Poetry – The Big Green Ball

The Big Green Ball

Big green ball

To kick around

It’s just a game

Too soon and gone

The wear and tear

Such a shame

Opher 25.6.2018

Big Green Ball

While I was driving around the country I had plenty of time to think. What we are doing to the planet, the loss of so many species, the ravaging of our rainforests, the overpopulation – it all drives me mad.

In the course of my lifetime the world has changed enormously. Nature has been devastated. What I used to take as granted is being eroded every single day.

Living creatures are being wiped out and their interests ignored. If there is money to be made they come in a poor second.

Many people are so cruel. Recently I read of reports of attacks on orangutans. On three different occasions orangutans have been found dying or severely injured riddled with air-gun pellets. One had 140 pellets, including 70 in its head. One died after being riddled with 107 pellets, another had 137 pellets and lost its sight. Which crawl maggots would do such things to such intelligent gentle creatures?

What are we doing to the world? We are kicking the life out of it.

Poetry – It Takes Billions

It Takes Billions

Billions – it takes billions.

5 Billion to evolve,

8 Billion to destroy,

How many Billion to put right?

Billions – it takes Billions.

First you have to wake right up.

First you have to realise.

First you have to value it.

First you want to try.

Billions – it takes billions.

5 Billion to evolve,

8 Billion to destroy,

How many Billion to put right?

Billions – it takes Billions.

If 8 Billion were to become 4

There wouldn’t be a problem

Any more.

Opher 13.4.2018

There are 8 billion of us sharing this lifeboat of a planet with all the myriad types of life. 8 billion of us taking up room, killing, flattening, cultivating, building, taming, simplifying, reducing and eradicating.

The effect is dramatic.

The teeming masses of which we are part, from which we came, from which we draw our sustenance are being reduced by the minute.

5 billion years of evolution, slow step by step, is being undone in mere decades.

But if 8 billion was trimmed to 4 then we could all have room to live in harmony and all of us would be winners. We would all have our lives enriched.

Poetry – There’s no room

There’s no room

Pruned trees in rows,

Furrows in rows,

Houses in rows,

Brows in furrows,

There’s no room.

Pesticide clouds,

Smoke clouds,

Particle clouds,

Mushroom clouds,

Clouds in shrouds,

There’s no room.

Weeds eradicated,

Pests eradicated,

Vermin eradicated,

Eradicate the fate,

There’s no room.

Opher 13.4.2018

There’s no room at the inn of nature. We’ve taken every available space.

A million weary creatures are looking for a place to lay their heads, find sustenance and give birth. They’re scratting around between the neat furrows of our lives and pawing over the detritus we leave in our wake.

Life is hard and getting harder.

Once they were part of a great cycle. They had their place. Now they are reduced to the position of pest and hounded for their lives. Each new year that passes brings another weapon to assail them with.

There is no place where they can belong.

Poetry – 8 Billion Reasons

8 Billion Reasons

8 Billion reasons why the gorillas must die

8 Billion reasons why the elephants will die

8 Billion tragedies

For all of them.

Opher 13.4.2018

8 Billion Human beings chopping down trees, spraying pesticide, burning wood, hunting animals, eating ivory, culverting ditches, producing sewage, filling dustbins, buying goods, mining, peeing, shopping, driving down roads, building houses, flying around the world, eating, drinking, playing and having sex.

8 Billion reasons why the rhino and elephant have no chance at all.

Poetry – The Human Tide

The Human Tide

The human tide is springing high.

The love of babies a reason why.

The love of sex a pleasure for to die.

The family a disaster.

Opher 13.4.2018

I love babies – we all do. That’s the trouble. There’s too many of them.

We humans need things to live – room, food and water. In order to meet our needs we are chopping down the natural world and killing the wildlife. We use pesticides to protect our crops and maximize food production but it is killing off our bees and insects causing problems with pollination and starving to death the birds and animals that feed off them.

Our numbers are such that our impact is immense. Not only is it killing everything else off but it is altering the climate of the planet. I love babies but it is time we reduced our numbers and became more responsible.

Poetry – Stalked

Stalked

Stalked by our own virility

The cthonic monster of fertility

Will drown us in our own flesh.

The Malthusian oceans of humanity

Riding swells of pleasure and vanity

Have snared us in its mesh.

Like a flood

Inundating

The Earth

Sweeping all before it.

Like a fire

Consuming

The land

Turning it to ash

Like a plague

Infecting

The body

Dissolving the breath

Swamping everything

Reducing everything

Killing everything

In the pangs of pleasure.

Opher 13.4.2018

The flood of humanity is consuming the earth, destroying the forests, slaughtering all creatures and leaving smog, pollution and devastation in their wake.

We are busy turning this beautiful green planet into a sterile ball of concrete, plastic and bacterial slime.

It’ll take us some time but the project is well under way.

Unless we put an end to this capitalist religious impetus for more, for growth and expansion we will destroy the very thing that gives us life and nourishes our souls.

Poetry – Too Many

Too many

People everywhere

Crammed in like matchsticks –

Boxes into boxes

Filling every corner

Driving out the life

Swatting the flies

With a pot plant on the mantle.

