Poetry – Welcome to The Green Machine

Welcome to The Green Machine

Welcome to the green machine;

The factory of the country.

Once a forest full of life,

Now the nation’s pantry.

Sprayed to death,

Devoid of life,

A veritable green desert.

Once a thriving

Nest of creatures

Now completely inert.

The ponds and streams

Are all filled in.

The hedgerows all grubbed up.

If you’re a hedgehog

Seeking a home

I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

There’s no room at this inn

For any of you wild things.

Particularly if you’re an insect

With a double pair of wings.

Welcome to the green machine;

A sterile brand of hell.

A wasteland of automation

Producing the hard sell!

Opher – 17.10.2020

What looks like green countryside is really a well-oiled factory. Nothing lives here. If anything moves it’s sprayed or shot.

The crops are sown by machine, tended by machine and harvested by machine.

It looks green but it’s a million miles from nature.

Poetry – The Green Desert

The Green Desert

Out in the green desert

The ponds are filled,

The hedges flayed,

The verges mowed.

Out in the green desert

The fields are sprayed

The animals killed

The weeds all hoed.

Opher – 8.10.2020

The countryside looks green but really it is a sterile desert cleansed of wildlife. Our fields are factories. Nature is being driven into a smaller and smaller periphery.

Huge fields are necessary for the massive farm machinery so hedges are grubbed up.

We no longer have beasts of burden – we use tractors, so ponds are no longer needed. They are filled in.

Even the remaining hedges and verges are managed. Mowing and flaying destroys habitats, removing seeds and insects.

The fields are sprayed regularly with pesticide and herbicide.

The insects are going. The birds, voles and hedgehogs are becoming rare.

Is it any wonder?

Trump the climate arsonist quote on the California/Oregon/Washington fires!

As the worst fires ever rage through the western states Trump remains noncommittal.

When asked if it was due to climate change he says: ‘I think this is more of a management situation. When you have years of dried leaves on the ground, it just sets it up. It’s really a fuel for a fire.’

‘I don’t think science knows.’ – yes science does know actually – it’s there from all the scientists not employed directly by the polluters – it’s CLIMATE CHANGE!!!!

He then went on to suggest that other countries don’t have this problem.

Where has he been hiding? Doesn’t he read? What about the huge terrible fires in Australia this year? In Borneo, Philippines and the Amazon???

This is a world-wide phenomenon – along with flooding, droughts, melting ice, rising sea levels, hurricanes and changes in seasonal weather.

Human beings are hugely impacting on the climate and Trump is pushing fossil fuels and relaxing environmental laws, denying climate change and pulling out of international agreements!

A climate arsonist??? I’d call him worse than that when it comes to the environment. Bolsonaro and he are vandals who are not only jeopardising biodiversity but the health of the biosphere on which we depend.

Is the short-term gain worth this long-term loss?

Biodiversity – the big disaster. The Anthropocene.

The tragedy of our destruction of biodiversity has been like a slow-motion car-crash that I have been observing throughout my life.

The destruction is ongoing, continuous and horrendous.

I have witnessed it in the UK and as I’ve travelled the world I have seen the evidence everywhere I have one.

In The UK.

The plants and animals I used to see regularly are disappearing fast. As a boy, I used to play in meadows full of wildflowers. I used to collect caterpillars, newts, frogs, toads, slowworms and grass snakes. They were common. Hedgehogs were everywhere. The fields were full of the buzz of insects. Big flocks of swifts and swallows swooped and fed. Streams were full of sticklebacks, dragonfly and caddis.

Those fields are sprayed with pesticide and herbicide. The streams are polluted or culverted. The hedgerows have been grubbed up, trees chopped down and ponds filled.

Where can the wildlife live?


The rainforests – the lungs of the earth – are disappearing at an alarming rate. Flying over the Amazon the sight of the vast areas of cleared forest is alarming. But the same thing is happening in Borneo, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Africa. What was once impenetrable jungle (only fifty years ago) has roads running through it. The loggers and hunters have moved in. The farmers follow. The forest, along with the creatures it supports, is burnt.

