fish

Jonah At Sea

Illustration by Rick Stromoski

THE MORE I READ the story of Jonah nestled among the serious Minor Prophets of the Old Testament, the more fantastic and hilarious it gets. Everything is turned upside-down.

Jonah’s story follows Amos, who rips into rich people who “lie on beds of ivory and lounge on their couches.” It precedes Micah, whose Lord calls us “to do justice and to love kindness.” But Jonah spends his energy running away from Yahweh. In fact, Jonah is never even called a prophet in the book that bears his name. His interests and concerns are completely different from the Deity who has called him. Only entombment inside a “great fish” will drive his bedraggled, stinking self to the city that needs to repent. Even so, Jonah will perceive his surprising success as an utter failure.

But that’s getting ahead of the story. Most Hebrew prophetic books are collections of oracles unmoored to narrative, but Jonah’s tale has a setting, characters, and a plot! If you didn’t learn this in children’s Sunday school, here are the bare bones of the action:

Yahweh tells a man named Jonah to go east to the city of Nineveh to cry out against its evil. But Jonah flees in the opposite direction on a ship traveling west. A huge storm blows in, so when Jonah says it’s his fault, the sailors reluctantly throw him overboard. The storm immediately stops. A “great fish” swallows Jonah for three days and nights. Then God makes the fish vomit Jonah out on dry land.

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July 2015
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Do Fish Need My Ibuprofen?

The following reflection is a sidebar for "A Watershed Moment" by Ched Myers.—The Editors

I LIVE IN THE Lake Champlain watershed in Vermont. It’s important for me to think about water as belonging to God. It should not be privatized, bottled and sold, or polluted for private benefit. It should not be illegal to collect rain water; poor women should not have to walk great and dangerous distances to collect drinking water for their families.

As I have studied toxicology, I have learned that if I have a headache and choose to take ibuprofen, the fish in my watershed are also taking ibuprofen. In particular, I have been looking at what happens as plastics are made and what happens when we’re finished using them, as they wash out from landfills into the oceans, and as the byproducts of their combustion blow out of smokestacks from incinerators. I study the consequences of disposable culture on our water, and how that impacts both human and wildlife health.

Sasha Adkins teaches environmental studies with a focus on plastic-related endocrine disruption.

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The Sacred Fish

You can’t desire to catch the sacred fish
as much as he desires to be caught
& yet
he darts through the dim depths
with tail swerve & swish
laughs with the joy of glistening fins
at huge holes in your net
through which he swims

To get the shining coin from his mouth
is worth selling all you have
To get him         even better
Everything you know about him
wavers in uneven light

Just below the surface
so it’s barely wet
you let down your net
as he dives to the bottom
You seek the depths
as he leaps through waves
You search the shallows
as he heads for open water
& your tattered nets come up empty

If you let him
he’ll repair them himself
trim knotted clumps     & untie tangles
Selecting the right fibers
he’ll tear & twist
the sinews of your heart into fine mesh
stretch them as thin as a pin
as wide as your whole being
a needle-shimmer piercing your soul

Better is one day in his boats
than thousands elsewhere

D.S. Martin, a Canadian poet living in Ontario, is author of Poiema and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed.

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QUIRK: Geodesic Domes and Urban (Rooftop) Farming

Image of the geodesic dome rooftop garden via http://www.conceptualdevices.com
Image of the geodesic dome rooftop garden via http://www.conceptualdevices.com

 

According to our friends at Good.is, Buckminster Fuller'sgeodesic dome is making a comeback with urban farmers. 

A new dome-based prototype promises an affordable method of rooftop aquaculture for apartment and commercial buildings—as the website calls it, getting "fish from the sky." The Globe / Hedron bamboo domewould house an aquaponics system—a mini-ecosystem in which plants clean the water where fish swim and fish waste fertilizes the plants—capable of feeding 16 people year-round. The unique structure of the dome, designed by Conceptual Devices, would support the weight of the fish tank, enabling installation on flat roofs without adapting the structure of the building. The design firm is partnering with Zurich-based group UrbanFarmers, which developed the aqauponic technology, and they're currently fundraising on indiegogo to get the project off the ground.

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