People everywhere

In cars careering into the future

On mopeds with dreams of cars

Frantically propelled

In pursuit of progress.

Providing food upon the table.

People everywhere

Marching purposefully along pavements

Staring ahead

With minds nicely contained

And dreams restricted

People everywhere

Sitting in front of screens

In offices with air-conditioning

And protocols

So that they do not have to think

People everywhere

In boxes within boxes

Watching boxes

Being boxed

And avoiding thinking about the box

They will all end up in.

10.2.2017

Too Many

What a shame.

There are too many of us destroying everything, reducing the beauty to rubble, creating wasteland out of wilderness, producing rubbish and consuming the world.

Too much filth, grime and litter. Too much smoke and gas. Too many kids.

We travel in boxes and live in boxes shut away from the natural world and are fed the views we are to assume. We are controlled, organised, restricted and contained.

There is a homage to Malvina Reynolds in here too. I do adore Malvina.

I wrote this before I travelled through Asia again and witnessed the tsunami of humanity that is engulfing the planet. It is far more destructive than any wave of any magnitude.

It leaves me full of dread on many levels.

Poetry – A Green Clock

A Green Clock

A green clock winding down

From a roar to a murmur,

A shout to a whisper,

A green globe to a barren rock.

The last party on deck –

Laughter as the waves lap around

Morsels are swallowed,

And the last leaves fall.

One last winter with no spring

As seas stagnate

Air clogs with smoke

And land settles to brown.

Still we pretend everything is fine.

Concrete and plastic

Replace green leaf and fur,

And

Gradually

Piece

By

Piece

A billion years is undone.

Opher 1.11.2016

A Green Clock

In two hundred years the planet has changed dramatically. In my lifetime I have witnessed the changes.

The herds and flocks, the forests and shoals, are withering before a relentless onslaught. All the numbers are diminishing.

Stuck inside their rooms on their games, interacting through cyberspace, nobody notices or cares.

A billion years of wondrous chance creating splendour and breath-taking beauty is being dismantled in front of our eyes.

8 Billion people consume what took a billion years to create.

Five Existential Threats and how to deal with them.

Five Existential Threats and how to deal with them.

Life on this tiny planet is very fragile. It is very precious. This could be the only planet in the whole universe to give rise to life.

We are not the only important form of life. All life is equally important. We are all interconnected. We have all evolved from the same incredible single event.

We are the only species able to appreciate this. We are the only species with the ability to destroy the planet. We are the only species with the ability to do something about it.

We are custodians of life.

It is a heavy responsibility.

  1. Asteroids

Life could all we wiped out in one horrendous asteroid strike. It is an event that has happened a number of times in the past. It very nearly wiped everything out. The next big one could finish the job. One is going to happen at some time.

We have the ability to protect ourselves against such an event. We can scan the heavens and identify threats. We have the means to destroy or deflect asteroids.

  • Pandemics

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused global chaos but it is not even a serious pandemic. We could easily encounter a virus to which we have no defences. It could wipe out all mankind. It could even be one that we have weaponised ourselves in our warfare laboratories.

We have had numerous warnings – Spanish Flu, SARS, MERS, HIV, Ebola, Avian Flu, Swine Flu. The next one is probably out there.

We could put finance into developing effective generic antivirals.

We should put a stop to the opening up of wilderness areas for logging and mining.

We should stop the trade in wild animals.

We should put a halt to ‘wet markets’.

We should carefully monitor what is going on around the world and have a fast global response, through the WHO, to isolate and contain an outbreak.

We should stop this national tendency to cover-up outbreaks.

We should prepare with adequate resources and strategies.

  • War

Back in the sixties we were all too aware of the threat of us destroying the planet with nuclear war. We set up a great number of bodies to prevent such an occurrence.

We have become complacent.

The threat has not gone away. It has become worse. We now have the break-up of our protective mechanisms, far worse nuclear and biological weapons, far shorter warning time, rogue states, religious fanatics, terrorism, genetic splicing, computers and technology.

The two main threats are still nuclear war and biological warfare, although chemical warfare and even A/I are looming.

The move back to nationalism, discrediting of global institutions, rise of new powers, such as China, Iran and North Korea, and return of the cold war with Russia has increased the risk.

We need to give more power to global institutions such as the UN.

We need to work more internationally to bring closer relationships and cooperation between countries, in particularly trading links, such as the EU, and in particular those countries presently outside the global community (North Korea, China, Iran and Russia).

We need to ensure greater diplomatic communication.

We need to counter religious fanaticism and terrorism.

We need counter nationalistic populism and fascism. It has been the root cause of most wars.

We need to create greater global equality and prosperity.

We need to take a global view of problems that beset certain nations – overpopulation, lack of employment, droughts, heatwaves, floods, famines, disease…………………

We need to become a collaborative global community not insular self-interested nations.

  • Biodiversity and the destruction of nature

All life on this planet is interconnected. It has evolved for billions of years to create a self-sustaining web. The soil structure, atmosphere, oceans, weather and fresh water systems are dependent on this interrelationship.

This biodiversity is being threatened like never before. We have been clearing rainforests, overfishing rivers and seas, polluting, draining lakes, marshes and ponds and killing wildlife at an alarming rate.

