save the Bay

In the fourth grade,
she had to make a “Save the Bay” poster.

It was beautiful,

and we hung it on the kitchen wall.
It had pictures of colorful fish and crabs—
seahorses and starfish
who were all asking for help saving their home.

They pointed out that marine life is dying
because of runoff and erosion.
They suggested planting trees and grass and shrubs
to prevent runoff and help the Bay.

Their final point was:
“If the Bay dies, there will be no water
on which to have water sports.”

That bothered me—so utilitarian—
not just so human-centric, but human-pleasure-centric.
Isn’t the Bay more important
than the means of our leisure?

But then, making a Nutella sandwich for a girl’s lunch,
looking at the poster on the wall in front of me,
it occurred to me.
Based on her poster it was clear:
from the perspective of marine life,
the main reason humans might accept the need
to make significant differences
in lifestyle and cultural assumptions
to save the Bay—
the main reason humans might prioritize
addressing a significant environmental threat
would be to protect their leisure activities.

And I wondered, does she know what she did?
If so, when did she get that cynical?
That aware?
That honest?

And am I sad or impressed?


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