Poetry – The Last Tree

The Last Tree

When the last tree fell

There was laughter.

As the chainsaw bit

There had been jeers;

As the trunk crashed

And branches splintered

There were cheers.

As the last bird

Was blown

From the sky

There was a whoop

Of joyful triumph.

As the last Chimp

Was hacked

There was a smacking

Of lips.

There were no tears.

The tears were saved for later.

But when they finally fell

There was a flood.

By then it was far too late.

Opher 15.5.2016

The Last Tree

We cannot resist. There is pleasure in destruction. There is a cruel streak in humans.

One of the favourite stalls at the fairground is the one where people smash crockery with wooden balls. The line up the plates and dishes and people pay to delight at the way they smash, crash and fall.

  • The kid with the airgun sitting in his backyard and picking birds off the line, feeling a leap of pleasure as each one falls.
  • The idiots with the chainsaws who ringed a giant redwood to put an end to its two and a half thousand year life.
  • It goes on relentless as children’s first reaction is to stamp on the bug.

Life is not sacred.

There is fun to be had at the expense of forest and creature.

Even at the animal park yesterday where they had two amazing Eagle Owl fledglings on the lawn a man with his two children joked that they should be shot and eaten.

Yet we are part of that web of life. When it is gone we will follow. We cannot live on concrete alone.

Poetry – Take me back to

Take me back to

Take me back to the African plains;

Away from the bombs of the insane;

Away from the craziness of god’s refrain;

Away from the missiles and blood stains;

Away from every human brain;

All the bones of the animals we have slain;

The trees that rot where they’re lain.

I’d send the whole lot down the drain

And start over again.

So I could wonder at the universe

In one sand grain

And find the will

To refrain

From slaughter.

Opher 22.2.2016

Take me back to

As I walked around the deck of the Marco Polo and thought about the immense changes that have taken place in the last two hundred years I kept reworking this poem.

I’ve travelled through oceans that once teemed with life and are now empty.

I visited islands where British ships replenished their larders by bludgeoning to death all the indigenous creatures.

Two hundred years ago life teemed. Now it is hanging on by its talons.

I am ageing in fits and starts on a slow decline towards an inevitable death. The planet is on a similar trajectory.

In the next two hundred years we will have paved it all, caged what’s left and be living in an artificial, plastic paradise, as free as any good consumer can be.

Take me back to where I can breathe and wonder. I want out of this nightmare.

We are all innocent and guilty.

I’m living a quiet life. I don’t steal, destroy any wildlife, kill anything or hurt anybody. I am not guilty.

Except that is not true.

Just by virtue of living we are having an impact and, without enormous research, it is not possible to know exactly how big an impact we are having.

My trainers were made in a sweatshop in India which illegally employs children on starvation wages.

The electricity I use is produced by a power station burning coal which is pouring carbon dioxide and particulates into the atmosphere.

The standard of life I enjoy is the result of a long history of slavery and looting and now is bolstered through clandestine deals selling arms and torture implements to tyrannous despots.

The coffee I drink comes from Vietnam where huge swathes of virgin rainforest was cleared for coffee plantations.

The shampoo I used this morning contained palm oil from the Indonesia where the orangutans are being decimated.

The cheapness of my breakfast cereal is due to extensive overfarming. Hedgerows and copses were flattened, streams culverted and ponds filled in the create greater efficiency. It is laced with pesticide and herbicide because no ‘foreign’ life must exist to reduce the yield. Nature is the enemy.

The fish I ate for tea was trawled from the ocean by a superfleet who are gouging up the seabed.

The computer and phone I contact my friends and family on contains rare metals which have to be mined, heavily polluting the wilderness.

The teak coffee table I bought was made from a great teak tree that was hundreds of years old, stood in a rainforest and provided food and home for a whole community of life.

The steak I will eat for dinner was from a steer in South America. Great swathes of the Amazon rainforest were cleared so we could enjoy cheap beef. It was shipped thousands of miles around the world on a cargo ship spouting masses of carbon and particulate from the burning of poor quality oil in its diesel engines. It was delivered to my supermarket via train and lorry further adding to the pollution.

I could go on and on. But I am not looking to create guilt, just raise awareness. There is no way that we can possibly make ourselves aware of the ramifications of every single economic, political and social aspect of our interwoven world. Besides, much of what goes on is clandestine, hidden and illegal. We probably could never find out the real picture.

So what do we do?

I would suggest that we are all guilty of causing damage, pain and poverty. But we can reduce the damage we do raise our awareness and put pressure on all concerned to clean up our act.

We are one planet, one people. It is in our own interests to reduce the impact we are having on nature so that the planet is safe and life is cherished. It is in our own interests to reduce pollution and not cause suffering. It is in our own interests to reduce global poverty and support the rights of all people.

Not to do so risks a dismal future of global warming, gross pollution of air, soil and water, mass extinctions, war, mass migrations, gross inequality and misery.

None of us are innocent. Just by living we are party to this mess. Some are more guilty than others.

With care we can create a world that works for us all and supports a thriving natural world – With a little care, awareness and thought.

Cartoon – Clean up the Planet or…………………..!!

I’m not sure about the angry god chucking viruses at us but I am sure that if we carry on the way we are sooner or later we will let loose a virus that will make this one look like a toy.

We are opening up wilderness, butchering wildlife and taking wild animals back to unhygienic markets. We will encounter viruses that we have never encountered before. Instead of killing just 2% one of them might wipe us all out – or at least 99% of us. It’s happened before. It will happen again – unless we learn from our mistakes and take more care of nature and treat it with respect.

Thanks John Peachey!

Global Warming Cartoons

After four years of Trump and his misinformation it is good to get back on track. I hope Biden comes through on this. The evidence is glaringly obvious yet there are still those who are denying what is right in front of them!

Let’s get it done!! Roll out the sustainable energy. It is all very competitively priced. We have the means to store energy.

It’s not too late to prevent this catastrophe happening.

Poetry – Disaster


The virus to spreading

                Out of control.

There is no antidote,

No vaccine.

It kills everything in its path.

Never has such

                A virulent strain

Mutated into existence;

                So lethal,

                So deadly,

So destructive to everything.

Never has a virus

                Threatened so many

Forcing extinctions


                To end

All life on the planet.

It is us.

It is us.

Opher – 13.11.2020

Life is tenuous and fragile.

It came into being just once.

It took billions of years to mutate into the wondrous myriad of forms we now have.

It has suffered 5 mass extinction events that threatened to wipe out all life on this planet. Usually as a result of an asteroid. A catastrophe.

We are the sixth.

Presidential election – Who to choose to protect nature and long-term economic security?

We’ve all seen the terrible fires in Australia, Africa, South America and California. We’ve seen the floods, hurricanes and strange weather patterns.

It is only going to get worse and not only cause mass devastation, mass migration and huge damage to nature; it is also going to ruin economies and cost a fortune.

We need our rainforests, don’t we? We need environmental stability, don’t we?

How long does a forest last when you put in place a President who has removed legislation on mining and logging, reduced environmental standards, doesn’t believe in global warming, promotes fossil fuels and wants to exploit the environment for quick profit (basically anything goes if you can make a buck and temporarily boost the economy) or a President who wants to move away from fossil fuels towards sustainable energy, who believes in protecting the environment, who knows that we have damaging global warming and would be part of a world-wide struggle to protect nature, with things like the Paris Accord, who believes in science and will fund it properly – let me see now – this is a difficult one isn’t it?