The Environment

Invasive Species

What is the real story on “invasive species,” and what to do about it?

By Chris Kinder

First of all, there is absolutely no doubt that every single specie that has ever existed on this planet Earth (and, dare I say, on any other planet as well) has changed the environment. That is what they do. Noxious atmosphere on Earth was changed into an oxygen rich atmosphere by single-celled organisms and algae. This changed the environment, and led to eons of evolution in which oxygen-dependent species continued to change their environment, each in their own way. 

Fast forward to today, and remember, “today” is just the smallest “blip” in the geological record. Today, humans have changed the environment in fundamental ways, which are not related in any way to the evolution of the human species, or to their need for survival (which of course is essential for all species.) It is instead related to the class division of the human race into oppressors and oppressed.

Of course this started out in a much more friendly fashion than the obnoxious, warlike conflict-ridden society that we have today. Agriculture evolved out of peaceful communities who sought to improve their prospects for survival. But this development, while creating a previously unheard of surplus product, also created the first ruling class. 

The surplus product from agriculture created class division, starting with the domination of men over women. This, in turn, also caused the desertification of what is now called the Middle East. Big change in the environment.

Ok, when are we going to get to modern times, you ask? The class division within humans has now led to unprecedented exploitation, both of the working class and of nature. This exploitation VASTLY exceeds anything remotely similar to the effects of earlier species’ effects on the environment. There is absolutely NOTHING “natural” about the current effects of humanity on nature! That is because human society under class-divided society has absolutely nothing in common with the basic original nature of humanity, which is that we evolved as a community. 

Today’s humans exist only because we evolved, in our final (i.e., Homo Sapien) stages, as a community. The use of fire, the division of labor, the art of language, and the final big-brain development, all depended on a human community, acting together, and without any class division. This is our real history, going back at least 70,000 years, if not much more. 

What does today’s class-divided society have to do with this? Class society is a fundamental distortion of our evolution as a species! And it is very short-lived, very recent, and very destructive of both humans and the rest of nature!

And the present-day human society’s destruction of the Earth’s environment, including its rampant and uncontrolled introduction of many invasive species into environments into which they never evolved naturally, is just one of many abominations of the current exploitative system known as capitalism. 

The present-day “invasive species” question is an outgrowth of the explosion of capitalist and pre-capitalist invasion of the “New World.” With the “discovery” (so-called) of the New World by Cristobal Columbo, pre-capitalist, mercantile empires of Spain, France, Denmark, Portugal and Britain opened up trade routes which had never before been imagined. And this ushered in a tsunami of new products into Europe, such as coffee, tobacco, and the potato, for instance, among many others. This was by far the biggest transfer of species of plants and animals between continents in the history of the world up to that point. 

Most of this was OK, I think, except for the fact that European colonizers transferred diseases that wiped out most native Americans! H-m-m, does this count as “invasive species?” Or does it count as another example of class oppression? Or both? I think this is a window into the present day issue of “invasive species.”

Invasive species today are a takeoff from these historic examples, because they are both products of class oppression and exploitation, and also a product of the degeneration of the current capitalist society into a miasma of destruction of virtually everything. This degeneration grows exponentially with the relentless expansion of capitalism. Hence we have examples such as:

  1. The fact that aggressive invasive species are routinely transported across the globe in the bilges of huge ships, never seen before about a hundred years ago, resulting in destructive attacks on native ecosystems which never would have happened were it not for the invention of capitalist imperialist excessive trade systems.
  2. The fact that the Asian Carp now infests the rivers in the Mid-West, which requires barriers to be built to keep it from infesting the Great Lakes, which if it happens would destroy the native fisheries there.
  3. The fact that in the Hawaiian Island of Maui, the importation of mongoose from India by capitalist landowners intending to obliterate the rats in the sugar plantations (which still occupy central Maui,) has now resulted in the obliteration not of the rats, but of all the birds in the rain forest areas of Maui along the Northeastern coast. A rain forest without birds? The Mongoose, which are awake in the day, failed to kill any rats, which are nocturnal. Instead, the Mongoose ate the eggs out of the birds’ nests, resulting in the death of ALL the birds in the rain forest! Mongoose continue to inhabit Maui (eating other things, having already eliminated birds eggs.) This was a human-caused disaster.

These are just a small sampling of “invasive species” disasters.

My conclusion: capitalism is a human-caused disaster, and invasive species are a symptom of that. Invasive species cannot be treated as “natural” in any sense, because they are the result of an entirely UNnatural development, that being the social evolution of the human species into a class-divided monstrosity of a society which, in evolutionary terms, was originally a communal grouping of peaceful, intelligent beings. 

Now, that society no longer exists, does it? And the intelligent beings? What is left of them must deal with capitalist oppression, and all its manifestations, including that of “invasive species.”  

Humans seeking to correct their present descent into the Hades of never-ending war and exploitation must seek a socialist answer, and, along the way, also must see that the invasive species problem is a (hopefully correctable, at least in some cases) symptom of a human-dominated, class-divided society which must be humans like us.

—January 18, 2018