The Invasive Bradford Pear Tree is a Study in Human Behavior

My photo taken of invasive Bradford Pear trees through the window of a moving car

OMG! Have you seen these trees. I took the above photo from a moving car, so it’s not the best shot. Here’s the thing though. No tree in that photo was intentionally planted. Bradford Pears are highly invasive. They’re pretty easy to grow and became a favorite of homeowners looking to beautify their yards. However, the greenhouses and garden centers really should be ashamed of selling these trees.

They are taking over the state at the expense of indigenous plants that are naturally part of our ecosystem.

What makes it even worse is that the state has known for some time that these trees were bound to take over given an opportunity, but they allowed them to be sold anyway.

Indiana is one of a number of states that has a growing Bradford Pear tree problem.

Like most problems that we refuse to take proactive steps to deal with, it has now become a much harder and more expensive problem to solve.

This tells me at least five things about human behavior that I’ve watched play out over and over again in a multitude of scenarios.

  1. The average person doesn’t know very much.
  2. The experts might know more, but nobody will listen to them.
  3. We create many of our own messes.
  4. If there’s a hard way or an easy way to do something, humans usually pick the hard way.
  5. And, even though it’s always more expensive to fix a problem than to avoid a problem, we can’t seem to help ourselves.

The Bradford Pear situation isn’t a rare occurrence. This type of after-the-fact, even-though-we’ve-been-advised-in-advance way of coping with life’s problems is standard procedure.

Not just in Indiana mind you. Not just in the United States either.

Ultimately, we spend almost no time avoiding problems and most of our time creating problems for ourselves. When someone tries to force us to clean up our messes, we sometimes do but not always. Often we leave it for the next generation to fix, if they can find the gumption to take on what has finally become an intolerable problem.

No, I wasn’t looking for problems today when I set out to enjoy the weather at our nearby state park. I was merely taking advantage of almost summer-like temperatures when BOOM!

Field after field after field of Bradford Pear trees in full bloom assaulted my eyes, making it abundantly clear that oooops — we’d screwed ourselves again.

Let the cleanup campaign start while everyone rants about their taxes.

Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.

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