02 October, 2008


Well, so here I am sitting under a sun so red as to be like a beautiful sunset. Except it isn’t low in the western sky. It is high up in a southerly direction.

I remember my Great Grandfather telling me of a time when the sun wasn’t this red colour but was a bright yellow and also a whole lot smaller. He was born early in the present millennium, around a hundred and twenty years ago and had only died some eighteen months past.

He had told me of a far distant time when the Earth was green and water was plentiful; now it is a light tan colour and water is severely rationed.

It all goes back to the end of the last millennium when people thought that human activities were causing the planet’s climate to change for the worse.

To cut down the greenhouse gases, numerous nuclear power stations had been built and when these became obsolete some bright spark had the idea of shooting all the radioactive debris into orbit. Fine - until the orbit became unstable and began to decay and there was the distinct possibility that several hundred thousand tons of hot debris would return to earth. So what did some wag come up with? Why not put it all in a trajectory that would allow it all to get burned up by the sun?

Ironically, it was around that time that the climate reverted to what it had been in the 1920’s so it had all been a waste of time anyway. But what these bright sparks had not realised was the inherent instability of the sun which, upon the arrival of the debris, had effectively leapt forward several million years and started to become a red giant far earlier than anybody had expected.

Now it is estimated that the earth will only be able to sustain life for a further fifty to seventy years. As I sit out in what used to be Hyde park and is now one huge sandpit, I see the Moon rising, not a soft gentle silvery one but a fierce blood red one.

I reflect on the folly of the previous generations which allowed popular myth and culture to lead them down the road which has caused the present circumstances, those scientists trying to make names for themselves by proposing inappropriate solutions to a non-existent problem and all those politicians who, seeing that it was a vote winner, provided the funds to enable the scientists to carry out their outrageous plans.

The sun is now setting in the west but there is no relief from the omnipresent stultifying and oppressive red light, the bad moon rising will see to that, for this night and many others.

© Henry Dallimore

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