Don Torino’s Life in the Meadowlands Halloween Edition: The Zombie Apocalypse Is Upon Us!

Notify the CDC, Homeland Security and Dr. Phil.  Zombies are real and the apocalypse is upon us!  Be warned: These Zombies could be your neighbors, co-workers, Government officials or even as we speak they could very well be a member of your very own family! And their victims will be all of us if we allow this epidemic to spread.

Unlike the familiar zombies of movies and television, these particular species of zombies have no obvious symptoms at first. They may seem like you and me, but soon after a short conversation with these night walkers you will realize why they are referred to as the “walking dead.”

Sure, your typical  run of the mill everyday zombie limps around and occasionally consumes some unsuspecting humans here and there, but These “Nature Zombies” are particularly insidious. They seem to walk and talk like the rest of us  but that is where their similarities to all other citizens of this planet end.

These zombies have lost all connection to the natural world. They no longer find joy in a walk in the woods., A fly-over  by a Red-tail  goes unnoticed. Even a fluttering  Monarch Butterfly goes ignored.

The song of a Wood Thrush just falls on their deaf zombified ears.These walking dead no longer care about or understand the need for clean water and ignore other human beings’ pleas to protect our last remaining wild places. Preserving and defending our environment seems frivolous to these creatures and just a waste of time. Their sickly zombie brains  ven have them believing  that their food is not grown on farms and just appears at the grocery store like magic.

This breed of zombie could care less about endangered species of wildlife and believe they are just a minor annoyance in the way of their “Big Box” stores, shopping malls and office buildings,  habitats where zombies love to congregate and meet other zombies.

These “Nature Zombies”  love to breathe the air of coal-fired power plants, drink  water that has been “Fracked,” and even though it will eventually do them in, they enjoy fruits and vegetables laced with biocides, pesticides and GMOs . The sight of concrete as far as the eye can see can brings a grin to their zombie faces and the smell of a wildflower or the sight of a Bumble Bee can cause them to panic, sending them back into their homes for the entire summer. Even the  simple sighting of a squirrel in the backyard could have them dialing 911.

Defending against these Nature Zombie attacks will take a little bit of education and common sense (two things that Nature Zombies really hate). When approached by one of these walking dead, begin to yell out facts about climate change and how  99% of real scientists agree that it is actually happening . But stand back! This usually causes the zombies’ heads to explode when they fail to come up with a reasonable reply. This can get pretty messy.

A guaranteed zombie repellent is to recap why living things, even zombies, still need clean air, clean water and a healthy food supply to survive just like the rest of us. But be warned: this is usually met with snarling sounds and loud guttural Neanderthal style attempts at name calling like “Tree Hugger”  and “Nature Lover.”

A great way to bring a Nature Zombie to its knees is to allow a dandelion or violet to grow on the lawns in their front yard. But watching a grown zombie cry can get pretty ugly.

So is there any hope? Can these Nature Zombies be cured and  brought back to the living world? Yes, but it is up to the rest of us. To fight back invite your next door  neighbor to take a walk in the Meadowlands. Bring a co-worker to DeKorte Park to see a butterfly. Bring your neighbor to Mill Creek Marsh to watch the migrating birds.

Help a scout group learn about the birds and plant a butterfly garden at a local school. Don’t worry so much about changing the world. Change you own neighborhood first and the rest of the world will be right behind you.

Our world will not survive if we go on becoming more disconnected from the natural world around us.The result of ignoring nature and pretending we are no longer a part of our environment as much as the Hummingbird or Eagle will be giving our personal permission and consent to the polluters, exploiters and slayers of nature to do what they will with our world.

When it no longer matters to us, when the disconnect is finalized, will be when there is no return. When we believe we no longer have a stake in living healthy, protecting and conserving the wonders of our environment for our children and protecting the incredible creatures that share our Earth is when it will all be over.

If we allow that day to come we will all have become zombies for sure.

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