We humans, we're the champion eaters of the planet. You might not think so, compared to, say, lions, but we are. It's just that our excellent table manners disguise the fact.
Our powers of eating are legendary. Even bears got nothing on us as omnivores. Our teeth are cleverly evolved so we can rip, tear, and grind, everything from soup to nuts, meat, plants, fruit - we can even eat cat food, if we've a mind to.
But this capacity of ours isn't always a good thing. In fact, it is going to backfire on us pretty soon, so we'd better get ready.
In a nutshell - now that we've eaten almost all the endangered species on the planet, we are going to have to start eating the invasive species.
That's right - we've feasted on whooping crane, passenger pigeon, Chinook salmon and bluefin tuna, caribou and bison, coelacanth and badger. We've baked four and 20 blackbirds in a pie. Everyone now knows frogs are going down - no more frogs legs for us. Turtle soup, whale meat, roast dodo. And let's not start on our "hunger" for so-called aphrodisiac products - tiger testicles, bear gall bladder, rhino horn.
Indeed, we've consumed a lot of animals into an early grave.
So what will be left for all of us to eat? The dubious good news is that there will be plenty of zebra mussels, cane toads, crows, milkweed, and now, here in B.C., newly imported, the intriguingly ugly snakehead fish, which will go a long way to getting rid of that pesky trout population (this top level predator fish is already highly regarded as a food fish, namely in Asia, so we're already off to a good start).
Welcome to the "Planet of the Weeds." No more grizzlies, river dolphins, tigers, or burrowing owls. But there will be plenty of purple loosestrife, coyotes, roaches, rats, dandelions - and billions and billions of human beings. And we're going to have to eat something.
At present, it is not recommended that humans eat quagga mussels, for example. Ostensibly, it is because of the high amount of toxins, pollutants, and microorganisms within the mussels' bodies. But really, I think it's not recommended because the idea of eating zebra or quagga mussels is just so disgusting. Well, tant pis, as the gourmands say. It's also not recommended that we eat crows, coyotes or rats. But for all we know, they could be delicious. As for the pollutants in the animals, well, we'll probably get used to it, if we aren't already (tuna tartare from the Gulf of Mexico, post BP oil-spill? I eat mine with a baguette).
So now we've started ingesting the invasive species. But we're actually having trouble digesting them. We'll just have to keep at it, until we learn how. Who knows, perhaps the appendix will come back to life, and we'll find it had a use after all - helping us digest indigestible stuff, like giant hogweed.
So several generations from now, our summer holiday dinners could look like this: We've had an exciting day racing around Kootenay Lake on our power boats, but now we're feeling peckish. So we dock our boats, and scrape the quagga mussels off the hull, and dig the milfoil out of the propellor shafts. We marinate the milfoil in vinegar to break it down, and add a little sesame oil. We steam our quagga mussels of course, and serve alongside some baked feral goldfish. If some of our party are allergic to "seafood" (and we can bet there will be allergies galore in our invasive-species-eating days) then we can serve an alternate dish of grilled sparrow and boiled ragweed. It will probably taste really good, if we're drunk enough.
We humans, champion eaters that we are, have been feasting on the fruits of our forests and lakes for several millennia now. I see no reason to stop, now that the kind, gentle tasty animals are being replaced with aggressive, foul, ugly animals. Bon appetit to us all.