By Bob Hoeft

Northern Pike are the top of the food chain for fish species in Serpent Lake. Because of that, an overabundance of Northern Pike have created problems for the thriving of other species, such as sunfish or stocked walleyes. The species at the top of the food chain that causes the biggest problem, however, is human beings. Homo sapiens. Yes, those of us able to read, (or write) this article.

That human beings are the biggest problem around Serpent Lake, or anywhere in the world for that matter, came to me in a recent visit to the Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin explored and, as a result, promulgated the theory of evolution. Humans are at the top of the evolutionary chain and, as such, a part of nature itself. We are the result of nature taking its� course and producing a species that can dominate any other species or environment.

Normally, we, as humans, do not think of ourselves as part of nature. It seems, however, that we are, unless of course you do not believe in evolution. (Stop reading here if you don�t believe in evolution). Even if we do believe in evolution, however, we still think and act often as if we have no appreciable effect on nature. Science tells it differently, however, and we are reminded by daily news reports of problems with water and air pollution, global climate change and invasive or threatened species all caused by human activity.

To get to the point: our place in nature as creatures able to manipulate our environment in ways that no other species can is cause to think about every alteration we make to the piece of earth that we call our own or can change by our actions. Unlike Northern Pike who only go on instinct, we have the cognitive power to transcend our instincts and desires and do what would keep our environment healthy and protect other species..

We are not above nature; we are a part of it. At the same time we are only part of a larger whole with a unique power among all living things. Let us choose to live with respect for the earth and all that is upon it.