Up here in the Northeast, mosquitoes are a big problem. Triple E and West Nile are perennial threats. Typically, states will spray in order to keep the bug populations in check and lower the risk of disease. But this year, Massachusetts won’t be spraying as much as they have in the past. Mass Audubon*, a private non-profit dedicated to wildlife preservation in Massachusetts, as well as other land owners have asked their properties to be exempt from the spraying, affecting some 60,000 acres state-wide. Their concerns are the effect the chemical will have on other wildlife and the ecosystem under their charge. Of course, the flip-side of this is potentially increasing the risk of mosquito-borne diseases in the Commonwealth.
Every decision has a trade-off. If Massachusetts sprays for mosquitoes, they will reduce the risk of disease in the Commonwealth but potentially harm other wildlife. Conversely, if Massachusetts cuts back on its praying, wildlife may be preserved but there would be the greater risk of mosquito-borne disease for humans and animals. ‘Tis truly a conundrum.
The point of this story is to reiterate that there is no such thing as a cost-less action. Everything has trade-offs, some which can be seen and some which may be hidden. There is no such thing as a free lunch, no matter what some would have you believe.
*In the interest of full disclosure, I have donated to Mass Audubon in the past and thoroughly enjoy their trails. However, I have received no compensation for this article.