The Mara Crossing

As warning I love poetry, but once you start to mix in the scientific and technical, I tend to lose interest. That being said I am doing my best to wrap my head around these essays and poems.


In an interview with the author of the Mara Crossing, Ruth Padel she stated, “poetry has a responsibility to look at the world.” This is a statement that I agree with and can wrap my head around. Even though these pieces are based in science, I do agree that turning biological facts into poetry, or understandable essays helps to deliver the message that she is trying to get out. This makes her message of both animal and human migration more accessible to the general public. One of the ways that she is able to do this is by bring her own personal stories into her essays. In the beginning of some of the essays she uses the personal examples of her own family specifically her daughter’s own migration. Her daughter has traveled to Colombia and back.

In an interview with The Guardian stated her intent for The Mara Crossing, “I wanted to make the political point clear – that human migration is part of animal migration, and migration has been part of life on this earth from the start. Life began with migration, and millions of human beings are doing it today as humans always have done. But it’s not always voluntary.” Padel’s intention to bring to light the issue of migration is something that is very interesting, in the United States immigration and migration are issues that are heavily debated topics right now. It is an interesting to me seeing that this is an issue that is debated all over the world and not just within the United States. Padel makes an interesting argument by saying that migration has been going on since the beginning of time will continue. She states that it is not just a human issue, but an animal one as well.

The chapter “The Broken Mirror” brings up other political points that Padel thinks are important to address. One of the reasons that humans migrate according to Padel is the constant looking for more resources. On page 184 she states, “Wanting more –more resources  than the planet has, a place where we can see from a different angle, find what we’ve lost on earth or get what we never had – is wanting the moon.” Padel brings up the issue that humans tend to consume more that we produce, we are always in search of the next thing to consume. One of the reasons for migration is to hunt for these new resources that we have over used and no longer are able to have. The British empire is an example of this idea. When England went through there industrial revolution it was able to mass produce goods that the people bought right up. Once they used up all of their own resources, they turned to places like India and parts of Africa to create these new resources for the empire.

Ruth Padel’s The Mara Crossing is much more than just a book of biology and science when you take the time and look at it. It is a story of migration both human and animal  and the implications of the migration.


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