What do you do if you get cancer? First thing most people think is nuke it or get it out. This is our current approach to invasives. The first thing a few people do is change their diet, eat less sugar and eat nutrient balanced foods. They also change their lifestyle; they relax more and find meaningful work. On top of that, they also change their emotional patterns; they learn self-love. The war on cancer approach doesn’t work. This is evidenced by the fact that 90% of cancer doctors admittedly wouldn’t go that route either.
Hypothetically: Invasive plants are land cancer. And guess what? The professionals, those who aren’t making money off invasive removal, are not recommending the war on invasives approach either! They are recommending nutrition, increasing the ability to hold that nutrition and understand what your land is meant to be. This looks an awful lot like cancer recovery. A better soil mineral balances allows for plants with broader nutritional needs to flourish. More soil carbon holds more minerals and creates more homes for microbes to turn those minerals into plant nutrients. Knowing your biome helps you understand what land design resonates most with where you live. That’s soil minerals, soil carbon and permaculture.
Sure many of you think I am crazy. Currently, being pro invasive plants is like being pro cancer. Trust me: I am not pro invasive; I too want to see invasive plants gone so our natives can return. I want our land reach its hidden potential. Since we are what we eat, and what we eat is a reflection of our land’s health, I am also supporting us to reach our hidden potential. We can’t just nuke cancer or invasives and think we have addressed the cause.
Cancer is latent within us waiting for the right conditions to express itself but isn’t that different than invasive plants being brought in from elsewhere? Yes invasives come from elsewhere on Earth and no there is no difference. When I plant an invasive plant in minerally balanced soil with lots of carbon, in a gowing system that resonates with our land then that invasive plant will settle into the background. It doesn’t matter they are from elsewhere. At least they are from the Earth, right? It doesn’t matter that Japanese knotweed came from a Russian island north of Japan. Just like cancer, invasive plants can fall into the background to unnoticeable levels when balance is regained or experienced for the first time!
Angelina Jole never had cancer yet she got a pre-emptive mastectomy. Insider deals on mastectomy treatments and genetic testing aside, some people are prone. Even though epigenetics has pulled way ahead of the genetic determinism model we still must concede there are some people who will get cancer no matter what they do. I doubt land is different. We could do everything I prescribe to improve our land health and there are rare times we still could get invasives. Maybe along continuously eroded areas, say by a waterfall, we may always have knotweed. Or near a giser we may always have purple loosestrife relishing in terrain no other plant could. But to preemptively rip out our waterfalls and gisers so we don’t get invasives seems a bit misguided. I am not saying Angelina Jole’s breasts were natural wonders that should have stayed on no matter what. She is her own person.
I am not here to prove there is some hidden benefit to cancer. I will have everyone after me if I was to try and say, “Cancer is actually an ecological benefit because it helps mop up simple sugars within a warm vessel capable of breeding virulent diseases if left unchecked.” It is not that simple. Epi-genetics adds generational layers. It’s not always our choices that made it happen. Maybe our fore fathers had to make some tough decisions that ultimately we are paying the bill for. Maybe starving the land creates a land epigenetics that is currently favoring invasives?
Cancer does help us see what’s important. Do we have to get invasives to see the light? Sometimes the more we lose the more we become aware of what feeds our soul (and soil). We don’t have invasive plants. We have “we've lost just enough to start caring” plants. We are a long way off from land health but not so long that it isn’t worth beginning! Each of us knows where there is still beautiful land. We love to visit it and sit in its presence. In those quiet moments we can take what we learn from Nature and do more of it. We can add more layers. We can add more life. We can use pigs to terrace our wooded hills on contour thereby holding more water and minerals and building carbon while feeding us at the same time! Seriously, in short, we can be co-creators. This is what this all is leading to. We’ve used a lot to get to where we are. It is time to find what resonates with Nature, to comprehend and copy, and increase the abundance for all!