Swamp Love

swamp love © pam lazos

Today, February 14th, is Valentine’s Day, a universal day of love. But is there something more to Valentine’s Day than overpriced roses and chocolates? Let’s discuss.

The Greeks had seven different words for love which you can read more about here if you are interested. The cliff notes version goes like this:
eros — romantic passionate love;
philia — intimate, authentic friendship;
ludus — playful, flirtatious love;
storge — unconditional, familial love;
philtautia — self-love;
pragma — committed, companionate love; and
agápe — empathetic, universal love.

I’d like to focus on the last one, agápe, something in very short supply at this time in our collective history. Agápe is the love of everything: God, nature, our dogs and cats, the people who drive us batshit crazy, the glorious sunrise, a beautiful snowfall, anything in the world and beyond. If we’re ever going to get back to balance on this planet, we all need a little more agápe in our lives, and perhaps a little less individualism, but that’s a topic for another blog post.

This post is about swamp love. So what if the Greeks didn’t have a word for swamp love? A lot of them lived on islands; it may have been a given.

reflections © pam lazos

There are four types of wetlands in the U.S. and one of them is a swamp. The other three are marshes, bogs and fens.  All are critical to clean water since wetlands serve as nature’s own little wastewater treatment plant.

While the regulatory definition of a wetland is complicated, the average person recognizes wetlands as wet and mucky places that hold standing water, i.e., not a housing developer’s favorite track of land. Therein lies the tension.

Wetlands are important for a variety of reasons: they control flooding, acting as a safe harbor for flood waters to recede slowly rather than rushing off downstream via stormwater drain conduits; they filter out toxins — such as heavy metals, oily contaminants and excess fertilizers and pesticides that would otherwise reach the rivers, streams and groundwater — by capturing them in their soils; and they provide a home to a variety of flora and fauna that thrive in watery places. Among other things, they’re beautiful.

Coastal wetlands act as a barrier between the mainland and the ocean, giving that vast body of water the space to expand and contract as storms and winds dictate, providing a much needed buffer in times of severe weather, while freshwater wetlands often act like the primordial soup of our humble beginnings for varieties of critters that need a sloshy place to get started. If you take anything away from the last paragraph it should be this: a healthy wetland ecosystem is great for the planet and all the humans, critters and vegetation that live on it.

February 2nd marked the 51st anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance,  signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. This inter-governmental treaty sought to assure that the world would conserve and protect its wetlands and the attendant resources.  The U.S. joined the Ramsar Convention on April 18, 1987. https://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/factsheet-ramsar.pdf

Perhaps it is coincidence, perhaps not, but located in Southern Iraq and Iran lie the Mesopotamian Marshes, also known as the Iraqi Marshes, once the largest wetland ecosystem in the world — before they were systematically drained by Saddam Hussein — now reduced to 10% of their former glory.  None of us knows what species of plants or animals were lost in the draining, but something tells me the world is a little poorer for it.

Of the 2,430 wetland sites designated worldwide, 41 of them are located in the U.S.  February 2nd, the day the Ramsar treaty was signed, is globally recognized as World Wetlands Day.

Maybe it’s not time to drain the swamp at all, but to ensure it continues to thrive and grow.

Happy Swamp Love Day!

If you want to learn more about the Mesopotamian Marshes and the Marsh Arabs who live there, read her debut novel, Oil and Water, about oils spills and green technology, and yes, wetlands.

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in Uncategorized, world wetlands day and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Swamp Love

  1. da-AL says:

    If you think it might be fun or helpful to have my followers (who total about 10k across my social media) meet you with a post you’d do for my site, here are general guidelines for guest blog posts: https://wp.me/p6OZAy-1eQ GUESTING

    Liked by 1 person

  2. da-AL says:

    wonderful important post, Pam — thanks for informing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post, Pam! I plan to share this with my class in the future. It’s such important information,

    PS: The link to the list of wetlands in the US is no longer working. Here’s the alternative I found in a search of the site: https://www.fws.gov/search?$keywords=%22wetlands%22.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Linda Schaub says:

