Be a Better Ancestor

I read a quote today that said (paraphrased) “We need to think about being better ancestors, and not being adherent to legacies, descendants, or social norms.” It was a unique way to implore us to do what is right. What we feel is right. To think long term.

And it made me think of this happy looking insect from my backyard.

Privet Leafhopper, copyright Michael Hawk

Why this weirdly large leap? Well, this is a Privet Leafhopper, and it is here because we have a Glossy Privet, Ligustrum lucidum. It’s a non-native invasive tree in much of the United States. Thankfully, while it spreads like crazy in moist areas, in California moist areas are few and far between, limiting it’s impact.

When we moved into our house a decade ago, we had three of these privets. They were all descendants from trees in our neighbor’s yard. We’ve removed two of the three, but I’ve been delaying removing the third. Why? Well, despite being non-native the prolific fruits support native birds like Cedar Waxwings, American Robins, Hermit Thrush, and House Finch. Several pollinators use it too. And it provides shelter for our neighborhood owls.

Removing it will be a setback for my backyard habitat. But replacing it with a native tree will be a long term win. So I need to remind myself – as we all do – to consciously shed the short term thinking that thousands of years of evolution have bestowed upon us. And instead think long term.

And be a good ancestor.


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