Thursday, April 24, 2008


When I climbed into bed last night, I was happy to have a new issue of Saveur to read. I was a charter subscriber, so I have every issue going back to No. 1. Lately, I am letting my 35-year-old subscription to Gourmet expire. Curling up with glossy issues of food magazines so that I can travel to distant cultures in my head has been a favorite pastime all my life, but in the last few years, I feel that I am paying for the privilege of reading special advertising sections. Saveur seemed to be holding onto its integrity a little more than Gourmet, but I think after last night's reading, I will let it expire also. Most of my newer recipes come from perusing the Internet these days to fill specific needs.

While I was trying to sort out the magazine articles from the advertising, Saul was watching a documentary about a phenomenon that is killing oceans and seas all over the world. The gist of it was that we are so heavily fishing that we have removed most of the sardines and small fish that eat a type of plankton that when it dies naturally, sinks to the bottom in such large quantities that its rotting causes the proliferation of methane and other harmful gases at the bottom. After a certain amount accumulates, it explodes upward and causes the water to change from blue to yellow, creating a horrible stench, and causing such a huge amount of fish kill that you wouldn't believe that there were that many fish in the sea.

After he fell asleep, and I had finished with my magazine, another documentary followed which talked about the amount of plastic floating in the oceans. There is one vast area where the currents flow in a circular motion and trap all the debris in the center, like a toilet bowl that can never flush. Some of the plastic in that area has been there since the dawn of the age of plastic. When samples were gathered, it was discovered that there was actually more plastic than plankton in the water. All this was discovered because baby albatrosses were dying out and when opened up, it was discovered that their stomachs were full of plastics fed to them by their mothers. Then, the documentary talked about plastic baby bottles and how putting them through the dishwasher 10 times caused them to leach out many more times the amount of a harmful chemical as when they are new.

When I woke up in this morning, the Today show was talking about rice being rationed because climactic conditions around the world had caused the price to double and people to start hoarding it. Although it is an absolutely beautiful day outside, I can't help but feel that an axe is about to fall. Gas is expected to reach $4 a gallon by summer, a million more houses are being foreclosed in the next few months and people on television are finally starting to acknowledge that we are in a recession, not just heading toward one. My husband has no trouble sleeping after watching these documentaries, and my children have always thought I take all these things too much to heart. This morning, I feel sort of like I did after reading about the coming AIDS epidemic back in the early 1980s. My life goes on in a fairly normal way, but I worry about the future of our country and the world and what all these changes will mean for the quality of life of my grandchildren.

1 comment:

Ari said...

Hardships are hard enough to face when they present themselves. During our short time on earth, we can only do our best to stave them off.

I stand by my assertion that it is a pity to spend any significant part of the good times conjuring up negative thoughts.

You guys watch too many documentaries. I may watch some mindless crap sometimes, but I don't think that makes me ignorant.