Poetry – How many trees?

How many trees?

How many trees does it take

To make a human being?

How many fields to fill our stomachs

So we can go on breathing?

How many creatures lie

Under our tarmac roads?

How many deaths will it take

Before the planet implodes?

Yes – how many trees does it take?

Opher 26.4.2019

There are currently approaching 8 billion of us on this planet and each one of us is busy consuming – consuming land, water, air, finite mineral resources and killing plants and animals. Just by living.

The planet is not infinite. It is a finite web of life – tenuous and fragile.

We are a catastrophe.

Poetry – Hard Times are Coming

Hard Times are coming

From the waterworld to the droughts –

Hard times are coming.

From the Sahara ocean to the Artic desert,

Hard times are on their way.

Growing crops on mountain tops –

Hard times are coming.

From the arid Amazon to the flooded Gobi,

Hard times are on their way.

Fishing over Holland, trawling Bangladesh –

Hard times are coming.

Our cities under water our fields now sea,

Hard times are on their way.

Opher 24.4.2019

If we allow climate change to occur we will unleash forces that will devastate our civilisations and bring an end to everything we have.

In the past, when we were small in number and nomadic hunter gatherers, we simply moved to higher ground. Not so easily with eight million and the infrastructure and agriculture on low lying land. Not so easy with the need to feed eight billion.

Hard times are coming.

The Door In The Wall – a short story

The Door In The Wall

I peeped around the door to find Silas awake, sitting up, eyes wide, features strained as he stared about him in disbelief.

He saw me. Eyes darted, fear flashed, his hands clutched the blankets, knuckles white.

‘Where am I?’ He asked in a rich brogue, eyes imploring.

I came into the room and sat on the edge of the bed, patting his hand, smiling. ‘It’s alright Silas,’ I murmured reassuringly, then dropped the bombshell. ‘You have been asleep for three hundred years.’

Silas could not grasp what had happened. Who could? Everything he had known and loved was gone. He had gone to sleep and woken up in a strange land.

I led him slowly through the novelty of his new world, allowing him time to come to terms with everything. He did not speak much, a clipped sentence here and there, but his expression said it all.

That first day was one of amusement as I watched him discover this modern world. I provided him with new clothes that he put on with a look of distaste. The fabrics obviously felt different on his flesh, but he tolerated them. I introduced him to the joys of internal plumbing, of hot water, the luxury of the indoor toilet, terror of a shower. I watched him playing with the taps, amazed at the water that flowed, repeatedly flushing the toilet and shaking his head.

Everything was a wonder; the coloured paint on the walls, the material of the curtains, the windows, doors, fitted carpet, furniture. He examined it all with an intensity that made me realise how much I took for granted.

‘It smells,’ Silas said, scrunching up his nose.

‘Smells?’

‘Chemical,’ he said, shaking his head.

He left me floundering as he turned away to investigate some other discovery – a photograph, a plastic ornament.

That first breakfast he stared in open astonishment at the flames from the hob as the bacon sizzled in the frying pan, kept flicking the lights on and off with childish delight, opening the fridge, touching the ice, taking out the jars and packages, studying the labels. Everything was to be amazed at. I laughed when he jumped as the toaster popped up.

Silas sat at the table, knife and fork in hand, eager. As soon as the full English was placed in front of him he tucked in, famished. He cut the bacon and loaded his fork with egg shovelling it into his mouth like he hadn’t eaten for months. He hadn’t.

Chewing and swallowing thoughtfully, face sour like he’d eaten lemons, he turned to me. ‘Tasteless.’ He continued to frown but worked through the meal mechanically tentatively tasting the beans, then forking them into his mouth with some enthusiasm.

Next, a mug of tea with two sugars. After three hundred years he deserved something sweet. He scowled, sipped hesitantly then drank with relish.

After our meal I led him to the television and watched with amusement as he stood dumbfounded. I gave him the remote and smiled as he clumsily pressed the buttons, changing channels with grunts of delight. I played him some music and he laughed gaily, bobbing his head.

Outside he admired the flowers in the garden but stared irritably at the houses crowding us. ‘Butterflies? He asked. ‘No bird song?’ Silas sniffed the air with a look of disgust. ‘Smells.’ He looked at me. ‘Where are the birds?’

In the road he kept prodding the tarmac with his shoe. The car was in the drive and he stared at it as if it was a spaceship, fearfully caressing the lines of its bodywork, peering in through the windows.

