Do As The Romans Do In Flint Michigan


Yesterday morning I was catching up on the situation in Flint, MI. A few hours later, while preparing dinner–as part of my dinner-making ritual–I streamed a TV series. Somehow bingeing on TV shows is my newest thing, no thanks to the convenience of digital streaming. Newest binge? I started watching the new-fangled Cosmos series, a continuation of the 80s series that I remember watching once or thrice back in the day. Although the show is a bit winded, I found myself getting hooked after the second episode. But it wasn’t until the 7th episode that Neil deGrasse Tyson, the shows narrator, really caught me. While explaining how the age of the earth was found through the discovery of there being too much lead on the surface of the earth–which wasn’t naturally occurring–Tyson segways to a sub-story where he mentions that one of the reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire was the simple fact that they suffered under the debilitating side-effects of lead poisoning. As stated in the show, it was the Roman’s use of lead in those infamous aqueducts that was one of the reasons they were poisoned. It was also the Romans that really started mining for lead in a big way. Of course, they were clueless at the time to the horrendous side-effects of lead poisoning on humans. It took until the discoveries of Clair Patterson in the 20th century for mankind to finally figure out the dangers of lead. Suddenly, while chopping onions and garlic and ginger (for my asian wok base) I thought of the articles I read earlier in the day about Flint, MI. I also thought: what a coincidence. The origin of the fall of Rome is known, the origin of the unnatural appearance (due to human greed) of lead on the surface of the earth is also known, and yet,  Flint, MI, so it can save a few rich guys some tax money, has poisoned itself. Yeah! The fall of Rome. Rant on. -Tommi

Links that motivated this post: