We all remember Dr. Ian Malcolm, the annoyingly egotistical mathematician and chaos theorist from the Jurassic Park books and movies. Malcolm confidently predicted that, for all of its technology, Jurassic Park was a fundamentally unstable creation that would inevitably fail because “life finds a way.” He was right, of course.
His statement has proven to be equally true as it applies to the relentless advance of the dreaded Asian carp. An “electric barrier” was created to keep the carp from moving up the Mississippi River and into the Great Lakes. Now the carp have been caught past the barrier, only six miles from Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes communities are tremendously concerned that the destructive fish will ruin the sports fishing and recreational boating industries on the Great Lakes, and Members of Congress from the surrounding states have now proposed legislation to permanently separate the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes in order to keep invasive species out.
Let’s hope that any action gets taken in time, but I think Ian Malcolm would point out that six miles is not a very long distance. He might predict that if a fish was caught only six miles away, there is a good chance that other members of that species have already traversed the six-mile distance — and if they haven’t, they could jump, crawl, sprint, or be carried past whatever barrier is erected in their path. Asian carp, he might suggest, will somehow find a way.