Haiku: Octopus

I read an article in Scientific American on the topic of consciousness in non-human species. A group of cognitive neuroscientists got together and stated that subjective consciousness likely occurs in the minds of all mammals, and there is even evidence that suggests octopuses might be self-aware (octopi is no longer the preferred plural form, which seems weird to me but I don’t make the rules). The group formalized their stance in a paper known as, The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness.
It’s not hard for me to believe primates, elephants, whales, and dolphins experience subjective consciousness. It’s a lot more difficult to think about a self-aware octopus out there in the vast ocean, living a brief and solitary life, constantly in fear of top predators lurking all around.
If the octopus does have a sense of self, if its behavior is mostly thought-driven, it would likely have at least an inkling of its own mortality. All this made me wonder if an octopus could get sad and lonely at times. Then I wrote a haiku about it.

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with eight arms, three hearts

self-aware cephalopod

wants someone to hug

Haiku: Holocene

As a general rule, I try not to get too political on my blog. Sometimes I get fired up about something, and I just can’t help myself. Today, I’d like to clarify my stance on climate change.
I believe human activity over the last century has had a detrimental effect on the environment. Some people don’t believe this, and that’s their prerogative. They like to cite how our planet is constantly in flux and the Earth naturally cycles in and out of extreme climate conditions. And I agree – over the course of millions of years, the Earth will experience a range of radically different climates.
However, I find it irresponsible to use this argument as a way to justify the ever-expanding carbon footprint we’re stamping into our mother planet. I’ve yet to see a scientific model that demonstrates how a surging human population, utterly dependent on fossil fuel, doesn’t exert significant pressure on the world’s delicate ecosystem.
And I know I’m as guilty as anyone else. My car doesn’t run on good vibes – it has an internal combustion engine under the hood. My electric bill shows up like clockwork every month, and I’m sure most of that electricity I used is generated by a coal-fired process.
I try to be conscientious. I’ve scaled back to a four-cylinder car instead of six. I use energy efficient appliances. I bring my own cloth shopping bags to the grocery store instead of using paper or plastic.
In the end, I haven’t done nearly enough. Most of us haven’t. Maybe there’s still time to rein it back in, maybe not. Anyway, today’s haiku is a reaction to the frustration I feel regarding this issue. Questions, comments, and constructive criticism are always welcome.

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onlookers gawk at

the Holocene suicide –

we’re all complicit