Since 1918, it has been illegal to capture or kill a migratory bird without a license (e.g. hunting license and/or duck stamp).  This includes possessing any parts, nest, or egg (Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918).  But why?  Well, there are two answers.  Answer one:  many migratory birds use habitats between countries.  An example would be migratory water fowl that move between Canada and the U.S.  Without collaborative protection, residents of either country could over-hunt a species leading to its extinction.  Answer two:  we can blame women’s fashion.  During that period, it was fashionable to have stuffed birds, feathers, and even a decorative nest in one’s hat for decoration.  Women’s fashion helped cause a precipitous decline in migratory birds (including songbirds).  Fashion also helped drive the near extinction of beaver! 

So, let’s use fashion for good.  What if we inspired a fashion movement that utilized plants and animals that have been introduced into the U.S. and have become invasive!  Exotic invasive plants and animals outcompete our native ones and can result in a near-moonscape with very few other organisms that can eak out an existence.  Here are a few ideas.  Let’s reduce the number of pythons in the Everglades by making python fashionable.   I have a pair of python shoes myself.  We could have a whole industry of Everglade python hunters that could eliminated the problem!  What about making zebra mussels into prized jewelry?  Same deal.  Kudzu… I’m not sure what to do with that plant.  But, red cedars could be used in place of pines at Christmas time next year.  Maybe we can use our purchase power to make room for our native plants and animals.

ECOLOGYAmy SmithComment