The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Is THIS What Our World Has Come To?

My sister, Dr. Kirsten the biologist, has recently published an article in a conservation journal focusing on the impact of the 1935 damming of the Colorado River on a now endangered marine fish, the Totoaba. 

The change in their habitat has slowed their growth, delaying maturation and thus spawning. The impact was documented by comparing prehistoric otoliths (ear bones) found in aboriginal shell middens, with modern, post-dam otoliths. 

It’s a teensy bit technical, but the bottom line is because of our ever increasing urban need for water, the earth’s natural balance is thrown off and over time the resulting change in habitat can no longer support many species. 

Two of my kids had field trips this week so it took me three days to read the seven-page article, but immediately I drew a parenting corollary.  

The impact of urban sprawl, big box store malls sprouting like toxic mushrooms in open pastures, huge home theater sized SUVs, soulless stucco McMansions and drive-through Starbucks, has eliminated our youth habitat.

Because of the dwindling number of places where our kids can safely hang out unsupervised and be kids, there is a delay in human maturation. (Not that I'm encouraging river spawning.)

In current youth habitats there's too much traffic, too many electronic diversions, too much stress to achieve, accomplish and be a resume kid.  The juveniles stay juveniles much longer (boomerang kids?).   I'll need to do some earbone core samples to support my theory, but I think I'm on to something.

By Mary Allison Tierney

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Your blog reminded me of two things:

1) David James Duncan wrote a book called My Story As Told By Water, lamenting, among many things, the negative effects of damming -- one being the extinction of fish species that have been forging their ways up river instinctually since before dinosaurs were even around. Made me think more intentionally about how I/we use water. How fabulous that your sister wants to report on and reverse that trend.

2) My friend heads up the Children and Nature Network,, a super organization that seeks to heighten awareness among parents and kids re: the power of connecting with our natural world.

Anyway, I'm glad you wrote this post, another shot in the arm. Thanks.
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