometimes even threatening public health.
The species mentioned are liable to spread rapidly in Israel, whose climate is hospitable to their reproduction and trade ties with those countries where these species are found. The yellow crazy ant lives in large groups and attacks birds and reptiles with an acidic excretion. It also harms plant tissue and can destroy crops like bananas.
Another threat comes from the palm borer, a large moth from South America that attacks palm trees and could pose a threat to Israel’s successful date industry. The larvae of the moth bore into the heart of the palm tree’s trunk and into its leaves. Also feared is the New Guinea Flatworm, which carries a parasite that could cause meningitis and thus poses a public health threat. It also attacks mollusks.
Another threat is the New Zealand mud snail, which pushes out local species.
Invasive plants also pose a serious environmental threat. The list of eight threatening species includes the Alligator Weed, which comes from South America. It crosses borders in the ballast of ships, and can survive both in water and on land. It spreads quickly and blocks access to light and oxygen in pools of water, which can seriously harm the quality of water and the flora and fauna in lakes, winter pools and streams.
The new report recommends developing tools to better control the infiltration of invasive species. “Israel’s borders are open to the infiltration of species that threaten nature, infrastructures and public health,” explained Alon Rothschild, the SPNI’s biodiversity coordinator. “This phenomenon, if not dealt with properly and in time, will cause ecological destruction and significant health and economic damage.
“The government environmental protection agencies don’t have the legal authority to deal with this phenomenon,” he continued. “There must be a law that will give them the authority and the professional tools to deal with invasive species, by regulating the import, commerce and possession of these species. The biggest challenge is preventing inadvertent invasion, like through cargo in which unwanted ‘hitchhikers’ are hiding.”
An invasive species is a plant, fungus, or animal species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and which has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.[dubious – discuss]
One study pointed out widely divergent perceptions of the criteria for invasive species among researchers (p. 135) and concerns with the subjectivity of the term “invasive” (p. 136). Some of the alternate usages of the term are below:
The term as most often used applies to introduced species (also called “non-indigenous” or “non-native”) that adversely affect the habitats and bioregions they invade economically, environmentally, or ecologically. Such invasive species may be either plants or animals and may disrupt by dominating a region, wilderness areas, particular habitats, or wildland–urban interface land from loss of natural controls (such as predators or herbivores). This includes non-native invasive plant species labeled as exotic pest plants and invasive exotics growing in native plant communities. It has been used in this sense by government organizations as well as conservation groups such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the California Native Plant Society. The European Union defines “Invasive Alien Species” as those that are, firstly, outside their natural distribution area, and secondly, threaten biological diversity. It is also used by land managers, botanists, researchers, horticulturalists, conservationists, and the public for noxious weeds. The kudzu vine (Pueraria lobata), Andean Pampas grass (Cortaderia jubata), and yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) are examples.
An alternate usage broadens the term to include indigenous or “native” species along with non-native species, that have colonized natural areas (p. 136). Deer are an example, considered to be overpopulating their native zones and adjacent suburban gardens, by some in the Northeastern and Pacific Coast regions of the United States.
Sometimes the term is used to describe a non-native or introduced species that has become widespread (p. 136). However, not every introduced species has adverse effects on the environment. A nonadverse example is the common goldfish (Carassius auratus), which is found throughout the United States, but rarely achieves high densities (p. 136).