Global warming is not the only environmental problem facing us today. The canaries in the coal mine speak loudly.

The first canary is the destruction of coral reefs. Much of the blame is attributed to the warming of the oceans, but there is a newly discovered culprit killing the coral – nitrogen runoff from fertilizers, topsoil and sewage. The second canary is the big decrease in the number of birds. After Rachel Carson’s warning, we banned DDT, but we continue to use pesticides, and birds continue to vanish. The third canary is the decrease in insects because of pesticide use, loss of habitat and climate change. And there are more canaries.

Each of these warning signs represents a critical part of nature. Coral reefs provide places for fish to thrive. Birds help in pollination and pest control. Insects also pollinate our food supply, and they are a critical part of the natural food chain.

The common element is man. The loss of each valuable element of our environment can be attributed to the activities and the presence of humans.

Milfoil is a weed that infests the lakes and ponds of Maine. Milfoil is aggressive and drives out other plants and animals while it literally consumes the lake or pond. Milfoil is not indigenous to Maine. It is an invasive species.

Humans may be indigenous to Earth, but right now, we are an invasive species on our own home planet. It is the problem we need to solve.

Peter Konieczko


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