I was quite shocked by a statistic that came out of the David Attenborough programme last night concerning the biomass of organisms.

60% Livestock

36% Humans

4% Wildlife.

That is what we have done in the last hundred years.

Our seas are being denuded of fish by huge supertrawlers. Our rivers are likewise overfished. Travelling down the Mekong I was amazed to see that through the whole length there were fishing enterprises taking even the smallest fish to batter into fish paste. What hope is there?

In Vietnam, everything that moves is killed. Even the paddy fields have traps to catch and eat insects. The jungles were silent.

I am appalled by the cruel, inhumane way we treat animals. They are caged in tiny cages, driven mad and killed in the most horrendous ways – being boiled alive, skinned alive or cut open to extract blood or gall bladders. Such insensitivity.

What is wrong with people?

This is not sustainable.

The delicate balance of nature not only supports this wondrous array of life but provides our climate, our food, our oxygen and atmosphere that keeps us alive.

Already we are seeing the huge fires due to global warming, the floods, droughts, heatwaves and changes in air and sea currents.

Nature can bounce back but we have to help it. We have to stop the destruction, reduce our population, stop the waste, put back the forests, the ponds, streams and hedgerows and start to act responsibly (and far less cruelly).

I think we are on the brink.


Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 May 2016

Verified Purchase

Humanity has wiped out 60% of Mammals, Birds, Fish and Reptiles since 1970

This is a worse crisis than Coronavirus or Global warming.

It comes as no surprise to me that this is the case. In my lifetime I have witnessed the crashes in population both here in the UK and abroad. As a biologist, and naturalist, I have found this incredibly distressing.

In the UK the creatures that were common in my childhood – the toads, frogs, newts, hedgehogs, slowworms, snakes and lizards – are now rare. The streams are devoid of life. The insects and butterflies are not buzzing around. The skies are not full of flocks of swallows and swifts.

In the Amazon the rainforest burns. In Africa, the chimps, bonobos and gorillas are being hunted to extinction. Everywhere I have travelled – Australia, Africa, South America, China, Phillipines, Borneo, Vietnam – it is the same story – deforestation and the destruction of habitat – a burgeoning human population – overfishing and hunting.

Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970. We are systematically destroying our planet.

massacre of wildlife is made in a major report produced by WWF and involving 59 scientists from across the globe.

Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF. “This is far more than just being about losing the wonders of nature, desperately sad though that is,” he said. “This is actually now jeopardising the future of people. Nature is not a ‘nice to have’ – it is our life-support system.”

In the UK it is relentless – every tree cut down, hedgerow ripped up, stream culverted,  ponds filled in, is another nail in the coffin. The mowing of verges, the spraying of fields. It is almost as if we hate nature.

Abroad they are chopping rainforest for agriculture. There are no places left for the gorillas, the orangutan, elephants or tigers. If they dare to ‘encroach’ they are killed.

I am told that people have to eat, to feed their children. The truth is that there are too many children.

Nature is our lifeline. It provides our atmosphere. We are part of a complex web that feeds the soil, pollinates our crops, gives us the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat – yet we are destroying it.

In the process, we are releasing pandemics and herding ourselves into cities and plastic environments.

We are endangering our own survival on the planet!


Poetry – Icecaps and Polar Bears


Icecaps and Polar Bears


Icecaps and polar bears,

Penguins and seals,

Whales and walruses;

They’re heading for the hills.


Seas are rising.

Land is getting hot.

Hurricanes and droughts.

The climate is shot.


Burning up the coal

The oil and the gas.

Breeding like rabbits.

Chasing the cash.


We haven’t woken up yet

To the time that’s running out.

We need to wake up

To what it’s all about.


Out there on Venus

It’s four hundred degrees.

If we don’t act soon

It’ll bring us to our knees.


Opher – 23.8.2020