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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Just a little bit of history repeating

They say everything has a beginning, a middle and an end, except life is not nearly so simple. The great black meteor that thundered into the lush verdant deciduous forest was all three. The beginning of the time of mammals, the end of the time of reptiles and the mid part of the story of life on the planet we call Earth.

The forest erupted in great billowing gouts of flame. Towers of ash ascended into the air on the wave of impact and the fire derived thermals.

Once in the air the ash travelled far, each so very tiny and light as it floated on the wind. Almost beautiful in a way, the little particles dancing in the air but on mass the tiny particles blocked out the sun.

The great scaled beasts on the ground below weren’t sophisticated like people. They had no wind turbines, no solar panels, no lab grown meat, no tomatoes grown from the CO2 produced brewing beer. They were simple creatures. The plants drew in light and CO2 and that produced oxygen. The herbivores breathed oxygen and ate those plants, crapping out methane. Then the great carnivores ensured the herbivores never ate the last of the plants by predating on their asses. The great big circle of life.

There were problems with this system. Too much oxygen, because the carnivores had a good year say, then fires are a big problem. If the herbivores have a good year maybe they don’t know when to stop and CO2 combines with the methane to create some serious global warming and an explosive atmosphere. It’s a delicate, evolutionary balance.

Then the Earth erupts in flame, venting liquid rock onto the ground’s surface, like a flame thrower on gasoline. The ash rises, doing its little dance, blotting out the sun. The fire spreads with the lava and among the brush. Great trees fall to dust, blotting out the sun. See it wasn’t just one big bang. It was a whole series of environmental explosions.

The ash can stay up there for years, especially when fresh fires keep adding to it. So the ash formed of forest fire, explosive shit, volcanic eruption and great extraterrestrial balls of fire suffocates the earth. Plants die so herbivores die so every great mother fucker that must eat a metric fuck-ton a day dies. And these great beasts that stalk the land become great gas bombs as their flesh rots away, producing gasses until their skin bursts and they deflate like a balloon or a lasagna left too long in the microwave.

Now that’s our call. See the great reptiles have skin made of a natural armour and as it happens over lapping plates may be good for defence but it leaves you susceptible to heat. A mammal can sweat and shiver. A reptile has to take the heat or find a way to cool off. And mammals bring their babies to term inside them then weans them until they can hunt for themselves. The babies are kept safe with their parent or parents until they have the body and the smarts to hack it on their own.
In a world of flame the mammals can scavenge the dead and avoid the fire. They can also adapt and learn. Reptiles hatch as baby predators, they eat what they are told is safe to eat. They may experiment out of desperation but they only pass on what they know if they live to have children. A mother mammal raises her children until they are ready to look after themselves so if time is tough and the children may die anyway, she can experiment and possibly live to teach what she learned from her failed experiments to her next litter.

Mammals adapt.

So they eat the lizards and they ate what they could as the fire spread and remade the Earth without great reptiles and massive forests.

Now here we stand, at another instance of mass extinction caused by climate change and we can either adapt and shut off the damn carbon pollution or we can go the way of the beasts we outlived. There is an off switch to this apocalypse, we just have to have the confidence to push it.