Brendon MH Larson’s article discusses the use of combative language when describing invasion biology. He claims in his paper that the militaristic metaphors used do not promote effective and appropriate responses to invasive species. Instead, such language leads to readers misunderstanding the invasive species, increase xenophobia, and promote militaristic thoughts towards the species rather than approaching the issue scientifically. He believes that aggressive language will promote short-term results but in the long term, it will not result in success in ecosystem conservation (Larsen 2005).
An example of such language can been seen in a British news site article on invading species that were colonizing Britain. Right away, the title uses the militaristic phrase, “Invasion of the aliens,” followed by, “colonising Britain.” (Clay-Jones and Bignell 2008) From the title, a person’s first impression would be that something foreign is taking over and living in Britain and that such an invader should be kicked out as soon as possible. The opening paragraph then states that the “poisonous false widow spider are booming and expanding as never before,” (Clay-Jones and Bignell 2008) which makes the reader think about alien poisonous spiders taking over a country, leaving a very misleading impression. Such an opening approach isolates the species from the reader’s world, making them feel as though the animals came from a different planet and must be stopped before the aliens take over the world.
While describing the spiders as dangerous is not bad, giving such a strong impression of them being alien invaders that must be stopped is a strong misinterpretation. Misunderstanding species in invasion biology may motivate the population into action faster by scaring them, but effective ecosystem conservation requires society to properly understand the species and approach the situation without unreasonable xenophobia clouding people’s judgment.
Clay-Jones, Megan, and Paul Bignell. “Invasion of the Aliens: The Exotic Species That Are Colonising Britain – Nature, Environment - The Independent.” The Independent | News | UK and Worldwide News | Newspaper. 31 Aug. 2008. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. <http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/invasion-of-the-aliens-the-exotic-species- that-are-colonising-britain-913932.html>.
Larson, B. M. H. 2005. The war of the roses: demilitarizing invasion biology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3: 495-500.