Sage is quirky, beautiful, athletic, and driven to make a difference in the world using art and photography. She doesn’t have time for love. So what is she doing even thinking about Wesley Williams?
True, she finds it hard to breathe in his presence. But if the man didn’t share a mission that coincides with her own, she might not be thinking too hard about him.
Though they have very different approaches – he’s using science, and she’s using art – to help farmers thrive, the concern is the same. Toxic chemicals used on farms are killing farm families and the environment. Seeing the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone showed Sage the effects of farming chemicals on other areas. The nitrogen and phosphorus from farming chemicals leach from the soil into the water table, then into the Mississippi River, and end up in the Gulf. These chemicals create an imbalance in the water’s natural chemistry, leading to an overgrowth of phytoplankton that essentially suffocates the organisms that generally thrive in the Gulf. This imbalance is known as hypoxia.
The science behind Sage’s story is inspired by what I learned from Dr. Nancy Rabalais, a MacArthur Genius Fellow. She teaches and researches at Louisiana State University’s College of the Coast & Environment.
I was fortunate to interview Doctor Rabalais via Zoom in early 2020. I had hoped to see her in action later that year, but with parts of the nation in lockdown, that dream dissolved.
However, you can be inspired by her words and work; check out this fantastic Ted Talk from 2017.
*Note, dead zones exist in other parts of the world, also.