Jan 1, 2019

REFLECTIONS. Water is the organizing element.

Bellingham Bay 2018
Today the theme for the #2minbcphotochallenge7 (please join in and pick up litter!) on Instagram is "reflections" which reminded me of the following column I wrote for the newsletter of the Hylebos wetlands 20+ years ago (the Hylebos basin drains to Commencement Bay on the Washington coast). It is interesting to reflect upon comparable present-day woes about air pollution, plastics in the oceans, and what we are doing to destroy our crops and drinking water. The non-humans are of course suffering greatly both as individuals and populations.


Water is the organizing element. An art instructor said about ancient art from Persia to China that always "water is the organizing element." That's an interesting point, because a stream or lake, oasis or fountain, so often holds a painting together as a composition. As in art, so in politics. Some say the long fighting in the "Middle East" is simply about water. The more comfortable societies have blossomed where water has been abundant and easy to tap. Water is the organizing element among people in a town too. Whether you're a thirsty soccer player or an avid gardener, water touches all lives and nourishes a quality of life for people and creatures that is reflective of its supply, health, and accessibility. When I was in college, I expected that trade would start up again sometime between the USA and China. I thought it would be smart if some Americans tried to learn Mandarin. I tried and thoroughly enjoyed trying! Currently there is trade going on. I feel we ought to put some brakes and shocks on this trend, though, by cautioning against unsustainable practices. These include, for example, mammoth city/highway construction in South China, heavy steel manufacturing polluting Shanghai's land and river, and a multitude of "affluenza" type projects that we are exporting without regard to consequences for the USA and China. Fifty timber companies are involved in the clear-cutting of Sumatra and the subsequent fire-setting. Even the protests of whole countries such as Malaysia didn't put a stop to it. There should have been a stop to it. More people need to be mindful and put some sense into things. There are researchers who are making headless frogs (from this, it will presumably develop that human body parts can be raised like livestock). There are researchers who are working to make pig hearts transplantable into humans. There are livestock farmers who want to supply the world. All these cloned sheep, pig factories, and other ventures will put a large strain on our land and rivers, and on our transportation systems. Recently I saw a video called "The Safety Secret." My employer owns this excellent 25-minute video which is available from American Media Incorporated (800-262-2557) for $485.- ($485!) It's an amusing tape pertaining to accident-prevention in the highway, office, industrial or home setting. It's pertinent to public safety, too. I recommend purchase of a video like this if a company, city staff, or individual can afford it, but if not, I'll go ahead and tell you that the secret is if people genuinely care, about themselves and others, then disasters can be prevented. Though delicate, there is still a beautiful natural area called the Hylebos Wetlands. Water filters through it. Water goes through the whole Puyallup Watershed onto the sea so that orcas can eat salmon and salmon can eat herring, so that rain can come down, so that ground may receive it and rivers and aquifers can rise. It's just amazing.