Our activities and numbers are having a dramatic impact on the population levels of a large number of our invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals.

We act as if we no longer recognise that we are part of this system.

If we continue this trend we will cause a collapse in these communities. It will not only lead to the loss of many common and iconic species. That collapse will have a huge impact on soil fertility, air quality, ocean health, food production, weather and our ability to survive on this planet.

Put a stop to deforestation and habitat destruction.

Rewild areas that we have destroyed.

Fish and hunt sustainably.

Go vegetarian or introduce ‘clean’ meat (produced in a lab)

Farm responsibly with limited use of chemicals.

Reduce our global population.

Conserve endangered species.

Value nature.

Educate people to the importance of this unique interconnected web of life.

  • Global Warming

No it isn’t a hoax. It is real. The only scientists refuting the evidence are those employed by the industries with vested interest – the petrochemical industry, the agriculture industry, mining and logging.

The world is warming up due to the huge amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The trouble is that we are approaching a number of tipping points. Once past those points things run out of control whatever action you take.

For example:

If the icecaps recede heat is not reflected back into space from the white snow and ice.

If the permafrost melts huge amounts of stored carbon is released into the atmosphere.

We are very close to this occurring.

If global warming takes off and global temperatures rise by just a couple of degrees we end up with heatwaves, desertification, climate change, a big rise in sea levels, massive changes in animal and plant populations, migrations and species creep.

This would result in most of our major cities being under water, many areas of the world being uninhabitable, mass migration, droughts, floods, drastic alterations in crop viability and farming.

There would be a huge impact on the entire environment with species migrating and extinctions.

There would be uninhabitable regions and low-lying countries would disappear. This would lead to mass migrations, competition for resources, devastating weather patterns (monsoon failure, droughts, hurricanes, floods, heatwaves, tornadoes, freezing winters).

There would be wars and terrorism.

In the past humans would have coped. We would simply have migrated. Now our numbers are too big. We are no longer hunter gatherers. We live in cities. Most of our cities are by the sea or on rivers. They are low lying and would be flooded.

Move from fossil fuels to green energy (sustainable)

Rewild with massive tree planting.

Sustain marshland.

Educate the population.

Refute fake news and conspiracy.

Remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Never before have we held such power. We can use our intelligence to develop technologies, science and strategies to make our future safe in a dangerous universe.

We might not be able (yet) to deal with catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions or solar events but we can deal with many of the threats we face.

Hopefully we will put aside our greed, selfishness and petty political/religious differences and take a responsible attitude.

We are custodians of a unique and beautiful planet.

It is tiny and fragile and we alone have the ability to sustain it and enable it to prosper or to destroy it completely.

Are we intelligent or too selfish?

New Eden – a Sci-Fi novel – Professor Angus Blythe – insights into the character.

New Eden – Professor Angus Blythe – insights into the character.

I needed to create a scientist who would be involved in creating a lethal virus. I did not want a malevolent, evil caricature; I wanted a real person. So, I created Professor Angus Blythe.

Angus is not an evil man. To a large extent he is the product of his upbringing and personality. He was brought up in a home devoid of physical contact and run on very strict authoritarian principles. It was not that he was abused or unloved; more that no love was ever overtly expressed. It had the effect of suppressing his emotions so that he was unable to express love, hate or even anger. One might say that he was emotionally stunted, even to the point of possessing autistic tendencies.

Angus was not completely lacking in empathy and compassion; more that he had never been allowed to develop these qualities so that they lay dormant inside him.

Angus Blythe was a very clever man. He had a form of obsessive compulsive disorder in that he needed everything orderly and understood. He was a problem solver. When confronted with a task or problem he would throw himself into solving it or completing it with one hundred percent concentration. Nothing else mattered. This was the nearest thing to happiness that he ever achieved. He found his work fulfilling.

He operated in the area of genetics which was a field that was always close to controversy with a multitude of moral and ethical dilemmas. Not that Angus Blythe ever involved himself with such matters. He left that to others. He cut himself off from all considerations of ethics. He merely focussed on solving the problems. It was up to others, those better qualified for such matters, to decide what applications of his work were desirable.

Likewise, Angus made no connection with the many creatures he experimented on. His investigations involved working with monkeys, chimps and even humans, but he did not consider the emotional impact or distress he might be causing his subjects. He simply did not empathise. These subjects were a means to an end. They were there to help him solve problems. He made little distinction between them and inanimate objects. It was not that he enjoyed inflicting pain or discomfort so much as those aspects never impinged on his mind. The animals and people he used were a means to an end; they were statistics, nothing more.

I hinted at Angus’s deeper, concealed emotions by revealing a rather incongruous relationship with another main character, Doctor Langston Angstrom. When they had been at university together, studying in the same field of science, they had struck up a friendship. I have noticed on many occasions that these type of relationships often occur, seemingly different personality types finding common ground. I needed Angus to develop in the course of the novel. He needed to undergo an awakening. That hint of friendship revealed the possibility of an emotional depth that lurked in the recesses of his psyche.

Angus Blythe was central to my story.

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