Not sure where to even begin. Well, a commercial company sent a crewed rocket into space with NASA's help. Kind of nice to see the idea of space travel revisted.
Still, not sure if humans are really responsible enough to look after another planet of any size or shape, they're not doing a terribly good job with the one they've got. It might be more uplifting if the motivations were a bit more lofty. Anyway, there's that.
But the debris of comet Thatcher (back our way in 2276) put on a light show in the form of the annual Lyrids Meteor shower. Pretty. We were in lockdown so didn't really get a good view.
We've always been fascinated with things in the night sky. We've told stories about the stars and the spirits who live there. We've written tales about the make-believe of possible worlds, epic deeds and wonderous adventures. Maybe we need to know we are not alone in the dark and that there is hope for a dawn. Maybe we do need to go back into space to be reminded how our small wonderous planet protects us from the vast cold dark of space.
The lights are pretty though.
Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash
Today young people are marching to show they want action from authorities to act on measures to mitigate the accelerating effects of climate change. You can shorten that to Climate Strike, but the important thing here is that action is needed, and it’s the children who are demanding that it happen.
You have to see their point. They get to live with the consequences of decisions being made over their heads. In 1987 the Bruntland Report, or Our Common Future, defined one of the pillars of the sustainability as not diminishing any resources from future generations. I’m paraphrasing and simplifying but it’s not hard to understand.
Don’t use up everything! Stop consuming everything.
The concept is easy, the solutions are not. But we need to agree on actions and more importantly, act.
This is not a drill folks.
Today I was wandering, as I often have to, on one of my self-serving errands, if you must know to the hairdresser. Not only was the day balmy, teasing between grumpy clouds and crayon-blue sky, but I was free to dispose of my time as I saw fit for the better part of some hours. So you see, Petunia, I was able to loiter with perfect right, at the base of a forested hill. Free to enjoy the empty street and drowsy houses, free to listen to the patch of dry forest hum its song of season's change. The trees were too far away to see me of course, and I don't think they marked my staring in any case as I am sure they were gazing across the narrow valley at the other patch of their brethren on the opposite slopes. I could not stay - my leash of time and commitments would not permit it. Such days should be enshrined in the vaults of memory. I should like to think that the half-understood songs would play again in my almost-dreams, those moments between sleep and somewhere else. So Petunia, even such a far off host has played its soothing song for me. What can this world be without trees?
Hairdressers are of course not without their skills. Indeed apart from keeping the Suschewalden citizens' locks tidy and attractively coloured, they hold the office of knowledge keepers. So, if anyone knows anything about anyone it's Florence Bowsflint, the owner of Hair-Lock the only hairdresser and barber in town. She cuts and colours the women's hair and her husband Reg looks after the men. The only person who has never visited her establishment is Mr Holtsmyer the florist. The fact that he has a cranium of thriving follicles only adds insult to injury as far as Florence is concerned. But he keeps his secrets and his hair studiously away from her salon, despite the coupons and cut-price vouchers she regularly slips into his mailbox or leaves on his counter. Each time, the little slips of paper reappear on her counter with a single seasonal flower. No note, no mention of them in conversation, just the single flower and the untouched vouchers. What perhaps annoys her the most is his apparent complete unconcern about the black mane he casually braids into a long cue which swings a confident pendulum across his back as he walks past her shop. Her fingers convulsively snip the big silver hairdressing scissors even as she returns his cheery wave through the front glass-window. She says people with secrets were not to be trusted.
Dusk is falling across a flawless blue sky while distant magpies call their melancholy good nights. In some melancholy I too bid goodnight to the sun.
I wrote some few years ago during a warm mid-winter day about the simultaneous alarm and pleasure it gave me. Enjoying the balmy weather did nothing to settle the deep disquiet from knowing why we were having the warm spell. This year the experience is multiplied. The long stretch of warm days, and I do mean summer temperature warm, does nothing for my existential tummy butterflies.
Despite my firm belief in Utopian rather than Dystopian futures, I constantly seek evidence among the litter of human affairs of a greater mass pulling in the favour of the former rather than the latter. I can’t help but think if we spent far less time being afraid of each other, we’d find better solutions to our problems and do it much quicker. No small part of my angst is fuelled by the grief caused by the galloping loss of our natural world. I had barely a nodding acquaintance with a fraction of it and some oaf has trampled it. By oaf I mean us of course. I guess if I could blame, say, an asteroid, I would feel better, but no, alas it is our own work.
Nature has made way for our need for swimming pools, mobile phones, stretch jeans and soup in a can. In short, civilisation.
So adjusting for personal preferences and the imperative to keep surviving I have no choice but to believe in an Utopian future, where humans harness technology responsibly and respect the natural planetary systems, realising they need both to survive. Hence solar punk. That’s punk without the dark.
The sun has gone down.
I am going to go and light a candle to burn alone in the darkness and let its quiet light solemnly mourn for our losses, a silent apology for the losses to come.
Tea-drinker, writer and editor. Ecologist, environmental scientist, futurist and student of irony.