No Harmony with Hogweed

May 24, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Lots of people think we humans should live in harmony with nature. This three page UN document mentions that phrase six times. The UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds bizarrely thinks that wind turbines (which explode the lungs of bats and destroy birds) represent a way to live in harmony with nature.

According to the World’s People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, living in harmony with nature first requires us to recognize that “capitalism is a threat to life itself.”

Well, here in my corner of Canada, we’re getting a firsthand reminder that living in harmony with nature isn’t as easy as it sounds. You see, this Spring there’s renewed concern over a pair of invasive plants that are flourishing in places where people like to hike and do other fun things in the great outdoors.

One is called Wild Parsnip, the other Giant Hogweed. These plants grow up to two and five meters tall respectively (6 and 15 feet). Coming in contact with their sap may result in severe burns to the skin. Protecting one’s eyes is paramount, since direct contact can leave one temporarily or permanently blind.

The government of my province is distributing warning posters to the public. You can see one here and another one here.

A news story is here. See some photos of hogweed here, and one (apparently provided by Finland’s environment agency), of the burns it can cause on a human arm here.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nature should be respected, not romanticized. Yes, it is often beautiful. But it is also cruel and heartless.

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