O Sting–Where is Thy Death?

This reversal of a Biblical verse (for the throngs no long familiar with that volume) is the word play by Tim Flannery, author of this NYT long-read about jellyfish called They’re Taking Over. The piece consists largely of a review and summary of Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean  by Lisa-ann Gershwin, with a foreword by Sylvia Earle.

I recommend it to your for your Sunday perusal and consideration. And perhaps a new volume for your delightful bedtime reading?

If we could only feed the starving masses, fertilize our fields with them and power our SUV’s with jellyfish, wouldn’t it be a different world?

I apologize if, after reading this, you hereafter have persistent dreams of being smothered and calf-roped and electrified by stings of these seemingly immortal and unstoppable ancient bags of goo.

Who would have thought the very oceans could succumb to the appetites of one species at the top of the supposed intelligence scale, making way for a global monoculture of one at the very bottom?

What a strange irony, don’t you think?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Oh dear, Fred. I am afraid to read this piece, and only partly because you warn that it is long, and I read very slowly.