14 December 2015

Right now, I don't have the nerves to read anything about the climate summit, the historic agreement, the big speeches, all that clapping and cheering. And the critics, of course, the sane cautious voices because who would believe anything anyway these days. In the end, we all ignored Rio, we laughed our way through the failure of Kyoto, so what else is new? A mad man in Russia, a mad man maybe about to be elected in the US, sure who cares. As long as our sweet little existence goes on as before.

Only, this beach here is almost gone. Literally. Today, now.

It is a special beach, I have at times been quite desperately homesick for it. But every rain shower, every storm surge (and storms have been increasing dramatically) means that more sand is swept away. Local people are blowing up the mountains inland, using the rocks to protect the beaches but it will not be enough. While coastal regions will be devastated all over the globe - and believe, they will be, everywhere, even in our own filthy rich and arrogant countries - island states will simply slip under the water. They will vanish. The homeland of entire nations will disappear, their schools and cemeteries, their churches, hospitals, harbours, playgrounds, markets, farms, restaurants, their wildlife, the magnificent birds, blossoms, trees, their beauty, all of their beauty. Their scents and music and all those wonderful calm Sunday afternoon picnics by the sea.

When we left paradise, I cried all the way to Mauritius (which was/is nothing in comparison, honestly and I tried to like it), I sat inside that sudden luxury of an Air France jumbo jet with my first fresh croissant and coffee with real (!) milk in three years served on a silver tray and all I could do was sob my heart out. At the time, we knew we could never afford to go back to our little shed of a house with the noisy bats and dogs and ants and giant centipedes. Money, jobs, family, and so on. Now we know that the loss is bigger, deeper and not just ours. Do we have any idea of the enormity of that loss?


  1. Looking at that special beach and girl, I can feel the sand with my feet and all the possibilities for a bright future and at the same time feel the enormous loss.

    The possibility of paradise is already within us as a default setting."
    (Rebecca Solnit)

  2. This struck me on so many levels. We own a little shack on a barrier island off the coast of NW Florida and the beach, since we bought the place about seventeen years ago, has shrunk to a fraction of its former size. The house will go eventually which does not bother me nearly as much as the idea of the pine trees which are also going to die. They are probably centuries old.
    And when we come home from Mexico and are in the airports where the food is plastic and perfect-looking under the weird lights, I cry. I just can't help it.

  3. Nothing is as it was, nothing is as it will be. Paradise is, after all, in your head. A shame we have to connive at its destruction though.

  4. There are millions of us despairing at the inability of the politicians and vested interests to tackle this. They can't see beyond today's profits.

    But it's so hard, being part of a generation that will leave the world in a far worse place than it was when we were born. Will our grandchildren ever forgive us - and should they?

  5. Your sadness at this loss is echoed throughout the planet. Those of us who weep at what we've done, and what will continue to be done despite all the evidence of peril, live in a state of shock and despair. It's not like those in charge don't know what will happen, it's that they do, and still decide to put the interests of the absurd above all else. We will wave good bye to every disappearing grain of sand.

  6. I am reminded of this poem, I found many years ago online.

    The Animals are Leaving
    By Charles Harper Webb

    One by one, like guests at a late party
    They shake our hands and step into the dark:
    Arabian ostrich; Long-eared kit fox; Mysterious starling.

    One by one, like sheep counted to close our eyes,
    They leap the fence and disappear into the woods:
    Atlas bear; Passenger pigeon; North Island laughing owl;
    Great auk; Dodo; Eastern wapiti; Badlands bighorn sheep.

    One by one, like grade school friends,
    They move away and fade out of memory:
    Portuguese ibex; Blue buck; Auroch; Oregon bison;
    Spanish imperial eagle; Japanese wolf; Hawksbill
    Sea turtle; Cape lion; Heath hen; Raiatea thrush.

    One by one, like children at a fire drill, they march outside,
    And keep marching, though teachers cry, “Come back!”
    Waved albatross; White-bearded spider monkey;
    Pygmy chimpanzee; Australian night parrot;
    Turquoise parakeet; Indian cheetah; Korean tiger;
    Eastern harbor seal ; Ceylon elephant ; Great Indian rhinoceros.

    One by one, like actors in a play that ran for years
    And wowed the world, they link their hands and bow
    Before the curtain falls.