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Amy Ziffer

When aliens attack: The Rule of Unintended Consequences in the garden

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How would you feel if you were the person responsible for kudzu? Assuming for a second that the blame for the Vine that Ate the South could be pinned on just one person, and you were that person, would you feel guilty? Defensive? Or would you just not care? Or how about the Shakespeare lovers who released starlings in the New World just because the bird is mentioned in Henry IV? Or the gentleman farmer who let loose rabbits in Australia for “a spot of hunting,” also asserting “the introduction of a few rabbits could do little harm.” Two hundred million starlings, 7 million kudzu-engulfed acres, and inestimable numbers of rabbits later, we shake our heads at these follies and…

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