Baseline Creep in Cancun

Sasha Daucus of Doniphan, Missouri engages in the RadJoy Practice wherever she goes. Here is a story she sent us just yesterday from a beach near Cancun, Mexico.

Last week I was teaching an Avatar course in Mexico, near Cancun. When I got there, in addition to the amazing hospitality and good feeling of being there, I also discovered that an ecological change is bringing economic disaster to the area by way of a seaweed called sargassum.
This seaweed is flooding into the area in huge quantities, turning the turquoise Caribbean waters brown. It also washes up on shore, and as it dies it has a powerful odor of rotted eggs. As I researched, I learned that there wasn’t much information on its impact on wildlife, so at least right now, the concern is about its impact on tourism.
It is definitely hard to ignore, although people were attempting to do so by keeping their doors closed and staying off the beaches.
I was fortunate to be joined in my Earth Exchange by two of my Avatarcolleagues. As Avatars, we are trained to show up with appreciation in any situation, regardless. It was again encouraging to notice how showing up for the feelings, instead of ignoring them, was uncomfortable in the short run and beneficial in the long run. After crying and admitting to the sense of loss, I was able to open up to what was around me. Gazing brought such a sense of peace and connection and the calming sense of large scales of time.
Touching the seaweed, walking through the piles, wading in to the water was a nuisance, but not so awful. It was easy to see how “baseline creep” starts. (“Baseline creep” is a term that describes what we know to be the norm that is slowly changing.) I was born on the Pacific Ocean, so I am used to ocean water that has floating seaweed and isn’t crystal blue. It was very easy to begin to tell myself now, “Ok, it’s not good, but it’s not so bad.” Adaptation.
Where does this get us in the long run? How do we live in peace within the great web of the Earth’s ecology? These are the questions I am left with when doing an Earth Exchange in a place like this. The awareness of what is facing the people who depend on tourism in the area stays with me. Although I live far away, I feel its impact in people’s fear for the local consequences of human migration that this kind of change might very likely initiate. I wonder what many creeping changes will mean to the whole world as populations shift and attempt to adapt to global warming.
—Sasha Daucus

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

Image Credit:

  • SargassoEE Offering: Sasha Daucus


  • Friedmann Children 2 Copy

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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.

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