I wanted to show off all the wonders of this modern world. I urged him to take a seat. He was suspicious but falteringly climbed in, not knowing what to expect, disbelieving of my explanations. He sat, body stressed, eyes roving over the controls, the steering wheel, the displays, not understanding. I fixed his seatbelt and started up the engine. At the sound and vibration his face whitened, his body went rigid. With reassurance he gradually relaxed. I edged forward slowly and we made our way through the village but he remained clinging to the door handle.

Through his terror he tried to take it all in, the many houses, colourful shops, bicycles, tarmacked road – the people walking on the pavement. Gone were the dirt roads with their spaced out cottages, the horses and carts. Hard to understand. Hard to accept. Every time a car came towards us he flinched. No other planet could have been stranger to him, yet this was the very village he had grown up in.

At the top of the hill I stopped the car and we looked out over the oceans of fields. A huge harvester was at work. I thought he might be impressed at its efficiency.

Silas slowly surveyed the countryside spread out before us and shook his head in bewilderment.

‘The hedgerows? Trees? Ponds? The flowers? The birds? Surely not all gone?’ His face a picture of dismay. He blinked at the expanse of golden corn, a tear slipped from his eye.

He turned to me accusingly.

‘What have you done?’

Poetry – Leaf and Scale

Leaf and Scale

Leaf and scale

Eye and tail

Precious  Precious

Protoplast

Chloroplast

Precious  Precious

Bud and tree

Petal and bee

Precious  Precious

Fin and feather

Fawn and heather

Special  Special

Whale and ant

Fauna and plant

Special  Special

Brain and brawn

Shrimp and prawn

Special  Special

Limb and life

Husband and wife

Special  Special

Awe and wonder

No kill or plunder

Precious  Precious

Planet and sky

Sun on high

Precious  Precious

Forest and air

Bluebell and bear

Special  Special

Water and rock

Hen and cock

Special  Special

Earth and worm

Virus and germ

Precious Precious

Warmth and light

Oxygen and sight

Precious  Precious

Biosphere

Centromere

Precious  Special  Unique

Opher 25.6.2018

The whole of our biosphere is one amazing event and utterly unique. Every bit of it is special and precious.

If only we could stand back and see how miraculous it is and worship every last piece of this incredible jigsaw of life.

Instead we treat it with disdain and destroy it with derision, contempt and callous disregard.

Environment Day

TAKE ACTION

This Environment Day Let’s Show Leaders We Care

Image

Photo credit: Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash

Hi

It’s Environment Day — a day to kick-start action for our ecosystems! 

Our natural world faces threats from every direction. Oil spills have caused coastal catastrophes and climate change poses an existential threat to humanity and species alike. But powerful G7 leaders are meeting next week and climate is on the agenda.

While we can’t undo all the harm done to our planet, we can still protect it and our future. Let’s create a deafening roar for action on the environment.Take Action

Every fraction of a degree of warming can lead to the extinction of entire species. From cheetahs to coffee, climate change is wreaking havoc on our natural systems and on communities worldwide.

We are reliant on natural systems and when we transform or destroy them, we all suffer. This environment day, let’s show our leaders that we’re looking to them for action — join the call.

Poetry – Greta

Greta

We’re on a crusade to change a world

Made worse with every tree that’s felled

With every ditch that’s filled

And every war-cry yelled.

Of all this greed I’ve had my fill.

A selfish species with a lust to kill.

Beauty and love replaced by sorrow

Without a thought for tomorrow.

They’ve got nature on the run.

Too much junk from everyone.

Too many people taking too much room.

Too much violence, doom and gloom.

They are still pumping carbon into the air

With climate change deniers everywhere.

From arid desert to melting iceberg

The future rests with Greta Thunberg.

Opher – 20.4.2021

In the course of my lifetime I have seen such destruction. The world has been consumed by wars, famines, droughts, genocides and massive environmental destruction.

When I was born the world population was 2.5 billion. It is now 8 billion.

Great swathes of rainforest have been cleared. Billions of animals have been slaughtered. Sea, land and air have been polluted.

Instead of living in harmony with nature and looking for a sensible life of love and beauty we are racked by selfish greed.

Billions live in poverty while a few live in opulence. Billions are traumatised by cruelty, violence and war.

People are consumed with a lust for power and wealth and are willing to destroy the planet in order to get it.

We need a new idealism.