What if we accepted rabbits, foxes and starlings as our own wildlife in Australia?
In his book published this week, Fred Pearce poses a very interesting point of view: why not accept foreign biological invaders as part of the wildlife of our country and move on?
For a long time, Fred Pearce regarded invasive species as evil interlopers spoiling pristine “natural” ecosystems.
Most conservationists and environmentalists share this view.
But what if true environmentalists were applauding the invaders?
In his book, The New Wild, Pearce takes a journey across six continents to explore what conservation in the twenty-first century should be about.
He travels from remote Pacific islands to the United Kingdom, from San Francisco Bay to the Great Lakes.
As he goes, he questions the estimated cost of invader species and challenges the outdated ideas about the balance of nature.
He does acknowledge the horror stories about alien species disrupting ecosystems, but points out the fact that tens of thousands of introduced species usually swiftly die out or settle down and become model eco-citizens.
The case for keeping out alien species, he finds, looks increasingly flawed.
Humans have changed the planet too much, he points out, and nature never goes backward. But a growing group of scientists is taking a fresh look at how species interact in the wild and according to them, we should applaud the dynamism of alien species and the novel ecosystems they create.