Had a plan for my daily blog posts for half of November laid out until a 700-year-old piece of caribou fesces showed up in the news.
I’m pretty sure my work for #NaBloPoMo so far must come across not nearly as spontaneously creative as what I’ve read on posts from other participants. Yes, I’ve been working on my ideas for a long time, but haven’t yet cohesively written them down for my blog which is why I decided to join in. The objectives that I laid out in my first #NaBloPoMo post allowed me to plan a schedule of posts in advance for the first half of the month.
Then a pair of stories caught my attention listening to the national news on CBC radio Sunday morning. The first was becoming unfortunately and increasingly familiar – calls for stronger action by global leaders against the growing threat of climate change. The second concerns a possible consequence of climate change you’d normally wouldn’t think too much about.
Scientists exploring some mountains in the Yukon found pieces of 700 year old caribou dung in the ice core samples they had been drilling. Within that old caribou poop, they discovered they revived an ancient virus that was carried by the animal that dumped the material.
This ain’t Jurassic Park. The scientific community isn’t out to replicate that virus in hopes that people will pay money for petri dishes of ancient natural history. The concern is that if and when the Arctic ice continues to melt, viruses thought long gone may wake up and reenter an ecosystem that may not be adapted or prepared to deal with them.
Potentially disturbing as that is, it reminded me about some lessons from evolution that are often misunderstood. First is that the “survival of the fittest” mantra means fittest for a specific and defined environment. Evolution is often accompanied by thoughts of singular ideal models of creatures that are meant to conquer the Earth, but that is far from the case. Being the world’s strongest person doesn’t mean a thing if you’re dropped into the middle of a lake and you can’t swim.
The real key is that this world and its environment that nature, including ourselves, is constantly adapting to is not only amazingly diverse, but is also always changing. As much as that process is often portrayed to be a struggle, it also affirms that life itself, again including ourselves, should also be prepared to change and be diverse to face this evolving environment.
What this all says to me is that amongst the benefits we enjoy from freedom, a vital one is the ability to discover and explore our individual and unique identity. By enabling us to be ourselves, freedom also creates the diverse people that we were meant to be. What’s more, as much as our civilization seems to welcome some people more than others, a diverse and changing world means there is that much more places and opportunities for everyone to find where they fit in.
I have more to say about this in a later post that is consistent with the ideas I’m writing about for my blog and #NaBloPoMo (that was already part of the plan), but I hope that this one was more in the spirit of this challenge. As it is, the responses I made to posts by TabethaWelles and Hailey Reede about the New York City Marathon yesterday reminded me of what I learned from my experiences of that and other running events I took part in (should’ve just used that material for today’s post!).
When it comes to endurance challenges, whether they be 42 kilometer runs or writing daily blog posts for a month, no matter how much planning and preparation you make, welcome and be prepared to work with the unexpected that could otherwise threaten to throw you off course. Be open to take inspiration from them and, rather than just seeing them as obstacles, look for opportunities that can be used to enhance your work.
That way, you’ll be ready when the real shit hits the fan.