Zika or The Case for Ecosystemizing The Urban Landscape

Here in New York, while on a recent visit to the lovely high-end communities of the Hamptons, I was struck by the horrendous swarms of mosquitos hovering around the picturesque water surfaces lounging the mansions with yachts anchored at the hips of these estates. Does this not bother the owners and inhabitants of these mansions? Do they not have ample resources to turn things around?

In the thick of a Zika epidemic (or is it already a pandemic?) the South Americans are scrambling to introduce fish into their hitherto stagnant water resources – a little too little, too late for so many who have already suffered the consequences of ill-planning. To the useless politicians laying down the roadmaps of their countries, I say, “How expensive was it to have fish be introduced where in the natural ecosystem cycle it would have only been too natural to let live? Perhaps in the schools they no longer teach that the presence of fish is necessary in any pond where water does not circulate. If only it were that easy though. The ecosystem is so broken, the water resources are so polluted by chemical insecticides and other refuse that it will require a massive shift in thinking for the urgency of action to be realized.

But rather than use this opportunity to preach the importance of restoring the broken ecosystems in the world, a reporter for the National Geographic thought it best to defend the poor Zika-carrying mosquito. As is all too common these days, reporters blindly take the side of the ‘poor’ victim; and in this case, not the human, but the infectious bug. “Ah! Everyone is villainizing the mosquito. So I’ll do something different and take the opposite view. How smart is that!” Looking no doubt through a peephole, the reporter (or shall I not rather say, opiner) did not seem to have the mental capacity of reasoning that we are where we are today because we have so voided the human habitat from any cohabitation, that the only inadvertently invited cohabitant is the vile insect that has, with no natural predators left, mutated into super species. I say vile insects because as we finally are beginning to realize, there are beneficial bugs that have all but disappeared through decades of chemically inclined bug purgatories; indiscriminate spraying that has, alas, only ridden us of the good ones – the ones that feed on the bad guys.

Where are the spiders, lady-bugs, praying mantises, frogs, lizards, cats, ducks and foxes? Why can’t we invite them into our urban landscape where pockets of examples have demonstrated that they can thrive and cohabitate and do their part in the cyclical nature of a healthy ecosystem?

Schools, politicians and reporters, will you hit the refresh button, please?