Human beings fit Nijhuis’ description of successful invaders perfectly, invaders who “by dint of huge numbers and impressive industry can disrupt food webs and, therefore entire ecosystems.” When Nijhuis makes reference to “a monstrous, postapocalyptic fauna, a homogenous cast capable of shredding nature’s diversity,” I am driven to contemplate the threatened polar bears clinging to melting ice caps, the small remaining herds of elephants, the gorillas and the chimpanzees clinging to shrinking islands of forest, the degradation of the coral reefs, the salmon whose spawning grounds have been rendered inaccessible by massive dams, not to mention the poor honeybees worked to death producing massive amounts of honey for a burgeoning human population.
I think the word I’m looking for is hubris, i.e. great numbers of human beings suffer from the notion that we are superior to all other life forms. The only comfort I find in the situation is the knowledge of the increasing numbers of informed and concerned human beings who are engaging in the effort to stem our invasive behavior, be it ecological OR political.
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