Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Simple Suggestion #263... Consider all living things as neighbours

The City of Edmonton has made a neat little JSYK (Just So You Know) video (below) about "critters," and I just have to share it here, simply because too many of us human beings have removed ourselves so far from nature that we tend to see living things in terms of two categories: "Useful" or "Nuisance." When we come up against a critter that we don't like or that scares us, we quickly forget that every living thing is part of the web of life that supports us all, and in the case of bugs, out come the chemical pesticides (that contain poisons which are increasingly causing disease in our bodies, too...)

Yesterday I noticed a small spider in our greenhouse. I was fascinated to see it tracking a fungus gnat on the window pane, and very surprised when it jumped and caught the gnat for a quick lunch. Because I suspected it would grow into a bigger spider that I wouldn't want to deal with later on, and not wanting to walk through webs in my work space, I caught the little critter in a pail and took it out into the sunshine where it ran and hid in some rocks.

Turns out it was a Zebra Jumping Spider that doesn't grow any larger than it already was, spins webs only as safety lines, and hunts for prey by crawling around. So the little Zebra and I could have happily coexisted in the greenhouse for the most part, at least until she decided to leave an egg sac behind. I don't really want an overpopulation of Zebra Spiders in the greenhouse, but now I may end up with an overpopulation of gnats. Oh well, they're part of the ecosystem too, somehow.


Peter Daly, the Biological Sciences Technical Assistant in the video, makes a good point when he says, "Considering the importance of insects in general ecosystems, I'd certainly like to think of them more as friends and neighbours, and helpers, rather than just pests." 

And really, that's a good way to look at all living things on our planet. I just wish Peter had gone one step further to recommend avoiding the chemical pesticides and herbicides that too many of us use to do away with weeds and those insect friends and neighbours. Better to take ecologically friendly approaches...

So today's Simple Suggestion is to notice your neighbours of all shapes and sizes, and to treat them kindly. Definitely don't treat them with poisonous chemicals, and maybe don't put them in your little sister's hair!

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Click here.

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