Friday, April 8, 2016

Geese: Are Incidents of Geese Dying a Warning of Impending Environmental Degradation? #AtoZChallenge Letter G

During April I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Each day, sans Sunday, offers an opportunity to write about a letter of the alphabet with the goal to write 26 posts.
April is National Poetry Month.
In March of 2015, 2,000 snow geese falling dead from the sky here in Idaho made national headlines. The Washington Post reported that the geese "basically just fell from the sky" during their migration from Mexico to Alaska. 

This story has seeped into my conscious thoughts often, particularly since Idaho Fish and Game found the dead geese in southeast Idaho close to where I live and since my husband works for the Idaho Department of Agriculture, which contracts with the EPA since that organization doesn't have offices in the state. 

Recently, approximately 200 additional gees fell dead from the sky. This most recent incident did not warrant reporting, and I couldn't find a reference to it via an internet search. 

Although the geese deaths resulted from arian cholera, according to authorities, the geese deaths alarm me on a scale comparable to that of the decimation of the bee population. 

Even though avian cholera is a bacterial infection, buried in the Washington Post story is an alarming note: 

Aerosol transmission--in this case, from birds landing, splashing or otherwise disturbing a body of infected water and spraying it onto nearby birds--is also thought to be possible. 

The speed at which stories bout wildlife and insect mass deaths leave the public consciousness concerns me. 

I've often lamented to my husband that shopping for groceries poses difficulty. Most of the products masquerade as food when in fact they are as stuffed with foreign substances--fillers such as high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, pesticide residue, dyes, etc.--as a Thanksgiving turkey is with stuffing.

Even Michael Pollen's mandate to eschew products grandma wouldn't recognize as food and to shop on the periferie  of the supermarket challenges the most discriminate chef. We have few options for organic produce in our community. 

I suspect that many of the autoimmune diseases on the rise result from the systematic poisoning of our food supply. Last fall I stopped drinking Diet Mountain Dew after hearing a student speech about additives in it. Brominated Vegetable Oil inhibits the body from metabolizing iodine, resulting in hopothyroidism. Excessive consumption of Mountain Dew may lead to memory loss. 

What other health risks do "food" manufactures deem appropriate collateral damage in the name of profiteering? 

Over the past ten years I've made significant changes in my diet to improve my health, but I know I'm not doing enough. 

Earlier this year I taught Mary Oliver's sublime poem "Wild Geese" in my AP Lit and Comp class. In it Oliver writes 

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

We are the wild geese. Our imaginations call on us to treat our animal selves as well as the animals among us with reverence and respect. We must ask, what is "our place in the family of things" and how can we preserve it so that "the world goes on," so that the wild geese can head home again.

Geese flying in formation. Image via Google images
labeled for noncommercial reuse. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Glenda,
    I'm glad I stumbled across your blog during the A-Z challenge. We have a lot in common: I'm a retired English teacher (APLAC, but not APLIT), and am also concerned with healthy food and raising awareness of poisons in our environment, especially those hiding on our grocery shelves. Thanks for sharing the lovely poem. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts.
    @RhondaGilmour from
    Late Blooming Rose