Friday, 8 April 2011

Pearls in a vinegar bottle!

This little guy is only 1cm long (a little under ½ an inch) but he is a vital link in the chain that feeds billions of people. He is eaten by fish that eat other fish and we eat them. Pretty important stuff.

Sea Butterfly.

Tallest cathedrals
rest on a grain of sand.

Sharing the load
across its billions.

Mightiest oceans
rest on a butterfly

Giving its body
to succour humanity.

Scientists (who study these things) are screaming in the wilderness that unless we stop carbon dioxide emissions forthwith this tiny Sea Butterfly and thousands of like species will go the way of the dodo.

How? Like the story of the string of pearls in the vinegar bottle, their little calcium carbonate exoskeletons are melting, as oceans take up 80% of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and become too acidic for them. For an explanation of the process, click here.

Our children will face that consequence (along with sea level rise, more violent weather extremes etc etc) and here in Australia we will lose the Great Barrier Reef, our most popular tourist attraction.

Now we come to the politics. Following the dumping of ‘Malcolm in the middle’ Turnbull “I will not lead a party that refuses to act on climate change’ as leader of the Conservatives in favour of Tony Abbott “Climate change is bunkum”, the long negotiations between Rudd’s government and the opposition to hammer out an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), was itself dumped.

So Gillard, Rudd, Swan et al discussed their options. There was a range of views, stretching from ‘dump it’ to ‘forge ahead regardless’. As Rudd said last week; ‘Some folk in the Caucus wanted to throw the ETS out forever’.

Following that mischievous little snippet of the obvious, the hunt was on to name those who wanted to dump it! We have lead stories and aggressive questioning by radio’s most ignorant shock jocks and even the ABC’s prestigious 7.30 Report presenter Chris Ullman wasted precious time trying to bully the Prime Minister into naming names!

Meanwhile back in the vinegar bottle, the whole maritime food chain is in meltdown, Australia’s greatest tourist attraction is a generation away from demise, and there I was again, watching our PM being prevented from explaining the importance of tackling climate change by another egotistical nincompoop. I wanted to cry!


  1. That's such a great explanation of some of the effects of climate change - we need more scientists, who can speak simply, to explain and debate the situation (I saw a climate change expert panel on tv the other day - but these are few and far between - they did a great rebuttal of one of the audiences questions on why CO2 is not harmless given certain conditions). The whole situation is very depressing, and the politicians do make me want to cry most of the time :( Thanks Stafford.

  2. Most Americans are still in denial that there's a problem. Such people come from the ranks of under-educated, Christian conservatives, and their intelligence capacity is too low to make the leap between pollution, extinction, and climate change. Their stupidity is as deep as it is broad, and leaves me in despair as to whether my species is even worth trying to reach.

  3. you poem is superb,

    always enjoyed your wit and quick response.

    Happy Rally.

  4. I avoided the explanation initially and got straight into the poem, which I enjoyed a lot. Cheers.

  5. Great poem too :) I missed it on the first reading.

  6. I'm going to comment only on the poem-beautiful in it's language and it's science! Science and poetry should be married more often.

  7. to find beauty where others do not bother to look.

  8. Keep * Flying That Climate Change Banner *
    ** Your Majesty **
    Always *Great Reporting* of the -

  9. This was an eyeopener of sorts! Enjoyed it .. great!

    I am from ~

  10. appreciated your support.

    apt thoughts, well penned.

  11. Aw, not the way of the dodo....! I adore sea-creatures - even the ones in speedo's - our world is a right shit sometimes.

    What a delightful poem and (as you do) another piece of education...(not for the pub quiz, sadly...!)

  12. hey Stafford! the poetry was beautiful, and the information quite useful :) have a fun time at the Rally!

    Rally Week 41 - My Poetry

  13. You make me want to sell the car and buy a team of goats.

    I will name their king "Stafford" in your honour.

  14. nice article, and the poem was cool too,touch of William Blake. Thanks

  15. Education and conversation. And a whole lot of hope...

  16. awful. sad. frustrating. true.


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