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October 2014 QUOTE OF THE MONTH: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” - Native American Proverb
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By Kim & Gloria "Jack" Mejia-Cuellar
Grade 12
Media Academy
Oakland, CA
Should nonnative species be controlled?
- Posted August 11, 2011
 Survey says...






I do believe nonnative species are a serious problem and therefore should be controlled. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the places most damaged by nonnative species. Species have been transported to new lands accidentally through cargo ships or traveling passengers. They are a problem because they grow rapidly, reproduce quickly and can adapt to a wide range of conditions. They should be neutered and killed through herbicides or hunted. It sounds vicious, but these animals are real problems. They damage the environment by spreading diseases or competing with vulnerable native animals for resources. Often times, nonnative species eat the same food native plants eat. Because nonnative animals are introduced from one ecosystem to another, they do not have any natural enemies and thrive in most any environment. Native animals die out as the natural food web collapses. Introduced species are too great a threat to be left alone.
- Kim Mejia-Cuellar, Grade 12, Media Academy, Oakland, CA




Animals do not choose to live in a different environment. They are just that—animals. They cannot help being transported to another country or search for food to survive. Humans are responsible for bringing them to a new ecosystem, so humans should be responsible to take care of these animals. Killing them off doesn’t help the ecosystem. Only because things aren’t native to a place does not mean they are any less a living organism. To solve this problem, we must enforce better laws to keep ships and people from transporting animals out of their natural habitat. We should allow the ones the nonnative species that exist now on their own. As long as we don’t improve our regulation of where animals go around the world, we will always have the risk that animals will escape into the wild and hurt the food web.
- Gloria "Jack" Mejia-Cuellar, Grade 12, Media Academy, Oakland, CA




We both agree humans are at fault for introducing the animals, and that is why I believe we should be the ones to clean up the mess. We should better enforce our laws and regulations but simply leaving the animals in ecosystems is dangerous. If we leave the invasive species be they will continue to destroy the environment. Take the example of the zebra mussel, which was introduced from Europe to the US. It has damaged harbors and ships and also water pipes. They infest water pipes and stop the flow of water to communities. Leaving them alone does not fix the problem, only getting rid of them does. It’s difficult to get rid of animals that destroy habitats because many of them are popular. Eliminating these species can reduce tourism, which has obvious economic implications, but allowing them to exist makes other species go extinct. The everglades are another example. Fish introduced to have new ecosystems have deteriorated diversity and the environment in that region. Foreign animals and plants are too big a threat. Killing them may appear to be an extreme measure, but not acting has led to exotic diseases like the West Nile virus which kills humans, mammals, birds and reptiles alike. They threaten all local life, so I advocate neutering and trapping animals and using pesticides and weeding invasive plants.
- Kim Mejia-Cuellar, Grade 12, Media Academy, Oakland, CA




There are other ways to control nonnative species other than killing them. Using chemicals to kill them will not only hurt the species, but also damage the rest of the environment. Using pesticides to kill the East Asian stinkbug will inevitably kill off almost all of the bugs in the area; using chlorine to get rid of the zebra mussels will kill everything in the water. I acknowledge that there are consequences for keeping invasive species around, but the consequences are much worse when we try to get rid of them. Instead, we should try to live with the species and control their development by neutering the ones that exist. We can also capture the nonnative species and return them to their natural habitats. There are definitely alternatives to control invasive species without resulting to their extermination.
- Gloria "Jack" Mejia-Cuellar, Grade 12, Media Academy, Oakland, CA


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