Watching the small-minded men of the California Department of Food and Agriculture declare that they will ‘eradicate’ the light brown apple moth has been rather like watching a small boy take it into his head that he will move Africa 200 miles to the left. The Light Brown Apple Moth public health scandal has shone a bright light on the superfluousness and inappropriateness of the existence of an agency like the CDFA which makes its money by running around the state declaring emergencies trying to exterminate things it can’t exterminate.
Over the past 35 years, CDFA has made 247 failed attempts at eradication with 0 ‘successes’. The bugs are still with us, and what has come to light is an amazing billion-dollar bureaucracy which keeps people employed pretending to do the un-doable. The LBAM fiasco is only the latest evidence of this agency’s well-funded, ill-founded business plan.
Why is eradication of insect species futile? Welcome to planet Earth.
Our planet is an insect planet. Over 95% of the species inhabiting this planet are insects. Over 95%! There are so many species, no human has ever been able to count them all, but entomologists estimate there may be as many as 10 million. I hate to break it to you, Secretary Kawamura, but you’re outnumbered.
And is it being outnumbered that drives the CDFA, the USDA and the Orkin Man to barrel forward, spraying poisons willy-nilly, hoping somehow to even up the odds? Can they not stand to think that this isn’t a human-centric world, but is, in fact, a domain of bugs? It’s a useless fight. And what would they win, if they could win?
A vacant earth, devoid of all life. Without the insects – the pre-eminent citizens of our globe – there would be nothing for any of us. How hard is it to understand that if 95% of earthling species are bug species, they must hold the majority of the honor for making our earth a green, abundant, diverse planet? You only need to watch one nature program about all of the work bugs do in the Amazon Rainforest to get it that they are essential to that gorgeous green canopy existing. Remove just one species, and the whole system might collapse.
We know about the interconnectedness of life. Poets, prophets, philosophers and scientists have all tried to depict the web of life in such a way that we would stop the senseless killing, that we would move beyond a state of perpetual, unobservant ignorance regarding the workings of the planet we inhabit. No one likes feeling powerless, but by refusing to give up control, by refusing to admit that we cannot control everything on the Earth, we are ruining our own habitat and creating problems where none existed before.
We have all grown very weary of listening to CDFA’s fear-mongering regarding the light brown apple moth which this agency has falsely depicted as a big threat. There is no big threat, and we need only return to the words echoed across the state by organic farmers who have shrugged their shoulders, saying, “a moth, so what?” In point of fact, independent scientists have pointed out that some of the species most responsible for keeping this insect at a decent population are, in fact, other insects. Just think of it, we’ve got 10 million species of bugs on our side, all of them working amongst themselves to ensure that no one species takes over. We can sit back. We don’t have to do anything but farm in a responsible way and there will be plenty of greenery for us and all the bugs to eat. Basically, we just need to get out of the way.
What we really don’t need, in our strivings for an educated view of our amazing world, is government-employed agencies like the CDFA tearing about the place declaring that the earth is really flat. These men are generations behind their neighbors in their understanding of our place in the world and it’s rather pathetic watching them try to keep their jobs by insisting they must kill things to protect us all. They’ve gotten so out of hand, they are now threatening to sicken and kill us with their poisons in order to…protect us all?
The merry-go-round logic here that never stops in a sensible place is just shameful and any other business being run this way would have been shut down long ago.
Yet, there is still a place for the CDFA, if they are willing to learn new skills. California’s chemical-dependent conventional farmers are in desperate need of help, education and training. They need aid in breaking the Monsanto stranglehold. The damage done to California soil needs to be addressed, if that’s even possible and conventional farmers need real assistance in turning their backs on a shameful history of producing poisonous food for human consumption. If CDFA could only become the CDOFA (the California Department of Organic Food and Agriculture) and make it their mission to put an end to the evil of conventional agriculture, there would be more than enough work for them to do and it would be work we’d all gladly fund.
But, if CDFA is going to stick to their dinosaur of a business model, insisting that 10 million species of bugs are bad and that we can and must control them, they have outlived their usefulness as an agency. The time has come to admit that insects are vital, that Earth is a glorious bug planet, and that we’re all in debt to the bugs for all they do to make life good for us. Anyone who isn’t prepared to admit this is on the wrong planet. I hear real estate is going real cheap on the moon.