MARTY RUSSELL: Treat Mother Nature poorly, and she’ll reciprocate



Nature is revolting, and I’m not just talking about that mutt that won the World’s Ugliest Dog title recently.

No, it seems nature truly has it in for us and you can’t really blame it. It’s just human nature (or maybe that should be naturally nature) to fight back when threatened and we’ve certainly done our share of threatening it.

From urban sprawl consuming habitat to pollution to pesticides to fracking (which I believe actually began as a curse word on the TV series “Battlestar Galactica”) we’ve given nature plenty of reasons to hate us.

Now I read that Mississippi Congressman Gregg Harper is co-sponsoring a bill that would hogtie attempts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the habitats of 347 new species being added to the Endangered Species Act based on a court settlement in a case brought by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Apparently 42 of those endangered species call Mississippi home.

Fine. I guess you can make an argument that human needs and land rights supercede those of animals, plants and insects which have no lobby or even a good attorney. But, mark my word, further encroachment on nature will, at some point, literally come back to bite us.

Just last week an Ocean Springs man died within days of swimming in the Gulf of Mexico where he apparently ingested a flesh-eating bacteria. Other cases of the microscopic menace have been reported this summer in Georgia and Oregon. Scientists say the little parasites thrive in warm water but since we all know global warming is a hoax, these were probably just isolated incidences.

But then there’s the growing trend of annual reports of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus which originated in Africa.

The first case was reported in New York City in 1999 and, in the years since, it has spread to every state. According to the Centers for Disease Control on average 1 in every 100,000 Mississippians will contract the disease each year and there have been about 1,700 deaths nationwide since it first appeared, including five in this state alone last year.

One advantage nature has over us humans in this war is that it doesn’t recognize political boundaries or borders on a map. Birds, which bring interlopers like West Nile into the country, don’t carry passports.

Now comes another mosquito-borne menace known as the Chikungunya virus, apparently being brought to Mississippi by travelers to places like Haiti and other Caribbean travel spots.

While usually not fatal, it can cause flu-like symptoms and health officials worry that it could be picked up by local mosquitoes and spread just as the West Nile Virus did.

So what’s next if we keep up this disregard for the natural order of things? I fear that soon we’ll have to deal with a new species, the dreaded Chikunchupacabra, a six-foot, flesh-eating chicken from Mexico that is immune to bullets, poisons, border fences and immigration laws.

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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