Being an puppy-cooing, cashmere-wearing city girl,  I am not the first choice for someone to follow on a goose hunting trip. Then again, this is no ordinary hunting trip. The world of conservation and hunting first appears to be at opposing ends, until the animal in mind happens to be invasive.

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As mentioned, I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to nature. I’m also aware that my hands-off approach to nature is encouraging the systematic killing of species from centralised policies, paid by taxes from a population of vegetarians that do not agree with the principles of animal-cruelty.

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Yet looming in front of us are grasslands turning into marshlands. Is this a ‘nature’ that needs rescuing? or too much rewildingWhat seems like a frivolous proposal is actually a  rapid change for people’s living habitats, in a country that already is running out of space.

This is not about saving “nature” as a dynamic ecosystem, as to saving our relationship with a static ecology that we call home. This isn’t a fight about the right and wrongs towards nature as to the a preferences to curate a home.

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The Canada Goose are targeted is because it was brought artificially. Locals tell me tales that it was brought by eccentric farmer, who only remembered to clip the wings of the first generation. I will not show any footage of the actual farm, now taken over by later generations, but most of the work nowadays is to undo that initial introduction.  This phobia against transformation in our landscape reminded me of our earlier fears of technology which was later overcome when we started to make use of it. The study of this is called Human Invasive Interactions.

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Human Invasive Interactions involves the study, planning, and design of the interaction between people and invasive plants and animals. Invasive animals are successful at growing in our changing urban habitat. Instead of spending limited resources on eradicating invasive species, what if we appreciate invasives as a technology of renewal resources?

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

2 comments

  1. Sadly, due to competition from North American grey squirrels, the native red squirrel is on the brink of extinction in many parts of England and Wales.
    Fran Foster, an independent Wildlife Ranger who works in north Cumbria, joined forces with many other wildlife managers, gamekeepers, conservationists and biologists in carrying out targeted control of grey squirrels in and around red squirrel strongholds
    There has proved one sticking point; everybody has their own ideas about squirrels and their management. Fran realised that it is essential to listen to different opinions and to cooperate with diverse interest groups with sometimes contradictory values. She approached the WCMT and was awarded a prestigious fellowship to explore different approaches to squirrel conservation and management, particularly the human dimension, in continental Europe
    Introduced grey squirrels are causing a relentless regional decline in red squirrel populations in northern Italy. Grey squirrel eradication attempts in 1997 were delayed by legal action from an animal rights group. The lengthy judicial enquiry led to a 3-year suspension of control during which the greys greatly expanded their range.
    Fran’s six weeks in France and Italy included visiting conservation organisations, natural history museums and universities involved in alien species management, schools and youth groups. Gypsy, her cocker spaniel, proved to be a real ice-breaker, enabling Fran to talk to local people to establish the cause of any concerns.
    In Nervi Park, Liguria where local feelings ran high after a proposed grey squirrel eradication plan, endless patient negotiations have reached a compromise that seems to please nearly everyone; sterilization and translocation.

    Fran says “The main lesson to bring home and share is that we, all the different people involved in red squirrel conservation and grey squirrel control, need to openly share results and best practice, ensuring that NGO’s and volunteer groups never become exclusive, unrepresentative or unaccountable.”

    Thanks to the stimulation and confidence Fran has gained from her participation in the WCMT Fellowship, Fran is developing an educational program designed to cultivate thinking and reasoning skills with an emphasis on collaborative and rigorous enquiry in which students can discover invasive species and test innovative monitoring ideas and equipment. Through talks and workshops nationwide Fran is hoping to inspire the naturalists of tomorrow to develop new solutions to long-term issues and conflict resolution within wildlife management.
    Contact Fran Foster greycontrol@hotmail.co.uk

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