Yes. Eutopication. I decided to ignore that little red line in my text editor by invoking my license to be poetic. With your permission I shall continue on with why I believe a new word is necessary in the English language.
Still in keeping with the World Water Week theme, Eutopication addresses the more specific purpose and scope “From Hilltop To Ocean”. There are a lot of buzz words in that little section such as— ‘water communities’, ‘management communities’, ‘green’ to ‘blue’ and ‘grey’ water, “significantly reduce water pollution”, “significantly improve wastewater treatment”, hilltop-to-ocean (H2O)’, ‘ridge-to-reef’, ‘prevention to cure’— but they are really just fancy ways of avoiding the D-word. The dreaded D-word that strikes terror in the heart of a Woman Not Waiting.
Perhaps the term “Eutrophication” would be more palatable? Although I imagine it would taste somewhat like rotten eggs. It certainly is more aligned with the tone of the conference. By shielding our emotional sensibilities from the hard-hitting facts behind such a smooth flowing word (try it with a Spanish “r”…eutrrrrrrophication…it just rolls off the tongue like butter), it creates a distance between our existence on planet earth and our home on planet water.
So let’s expose the bare bottom of it.
“Eutrophication” as defined in Wikipedia is an “ecosystem response to the addition of artificial or natural substances, such as nitrates and phosphates, through fertilizers and sewage, to an aquatic system”. Now that sounds pretty innocuous, right? Ah but the D-word is in the details: the ecosystem response.
Here are a few polka-dots on our polka-dot path to sustainability:
- Fertilizers containing nitrates are used in farming (chemical fertilizers from the fossil fuel industry are particularly nasty as they increase our ability to produce crops way beyond what the natural land is capable of)
- Excess nitrates and lots of poop from the factory farms wash massive amounts of nitrates into rivers
- Rivers flow to oceans
- Nitrates are nutrients that feed phytoplankton which leads to algea blooms that would make the Queen Of Planktonia proud
- Dead algae become oxygen outlaws at the bottom of the ocean
- Life suffocates
and such is the recipe for a dead zone.
If you add to that all the phosphates (more yummy nutrients) we flush down our sewage systems through detergents, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, household cleaning products…the list is endless, then you see why we humans like to avoid even thinking about the D-word. No one wants to feel like the grim reaper.
Maybe we’d respond more openly if we imagined our silly habits as a parody of the Monty Python dead parrot sketch, where a chemical corporations would be trying to sell us a eutrophic ocean-in-an-aquarium. It might go something like this:
Customer: I wish to complain about this ocean-in-an-aquarium I purchased not half an hour ago from this very corporation.
Corporation: Oh yes, the Caribbean Blue. What’s wrong with it?
Customer: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it…it’s dead. That’s what’s wrong with it.
(uneasy laughter from the audience)
Corporation: It’s probably pining for the fish.
Customer: Pining for the fish? What kind of a talk is that?
Customer: This ocean wouldn’t breathe if I put 4000 volts through it. It’s bleeding demised…it’s passed on… this ocean is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and has gone to meet its maker. This is a late ocean. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life it rests in peace…It is a NON-ocean…
Now back to the serious stuff.
Coastal waters are choking all across the world. Click this map from NASA too see the extent of the challenge we face.
How can we reverse the trend before all of the coastal waters connect into one gigantic death trap? Should we launch a world wide war on Eutrophication?
Enter the concept of Eutopication. Fighting against a nasty habit will only bring more of the same as we struggle and eventually let the entrenched paradigm in our subconscious take over again. Pushing back against negative forces just brings on more of the same. Wars breed more wars.
But working towards a common dream is much more powerful and inspiring. Working towards Eutopication from “Hilltop To Ocean” is a worthy endeavour indeed. We can create the Eutopia we seek in the afterlife right NOW, here on Earth.
Here are a few simple solutions that will make a huge impact.
- Stop using phosphate-infested products— our grandparents did quite well without them. Proof? You and I exist!
- Cut back on the meat— too much protein leaches our own nutrients anyway. We whiz them out and get chronic diseases that require pharmaceuticals later in life. Meat once or twice a week with a balanced non-animal protein diet is just fine
- Eat less— your heart will love you, your waistline will love you, and most importantly YOU will love you for caring 🙂
- Buy organic and local— this is good all around in so many ways
Eutopication is where our future is at, so let’s rally for that.