By Sarah Milfoil
In a move that has infuriated many members of the United States Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared human beings an invasive species whose spread must be stopped for the health of the planet and the millions of other species that live on it.
Humans join a short list of vertebrate invasive species that includes wild boar, the Burmese python, and the brown tree snake. Other invasive species, both plant and animal, include Asian carp, pink bollworm, zebra mussels, giant hogweed, and yellow toadflax.
“This was not an easy decision to make,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Wilsack, “especially considering that most members of Congress are human or nearly so, and they don’t like being compared to troublesome species such as curly-leaf pondweed or the Chinese mitten crab. A few unhappy senators could probably have me fired.”
But given that people now pose a dire threat to all life on earth, Wilsack said he had no choice but to label humans “dangerous predators whose introduction to our planet has caused serious harm.”
“Let’s face a cold hard fact,” added Wilsack, “the damage done by invasive species such as the emerald ash borer and the European gypsy moth is like a toddler’s finger scrape compared to the catastrophic harm done by people.”
Wilsack was referring to the extreme overconsumption of food, water, and dirty energy (by people in industrialized countries) that has polluted much of the planet, stripped it of forests, destroyed fish and wildlife and countless other organisms, and now threatens further devastation with rapid climate change.
In an email comment, Senator Robert Sudshead objected to the designation of humans as invasive species. “There is only one real species and that’s us,” he wrote. “The rest are varmints, coyotes and wild dogs. We wrestled this land away from them a long time ago and now it’s ours and we ain’t giving it back, no way, no how. And hey, also, tell Wilsack he’s dead meat, a nice piece of barbecued roadkill.”