Monday, August 13, 2012

Common Patterns - Nuclear Proliferation and The Flow of Invasive Species

The other day, I listened to an interesting University level lecture from a very famous Harvard graduated invasive species scientist, Mark Hoddle. He showed a very revealing chart of the increase in the invasive species problem globally. In looking at these charts, he also explained that it was the first world nations with the wealth which were doing the most trading and had the most tourists going to and from that ended up with the most invasive species problems. In many regards that makes sense because there is more travel, trade, and interaction. This is no surprise.

What I also found interesting was that when I looked at the old RAND Corporation charts and graphs of nuclear proliferation, they were strikingly familiar. Why is this? Was it due to the domino effect during the Cold War? Was it due to the increase in US trading partners? Why did the charts and graphs look so similar? It seems to me that there is a mathematical component that has to do with the sharing of information, the proliferation of weaponry, and traveling and trade. Since many of these components are very similar to the challenges of how invasive species are brought to and from, it should be no surprise that the charts look so close.

Now then, one could ask if the strategies we use to prevent nuclear proliferation might also be used to prevent the transportation of invasive species whether by accident, or purposefully. Some might say we are already doing this, as we have people at the airports checking to make sure that anyone carrying fruits or vegetables discharges those items before jumping on an airplane, ship, train, or bus - or even a car traveling from one nation to another at a border checkpoint. Even in the United States we have border crossings between states, where they looked to check for invasive species that might be accidentally transported.

Such checkpoints are also used, along with intelligence gathering to ensure that nuclear proliferation also doesn't make it into the wrong hands. In many regards we also use intelligence gathering to know what type of things we don't want in our country in the way of invasive species, and we look closely to prevent the moving of various species. There are rules and regulations about importing exotic reptiles for instance. Still, it's a very small invasive species, or an arms dealer that always seems to slip through the cracks. Species of weeds and plants often are tracked in on hiking boot from tourists.

Various insects might make their way into another region on firewood being transported as they are just hitching a ride. This is why we have to be very careful to watch the patterns to prevent nuclear proliferation and the flow of invasive species. It's a rather overwhelming task, but one we must face; and conquer. Please consider all this and think on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment