VIII. Mangrove – Support – Strength
Genus: Rhizophora – Family: Rhizophoraceae
Mangroves exist to support shorelines by taking the brunt force of tidal waves, hurricanes and tsunamis and dispersing it through their elaborate and exposed root system. They live along coastlines which are inundated daily by salty water.
The word mangrove is attributed to its “mangled grove” appearance. The genus name Rhizophorais derived from the Greek word rhiza, meaning “root,” and phoros, meaning “bearing,” referring to its stilt-like roots. Mangroves are found in 118 countries and constitute their own forest biome.
There are 110 species that are considered “mangroves,” in the sense that they grow in saline conditions. All mangroves are highly adaptable and perform an important function in creating habitat for marine species and controlling shoreline erosion.
One of mangroves strengths is to serve as filters for salt water that is excreted through its leaves. They also breathe through their roots. These roots act as straws that allow mangroves to survive during high tides. Mangroves remind us of the strength and gentleness of water and how the ebbs and flows of life help us to become more flexible and adaptable.
Mangroves are not native to Hawaii where they are considered an invasive species and classified as pests. This is in sharp contrast to other countries who are working to protect the world’s mangrove ecosystems. It appears that 35% of native mangroves have been destroyed, primarily from shrimp farming. As climate change brings stronger and more frequent storms, there is a grassroots effort to save mangroves by explaining the many benefits they offer. These often-overlooked mangrove forests serve as strong companions and helpers in protecting coastal communities.
Message: Mangrove’s appearance signals a time to shore up important aspects of our life by appreciating the support we have and being open to collaborating with others. We must also trust our footings and filter out what is not needed with courage and confidence especially if we are facing challenges. By facing our issues head on we are able to feel more fully alive and passionate about the opportunities that lie ahead.
Challenge: Having a brutal attitude towards life, bullying others to get our way. Feeling hardened by life and not able to appreciate the little things. Release any toxic behaviors.