Every person has that one school subject that they continue to have nightmares about. For some it is Math (obviously not me considering my career choices so far…), for others it is English (Sentence diagramming, anyone?), for me it is science. The only science class I could ever force myself not to doodle my way through was chemistry and that was only because it was mostly math-related chemical equations. So bare with me now as I attempt to write an educated essay on biology.
I’m working hard to open myself up to more educational entertainment outside the realm of Johnny Depps new movie and where I can get a cheap massage (New School for Massage). Since I moved into my new apartment and no longer have to live like a caveman without cable or Internet, I watch more Discovery channel (this is mostly due to Doc’s aggressive claim to the remote most nights to watch Survivorman) and check out the National Geographic’s website (amazing photography). In this month’s Vanity Fair (lots of awesome articles in December’s issue as you can tell by now) I decided to try reading an article about some bamboo plant that plagues an area of India every 50 years (“Waiting for the Plague” by Alex Shoumatoff). When after 15 min my attention had not yet been seduced by the glossy ads for Bottega Venetta and Prada, I knew I was going to have to share this event with you. So lets take a moment to acknowledge the fact that Jen actually has some substance to her beyond her desire to live in a high-rise loft downtown and becoming a close and personal friend of Ashley Olsen…….Thank you. Now back to the bamboo (PS – did you know Big Boi from Outkast named his kid Bamboo? Reason #12,634,757 Outkast is wicked cool)
So there is a region in India called Mizoram where their main material for sustaining their lifestyle is the bamboo that grows in droves in the area. Once ever 48-50 years the bamboo flowers and grows fruit, after the fruit is picked the bamboo dies and regrows over the next few years. But the people of the area are plagued by rats during the time that the bamboo flowers, as the rats feed on the fruit. The people call this plague “mautam”. This puts the people in a battle for food, and consequently life, with rats. It also spawns the population of the rats. This is because normally adult rats eat their young. Sounds traumatic but it’s for survival due to the lack of what it is rats usually eat in the area. This keeps the rat population low and under control. But when the bamboo flowers and produces the fruit, the rats no longer have to have a feast of babies, but of fruit. This leaves the people of Mizoram in a state of desperation, with the bamboo dead and the rats attacking the fruit, they have no food to survive the following years until the new bamboo grows again. The people of Mizoram are in constant contest with the rats. Even when the bamboo is dormant (not producing the fruit), they spend most of their time learning about rats and planning for the next war to rage. Adding to this amazing and unbelievable account of what really happens in the world outside the urban jungle, in the real jungle, is the fact that the area Mizoram is one of the most secluded and hardest to reach corners of the world. They are a group far from the domestication and westernization of most of the world. I’m not exaggerating when I say their lives are sustained on bamboo. The author lists tables, barrels, houses, toys, all created from bamboo. They use the edible part (unscientific and I don’t have the article in front of me right now. Deal with it.) for the main portion of their diets. I feel like there is hope that the modernization and destruction of the environment will not overwhelm the whole planet when I hear about places like this that still survive without all the hoo haa of developed countries and Tyra Banks. The article notes that this circle of destruction that the bamboo goes through is probably to be reborn anew, to start over, start fresh. That maybe the whole planet will be ready to brush off all the oil and gas we create someday and destroy itself to start anew. Circle of Life. Hakuna Matata.
Its far fetched I know, to say the world is going to just dissolve into dust, giving a big “ef you” to humans. But I promise the article said it much more articulately, much more realistically, much more frightening. Like I finished the article and had a sudden need to go to the botanical gardens and give them a “Thanks for everything!” card
…..I should probably make Doc do a fact check on this entry before I make a foul out of myself with this Green Love protest…..