Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - July 19, 2006)
Its not the cattails that are different
Comedians are notorious for having a special talent for finding that pinpoint, raw
hotspot of our collective guilty consciousness and exploiting that point to our
chagrin with great guffaws.
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
|A common sight, cattails
gently swaying in the breeze. Cattails have been a natural source of
food, bedding, habitat, nursery and basket making for thousands of
Better to laugh than cry. Pain is easier to tolerate than a persistent itch.
The other night I overheard a comedian appearing as a zoned airhead, proclaiming,
Yeah man. Everythings a circle in the circle of life. Were all
one. Were all connected.
Ouch. How many times have I said that? How many times have others said that?
Audubon, Conservation International, Defenders, Green Peace, National Geographic,
National Wildlife Federation, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Wildlands Project,
World Wildlife Fund, to name a few. Is anyone listening?
I work with children a great deal of my time. Its common knowledge that if
you repeatedly say the same thing to a child they will turn off, become deaf, and
discontinue hearing that phrase anymore. Are we turned off? Has the itch become so
intolerable that wed rather put up with the pain?
You are going to hear a lot about cattails in the future. The poor old cattail has
become quite the controversy. Although somehow this 9-foot tall native, Typha
latifolia, remained in check for thousands of years as a useful source of food,
bedding, basket weaving, refuge and nursery for wildlife, its now reproducing
out of control, spreading like wildfire, pushing out other natives, blocking
channels and overtaking the Everglades. Scientists estimate it is spreading at the
rate of 2 to 9 acres a day.
Scratching your head about now? What changed? Did the cattails evolve to become a
new superstar cattail with bionic properties? Nope, still the same old cattail. The
environment the cattail lives within has changed. Cattails have evolved to live in
harmony within a low nutrient environment such as the Everglades. That environment
has vastly been altered over the past 100 years. The key words here are: excessive
and phosphorus. Origin of excessive phosphorus: fertilizer used by sugarcane
growers and other agricultural operations, as well as construction runoff from
The now necessary removal of cattail invasion has become of national concern, in
other words: a very big itch. Perform an Internet search with this string of words:
phosphorus sugar cane Florida Everglades and you will find fodder for
either the next science fiction movie or gritty comedy sketch.
Fertilizers and pesticides are used in excess. The overuse of these chemicals is
directly affecting our physical and environmental health. These chemicals are being
poured into our environment in vast quantities and alarming rates. They are used
beyond our need for survival, protection of food sources and livelihood, but to
maintain swathes of green grass lawns, the perfect rose or weedless playing
As veteran activist Merryl Hammond puts it, Why would anyone spray chemical
poisons in a suburb, where the only crop people are trying to grow is
Are we making the connections, drawing the line from point A to B? The problem,
the pain, has become the cattails. That pain isnt
going to disappear until the source of the itch is resolved. Connect
back to nature.
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.