Well....I have been told I am Irish and Scottish, but I don't feel as though I am. So I went looking around on the internet today for some stories. I was surprised to find that the Chicago River has 40 lbs of green dye put in it for the festivities. YUCK. I don't like dye in river water. I like to dye hard boiled eggs on Easter. And I like dye for art purposes. But not in the river. There are enough disgusting things in there already. And that is one reason why I think I just don't like fish.
According to some accounts, blue was the first color associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but that started to change in the 17th century. Green is one of the colors in Ireland’s tri-color flag, and it has been used in the flags of several Irish revolutionary groups throughout history. Ireland is the “Emerald Isle,” so named for its lush green landscape. Green is also the color of spring, the shamrock, and the Chicago River, which the Midwestern city has dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day for the past 40-odd years.
According to parade organizers, the tradition of dyeing the river dates to 1961, when Stephen Bailey, a business manager for the plumber's union, was visited by a plumber whose coveralls were stained green. The stains, it turned out, came from a special dye used to detect leaks. That year, the city had begun enforcing pollution controls, and the plumber was using the dye to locate the source of illegal waste disposal in the river.
But Mr. Bailey saw a different use for the dye. The following year, with the consent of city officials, the union dumped 100 pounds of a disodium salt called fluorescein into the river. It worked a little too well, turning the water was green for a week. Eventually they hit upon an amount that would turn the river green for just one day.
But fluorescein can be toxic, and environmentalists, concerned about the welfare of the river's goldfish, lobbied to have the dye replaced with something more eco-friendly. They succeeded in 1966, and the parade committee agreed to switch to what they say is a vegetable-based dye.
But the dye's exact ingredients are a closely guarded secret. The parade committee compares the formula to that of Coca-Cola. In a 2003 interview with the Columbia Chronicle, a student newspaper, a parade organizer compared revealing the dye's composition to "telling where the leprechaun hides its gold."
Even though they won't say what's in the dye, the parade committee insists that it's nontoxic, and claim that "the formula has been thoroughly tested by independent chemists and has been proven safe for the environment."
But environmental regulators in other cities have rejected plans to dye their rivers for the Irish holiday. In 2005, environmental regulators in Broward County, Fla. rejected plans to dye Fort Lauderdale's New River. And this year officials with Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality nixed plans for a dye job for the Saginaw River.
That said, 40 pounds of dye is a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to all the other stuff that's in the Chicago River. The Illinois Department of Public Health advises against dining too frequently on certain fish caught in the river because of concerns of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, a type of industrial chemical that the EPA has labeled a probable human carcinogen.
"The Chicago River will dye the Illinois, which will dye the Mississippi, which will dye the Gulf of Mexico, which will send green dye up the gulf stream across the North Atlantic into the Irish Sea, a sea of green surrounding the land will appear as a greeting to all Irishmen of the Emerald Isle from the men of Erin in Chicago land, USA."
It is becoming more and more difficult for me to get excited about eating anything these days. I want to have my own little garden, and some peanuts for protein. Also fruit trees. And maybe some wheat, and rice. I wonder how much land I need to grow all that. The fish will just be there to watch.... in my little pond. And the animals will just be roaming around to look at. From far away...I don't like the smell of manure. My dream for the day...........