BY SYD SINGER – Hawaii’s stupidity is currently on display at the Hawaii State Legislature, with a proposed resolution to ban the introduction of non-native species to Hawaii. Hearing for SCR 143 is aptly set for April Fool’s Day, 4/1/14. This ill conceived nonsense has remarkably been introduced by a gang of 8 senators, who absurdly equate being non-native to being “invasive”.
All our food in Hawaii, apart from seafood, was brought here by people, and is therefore non-native. Most people in Hawaii are non-native. All our bamboo and most of our palms are non-native. Most of our forest hardwood trees are non-native. Our wildlife is mostly non-native. Almost every bird and mammal that lives in the forests, and most of the forests plants, are non-native. Most of our backyard ornamental plants are non-native. That’s largely because these islands are volcanic rocks in the middle of the Pacific ocean. People living here throughout history, including the Hawaiians and those before them, brought species with them to inhabit and populate these islands.
We are now told that this was wrong. With religious devotion, environmentalists now preach that only native species should exist in all the environments of the world. None should be displaced from their supposed place of origin, as though they were placed there by some deity and must not be moved. But for those people who are not part of this self-righteous cult philosophy, we must ask what’s wrong with being non-native? Why this obsession with everything having to be native? And why must we waste resources and limited funds for this obsessive-compulsive cleansing of the environment of species that “don’t belong”?
There is a myth that native ecosystems are somehow more natural and healthier than those with mixed or fully introduced species. This is not true. If you came upon a plant and did not know it’s history, you could not tell whether or not it was native. There are no special characteristics of native species or native ecosystems that set them apart. They are no more natural than other ecosystems.
In fact, non-native plants may be better for our environment in Hawaii if they produce food, sequester carbon, and help fight climate change. We cannot afford to have a dogmatic adherence to the myth that native is best when native species may be less adaptable than introduced species.
There was a time when people were more sensible than now, when they realized that bringing species to these islands to increase biodiversity was a good thing. Now, the government is paying Monsanto, BASF, and other chemical companies for poisons to kill these introduced plants and animals. Fences are being erected so animals can be starved, trapped, and shot. Our bloody environmental policy wastes natural resources by devaluing anything and everything non-native.
Of course, even the invasive species eradicators admit that the vast majority, well over 90%, of introduced species are beneficial or no problem. Rarely, some non-native species have become pests. The invasive species label should be reserved for pest species that are truly a threat to health, the economy, or the environment. But for those who believe that Hawaii should only consist of native species, all non-native species are by definition invasive. These people are zealots, and won’t stop until their money dries up, and people stand up to their nonsense and say enough is enough.
What motivates these people to preach such hate and killing of all things they believe “don’t belong” because they are “not supposed to be here”? Behind their zealotry is a hatred for humans, since the definition of invasive is that these species were introduced by people. If they were introduced by non-human agents, that would be fine. But if people brought them here, the process is evil, as they see it.
If you scratch the surface of these extremists you will find a deep rooted hatred for mankind and all the things people are doing to “destroy the Earth”. Deep down, they would be just as happy to kill the most invasive species of them all – the human animal. If humankind went extinct, they would cheer. Of course, they would also be extinct, since they are part of humankind. But that fact doesn’t appeal to their alienated sense of reality. People are evil and destructive, they believe, but somehow they exempt themselves from that judgment. Perhaps they should listen to themselves calling for the destruction of non-native species.
That members of the Hawaii legislature are taken in by this cult of hate reflects the fact that Hawaii has a big bullying problem against immigrant peoples. Attacking species for being non-native is the same as attacking people for being non-native. For some reason, the legislators who criticized Rep. Hanohano for her racist and hateful comments against non-Hawaiian people (haoles) cannot see that any hatred against any species because of its place of origin is the same thing, whether that species is plant or animal, or human. “You people don’t belong here” is the same as, “Those plants and animals don’t belong here”. Maybe the reason Hawaii boasts of its Aloha spirit is to cover up the fact that there is really so little of it.
If the issue was an honest concern for the control of pest species, the origin of those species would be irrelevant. A pest is a pest, no matter where it came from. But SCR 143 makes it clear that the crime is being non-native. The people who supported this obscenity should get sensitivity training, and be forced to look at the racist roots of their hatred.
Comments can be made to the ENE committee before 4/1/14 by going here: