The other day we had a lovely walk through the wooded section of a local park. We had driven by the park several times as it is on the way to a local farm stand we visit often during berry season, but it appeared to only have a few soccer fields and baseball diamonds (there is apparently a great playground tucked to the side that I still have yet to explore). Recently our city has acquired a large parcel of land to expand the park. The acquired property is largely wooded and has been used by local families as a wooded playground. There are many social trails throughout the area and we explored a small section with some friends who are part of the committee to protect the wooded property.
It wasn’t a long walk but it was so quiet and our friends educated us on the native and non-native plants that we were seeing. We were talking about how non-native plants were brought in to the area decades ago, often times as ornamental landscaping, and how they have spread and are crowding out the native species. Some of them are lovely to look at but they are a danger to our native plants and animals as they crowd out native habitat.
In my own yard we are fighting a constant battle against a non-native invasive vine that creeps up trees and can choke them out. We remove as much as we can and then it grows back. Local parks have volunteer parties for pulling non-native invasives.
What if we started looking at plastics and waste as non-native invasives that need to be removed. They are not natural, certainly, and they invade and crowd out our local habitats (have you ever seen a modern-day landfill?). It is projected that in a few decades there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans; if that doesn’t qualify as invasive, I’m not sure what does. A simple walk in the park can be a great reminder that reducing our waste and our dependence on plastic is worth the challenge.