    I liked the assorted words for love that the Greeks had – one for each day of the week it seems. Swamp love – that’s something unique and I didn’t know there was a day to commemorate wetlands. Sadly it must compete with Groundhog Day. We have a relatively new refuge wetland that opened in October 2020. It was once an industrial site along the Detroit River, except for a small portion of the refuge that was never used for industry and that portion is therefore the only pristine part of the Detroit River shoreline. I hope to visit it more this year. They had significant flooding each time it rained and it rained a’plenty last year. The picture of the reflection is beautiful Pam – you captured peace with your camera.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Very interesting Pam. We’ve got to stop upsetting the balance before it’s too late.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Susan Scott says:

    Valentine’s Day turned into agape – deep and abiding love for all that Mother Nature provides. We have a few wetlands here in my slice of the world, treasured places. Belated VD hug to you Pam xx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. MariHoward says:

    Thanks for this interesting piece. We have a lovely though small wetland-style nature reserve about 10 mins away – it used to be used by builders etc as a rubbish dump, and when developers began to work on a disused factory site nearby was threatened to be made part of that – thankfully it was far too boggy, and had Reed Beds so a group of interested neighbourhood people managed to take the matter up and as far as the top of government, and it has been preserved! The wilder swampy bits are now a bit more contained, as ponds, the reed beds flourish and are home to various species including Reed Buntings, we have several rare plants in the drier bits and moer than one rare damselfly and butterfly. Developers can be a real threat – and when they were working near the now-nature reserve we could hear pile drivers – so how safe those houses are….! But, anyway, this little island of wetland and meadows has been saved for now, thankfully. Small steps toward preservation! https://trap-grounds.org.uk/

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks for showcasing the wetlands, Pam. They sure do need our love ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Mick Canning says:

    Gavin Maxwell’s ‘A Reed Shaken By The Wind’ is another brilliant read about the Mesopotamia Marshes and the Marsh Arabs, written before they were drained.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. lampmagician says:

    First, I’ve never known that the Greeks have so many words for love, Fascinating and very knowledged.
    It is undoubtedly a significant swamp day for us all. We have to carry it on consciously.
    I was a young man those days though I have heard about this Eskandar Firouz and his effort to do such a good act. Of course, Ramsar is one of the most beautiful areas in northern Iran. He could do it well as he had an excellent connection to the Shah of Persian and his very famous Prime Minister Ala. 😉 Brilliant post, dear Pam. Thank you. 🙏💖

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      I think I need to learn more from you on this, Aladin. I’m fascinated by the wetlands in Iran/Iraq and included them in my novel. I hope to visit them someday — if the world ever calms down — and see what the restoration efforts look like. The cradle of civilization! ❤️🙏💕👏♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  11. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – they’re essential to nature – they help so much … plants, insects, birds. The draining of the Mesopotamia Swamp was appalling … I just hope we learn to look after our wonderful earth … take care and thanks for this – I loved seeing all the Greek words for love … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Hilary with your cheery spirit the Greeks should have given you your own word for love! 💗 💕 ❤️ And your country wins with the most Ramsar sites — 175!!👍👍👍

      Liked by 1 person

      • hilarymb says:

        Well of course I’m cheery – I’m hilarious at times too?! Do we – well that’s great … I know our volunteers do wonders helping the conservation societies and organisations.

        A while ago I heard that archaeology of a very early trackway (over 5,000 years ago) – ours here was younger, but the fact they had been preserved by being covered with water – was ignored … as there was no obvious protected Ramsar site here … strange – the archaeologists recorded this ‘error’ … so could be noted for other sites. The earth changes so much … cheers Hilary

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pam Lazos says:

        On that note, when I was in Ireland I saw a many thousands year old leathery man who had been found in a peat bog practically intact, skin and all. Cause of death was blunt trauma to the head. The crazy part was because of the anaerobic conditions his skin was still on the bones, leathery looking but there!
        And yes, you are also hilarious! 🙏😍😂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. TanGental says:

    Having lived in a wetland area of the New Forest for many years before moving to the smoke I can well understand their fascination. My dad used to rail against drainage schemes making him unpopular with those who wanted to plant trees for cash crops. I didn’t appreciate his irritation then and these the self same organisations eg the Forestry Commission hold themselves out as saviours. Still at least they’ve come to the party 40 years late

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Lady Pam… May i send you the biggest hug for turning this neatly from Valentine’s Day to Wetlands. Something we all need to love a little more xxxxxxx

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I’m surprised that Trump didn’t withdraw the USA from that treaty. He probably didn’t know about it. Otherwise he would have.

    Liked by 4 people

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