GPS

Ecological Homeostasis

Erincin, Serap. “Ecological Homeostasis.” Global Performance Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, 2021. https://doi.org/10.33303/gpsv4n1a13

Serap Erincin

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Ecological Homeostasis

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A difference of 0.2 degrees Celsius.

This is all it takes for water to freeze. 

0.2 degrees…below 0.

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On my way to Mars,

I had a dream.

Several others accompanied me.

All had left Earth like me.

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and 0.2 degrees, is all it takes

for water

to become like air

when it reaches a hundred degrees.

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We were all ocean creatures,

whales,

turtles,

dolphins.

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This tiny disruption to our equilibrium,

that’s all it takes for life to slowly stop.

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On earth,

we had all drifted in the oceans’ currents,

riding them from the Sargasso Sea to the Mediterranean.

I recognized one of the killer whales.

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We all assume the ambient temperature of our surroundings at death,

whales,

humans,

sea dragons.

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Until then we are always in motion.

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A whale named Virginia.

I had heard her story

and of her daughter,

the calf Ofelia.

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Virginia carried Ofelia

for seventeen months

in her belly,

looked her in the eyes

for thirty minutes

once she was born

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till the poisonous waters of the Pacific Northwest

killed Ofelia.

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Each atom in vibration, constantly … moving with the universe.

And then

stillness

in motion.

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Virginia mourned for 17 days,

a day for every month her calf was in her belly,

swimming with little Ofelia’s dead body in her mouth

pushing her from one pole

to the other.

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The ideal temperature

of the human body is

36.5 degrees Celsius.

A little above that

you will burn in fever

with an infection or illness

traveling

around your body’s currents.

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I grew up with stories of Mars,

in the ever-distant future

in books,

movies,

poems.

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A little below that ideal temperature

you will slowly fall asleep

in hypothermia as your breathing slows down.

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On August 6th, 2012,

shortly after my dog who had been with me

my entire adult life died,

the Curiosity rover landed on Mars

to assess

the climate and geology.

Not just fiction,

we were looking for water on Mars now.

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Fragile is that balance.

We must be tender with our happy moments.

We are after all made mostly of water.

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That day I found a skinny little kitten,

hiding under a car,

looking for its mother.

I brought him food

every day

for a week

and the day it calmed its fears and got on my lap,

I named him Mars

with hope

of Curiosity’s landing.

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Like the ice caps,

glaciers,

icebergs, and ice shelves that melt with a difference of 0.2 degrees,

we too need to maintain that inner balance.

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Until I saw Virginia,

the whale on hunger strike,

the mourning mother

of the calf Ofelia.

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Like falling in love or falling asleep, we can resist,

but often we have no choice but to feel ill

when the balance of salt and temperature at our core is

broken

by forces beyond us.

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I had known of the whales’ suicides,

Virginia grieved for not only Ofelia,

but for hope,

with no baby whales surviving

the warming oceans

in a decade

in her pod.

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When the ice melts,

water warms,

oceans become acidic –

coral reefs bleach,

all color fades as they die

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Oysters,

mussels,

and urchins are left without shells.

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Starfish,

plankton disappear.

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And then algae,

fish,

dolphins,

and whales.

  

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When I was in space,

I listened to the stars,

the planets,

the sounds of Mars,

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The most

vulnerable

are always the first to get hurt

or

disappear,

the ones with the unusual looks,

rare sensitivities,

extraordinary colors,

sounds,

purposes.

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there was no hope,

all were filled with the sounds of the mourning mothers.

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