Tough choices, but we can make them

To the Editor:I was quite happy about the balance in the article about protecting moths last week.

At the end of the article the author talked about the fact that there is nothing unusual about extinctions, but the problem is when the human population speeds things up. But the other factor mentioned is absence of natural predators. The expert that was interviewed talked about the explosion of the deer population because human settlers hunted mountain lions and wolves until there were none left in New England. This is all well and good, but does this explain the growing deer population on our Island? Were there ever wolves or mountain lions out here?

Moths are different. Their young, the caterpillars, are ravenously hungry and can defoliate trees in a short time. Then we have to make an important decision: which is more important to us, protecting the moths that eat the trees, or protecting the trees, which could become endangered because of the moths?

Can you imagine, if some day some brilliant scientist discovers a way to safely wipe out the tick population, so that the tick becomes an endangered species? Will the state protect the tick so we don’t wipe it out?

We have to be willing to decide things like this and not just protect everything. I think we are smart enough to decide that some things are worth protecting and some are not.

Jim Osborn

Vineyard Haven

Jim Osborn is a staff member in the production department of The Martha’s Vineyard Times.