Beautiful blood-red aphids (Aphididae, Homoptera) on native Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis, Asteraceae)

Source: Treebeard’s Flickr stream


Gardening is plagued by a speciesist fallacy that I would summarize as a “Don’t like it? Kill it” approach. This approach encourages a lack of empathy, values aesthetics over suffering and death, and ultimately contradicts why many of us garden to begin with. We garden because we actually like nature and how we treat it should reflect that. This blog post is intended to speak out against the typical gardening approach that values human pleasure over all else. If you found it, likely because you don’t want to kill aphids or other bugs to remove them, hopefully you agree.

One of the first steps to wanting to remove aphids and other insects peacefully is turning them from objects into subjects. We should view them as if they were another person. At the very least, we should consider them to be similar to a cat or dog in what moral obligations we have towards them. This is a huge step up from seeing them as a pest or as no more worthy of our consideration than dirt. One way we can do that is by trying to understand aphids on their own terms.

Continue reading: Vegan Feminist: How to Get Rid of Aphids and Other Garden Bugs Without Killing Them.