Intern Liz Journal #2: Are We an Invasive Species?

Hello! Intern Liz is back for journal #2 :D! In this article, I figured I’d tap into my life and ideas a little more. If you missed #1, here’s a link: Meet Intern Liz.

All my life I’ve been fascinated by the sciences, I love observing the world around us, and then questioning it. This week, I want to show you why I think it’s important to question things.

In my apartment complex we have lots of trees (woohoo), but I noticed something off about one of our pine tree groups. Some trees had  a lot of brown on their tops. Some people might think, “Oh ok, the trees are just dying, it’s natural.” But after everything I have been learning in Sierra College, I could not be satisfied with a statement so simple. I asked myself, “WHY are these pine trees dying?”.

With my interest peaked, I stared and examined them, until I noticed that the brown wasn’t just on one of the trees, it looked like it was spreading from tree to tree. One tree had more brown than the others, and the brown on the tree next to it had it in the spot where they touched. I considered why it could look like this; was it just a coincidence, or was something causing this? I finally concluded that maybe these trees have a disease that they’re spreading, a disease that is completely changing these trees’ lives.

After doing some research, I found that this is caused by the Western Pine Beetle. Even though it is not a disease, it is still something that often gets overlooked when we see a dying tree. The beetle was greatly affects these trees.


 *My image on top, on bottom an image from UCANR

This concept reminded me of what I’m noticing about our planet as a whole.

I think we are acting like an invasive species to our Earth, but it’s not getting noticed.

Our planet is like those pine trees; dying because of one single species. I see that, like the Western Pine Beetle, we are taking out forests patch by patch. I think we are invading into places where we don’t belong.  

I feel like we continue to take and take and take, but not give back enough. Don’t get me wrong, there ARE many who do give back, but I don’t think we’re matching what we take. I don’t think there’s enough of us giving back.

I found that what I like to do is ask why something is the way it is, then ask what can I do to try and help. What small change can I make? One of my favorite statements that I’ve heard is, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”. For me, I view my journal posts as one of the things I can do to can make a difference, help spark and idea in someone else to look at what are doing a little deeper. :)

I understand that my journals will not be seen by the entire world, nor even the entire state, or even an entire county! But I am happy knowing that even one person can read this and possibly gain insight, fresh ideas and thoughts.

I hope my journals can be like that first light bulb in the picture above; ready to spread new light. This is one of my small ways that I think can help our planet, one of my pieces to the overall puzzle.

What are some pieces you can add to the puzzle?

Here’s what I encourage my friends to do:

  • Support and promote clean energy solutions like solar
  • Encourage the purchase of energy efficient appliances
  • Walk to places that are under a 5 minute drive
  • Reuse/ repurpose items
  • Save water by turning it off as you clean dishes, scrub hands, or brush teeth
  • Self sustain by gardening or raising your own livestock (like chickens)
  • Composting
  • Most of all, to take a few minutes out of your day to learn ways and to give back

In conclusion, thank you for reading my insights on a question that comes up often in my thoughts. Are we, as humans an invasive species?  Are we like the pine beetle taking until there is none left?

While I ponder this question I will try and put my piece of the puzzle into place by spreading views and ideas, from my point of view. 

Again I ask, what are some pieces you can add to the puzzle?

Follow us on our Socials and subscribe to our newsletter to read my next journal entry where I will share some more thoughts on what I have been thinking about and learning at my time as a student intern at SEG.