Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not Funny: Et Tu, Monsterbeetles ?

drawing collage by marguerita
A wood-devouring beetle has gained a foothold in New England, and authorities plan to cut down large numbers of infested trees and grind them up to stop the pest from spreading to the region's celebrated forests and ravaging the timber, tourism and maple-syrup industries.
''This insect scares us to death because if it ever got loose in the forests of New England, it would be just about impossible to contain and it'd change the landscape dramatically,'' said Tom McCrum, coordinator of the Massachusetts Maple Syrup Association.Calling it a national emergency, federal authorities have committed themselves to spending tens of millions of dollars to fight the invasion.Beetle Invasion Threatens New England Trees -

The Interface Between Beetles & Humans

The assessment of beetle quality as "good" or " bad"- even the names that we give to beetles- merely reflect our own value system.Although we have touched on some of the more practical aspects of beetles in our lives, this can hardly be considered an accurate portrait of beetles and their role in the natural world. Beetles enrich our language, art,agriculture- even our diets-
but what to we do for them ?The fact is, we need beetles for our intellectual, spiritual, and biological survival, but they have very little use for us.
Our challenge lies in our ability to recognize beetles as biological treasures, preserving them for future generations of, among others, etymologists, artisans, agriculturists, gourmands, and healers.

The Significance of Beetles

The biological basis of our affiliation with beetles may be viewed from the perspective of nine fundamental values that reveal how humans relate to nature: utilitarian, ecologistic, scientific, naturalistic, aesthetic, symbolic, dominionistic,negatavistic, humanistic, moralistic. These categories were developed by Stephen Kellert of Yale University in the late 1970's, not to define any instinctive behavior, but to identify clusters of learning behavior to understand basic human perceptions of animals.
The elegance of this classification is that it may be considered a universal framework for the expression of basic affinities for and dependance on the natural world. Applying this typology yo our relationship with beetles, we can briefly summarize some of the ways in which these marvelous animals are meaningful in our lives. from Beetlephilia in An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles
Arthur V. Evans and Charles L. Bellamy

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