But regardless of our ability to comprehend these relationships, they do exist. And when humans begin muddling about – be it with good in our hearts or not – things generally, to use a scientific term, get all effed up.
In PEI, farmers are worried about bats. Not because they’re there – but because they’re not. White Nose Syndrome is decimating bat populations across North America. The white fungus interrupts the hibernation cycle of bats, causing them to waken early and – without appropriate fat stores or access to food stuffs – starve to death. The lowering populations are troublesome to the PEI farmers because bats eat incredible amounts of insects – insects which, left unchecked, will destroy crops. White Nose Syndrome may not have been created by humans, but its transfer from European caves – where bats have an immunity – to North American caves is solely due to a lack of bio-security and awareness of travellers.
In Australia, where Akubra hat makers use real rabbit fur for their products, importation of that staple has become required. But the Calicivirus – a naturally occurring virus from Europe – was imported to control rabbit populations down under. And as a result, farming of rabbits – let alone catching wild rabbits – is nearly impossible.
And, of course, in British Columbia and Alberta, Caribou populations are at extremely low levels – ranking as either endangered or at-risk in all mountainous areas. The science is clear – habitat loss is the culprit driving down the populations. Yet the only government response of significance has been the plan to hunt wolves.
In all cases, the reason for the degradation of ecosystems – and all those who inhabit them – is directly connected to human activities. It will only end when we, as a people, choose to protect the environment and find ways to incorporate our economy into that protection. We believe that is possible. Do you?