Embracing Invasives: Rethinking the Balance of Nature
Environmental journalist Fred Pearce, author of the new book, The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation, traveled across six continents and ecosystems from remote Pacific islands to the United Kingdom and the Great Lakes to reveal some outdated scientific ideas about invasive species and the balance of nature.
Pearce argues that mainstream environmentalists are correct that we need a rewilding of the Earth, but they are wrong if they believe it can be achieved by reengineering ecosystems. He thinks that humans have changed the planet too much, and nature never goes backward. But a growing group of scientists is taking a fresh look at how species interact in the wild. According to these new ecologists, we should applaud the dynamism of alien species and the new ecosystems they create.
In an era of climate change and widespread ecological damage, it’s crucial that we find ways to help nature regenerate. Embracing this new ecology, Pearce proposes, is our best chance, maintaining, “To be an environmentalist in the 21st century means celebrating nature’s wildness and capacity for change.”