Something So Small

As I have been creating my upcoming Earth Party! biology curriculum (written for elementary-aged homeschool students), I have been in the space of considering single-celled microbial life. It is quite amazing that single-celled oraganisms exist and proliferate, with unique features such as cilia (hairs) or flagella (thread-like tails) to help propel them around.

I am an American. For my 40+ years on the planet, I have always believed our country was impenetrable—we had all the genius we needed in places like Silicon Valley. We have all the military prowess required to defend our great country in the Armed Forces. We have all the conveniences we need—all of our packaged foods, meal delivery services, and heck, our beloved Uber and Amazon.com.

Viruses like Covid-19 are placed in the gray area with respect to life. They are not alive; yet when they attach to a living host, they replicate and multiply. (The scientific community is divided as to whether they are living or not.)

Striking it is–that nature, and a single-celled organism that is not really alive could levy such a bounty, could hold us all hostage. How can an entity SO SMALL, — inspire so much fear, and beat us (up) so badly?

Nature is full of paradoxes—the largest mammal on earth, the blue whale, eats krill, one of the smaller marine invertebrates. As a group or a swarm, these krill form a large mass known for swimming around the Arctic and Antarctic in the summer.

We often consider ourselves distinct from nature, and (for the most part) excluded from the natural world. We are a part of it! Just as we can plow and clear-cut other animals habitats — so our environment can be grossly invaded and threatened by other forms.

Moments like the Covid-19 pandemic, school us that we are Homo sapiens; we are a part of a broader picture — connected with all of life. As such, we should humbly appreciate our role as the top of that pyramid. If you are looking for a curriculum to teach about the connection between ourselves and the rest of life on earth, stay tuned for our new biology curriculum.

And, may your family stay safe, and stay well.

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