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Space Pioneer
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Graphic by Kim Peart with an image prepared in Second Life.

Fiery Rage

An angry red Sun is rising
through an orange sky of smoke
where ash falls like snow
on a landscape charred insane
like a blacksmith's fiery stroke

First day back at school was sunny
classes rumbled on inane
until that announcement to vacate
walking home along the beach
best way to avoid any flame

The water was strangely calm
with smoke clouds blowing over
flames dancing along the hilltop
like demons from an underworld
working there way ever closer

A tree lit up like a castle torch
flickering fingers into the sky
sparking embers raining down
stomped upon when on the ground
lest flames so swiftly catch and fly

Hot wind blowing strong around
drying out the tinder ground
wondering what would happen next
siren howls on its mission of mercy 
imagining where it may be bound

TV news was harsh and grim
of a farmer racing the flames
raged past his tractor like a knife
burning off his clothes
and there he sat in a haze

Next day to see what happened
in the valley over the hill
where old farms and hedgerows
were swept away by a wall of fire
the ashen land now silent and still

Rode my bike past burning fence posts
past sheep that had been trapped
where old stone houses were empty husks
to find a blackened sword of war
handle burnt as the weapon crashed

Rain fell again in its good time
soaking into the blackened land
new growth sprang up renewing life
of green and flowers in bloom
revived from the flaming hand

Memories fade of that fiery rage
when we walked the beach from school
not knowing if our homes would be gone
in a war of heat with devils of flame
of Mother Nature kind and cruel

An angry red Sun is setting
through an orange sky of smoke
where ash falls like snow
on a landscape charred insane
like a blacksmith's fiery stroke



JaqiART-Poem-Image-Fire2-8Feb2019.jpgImage made by Kim Peart in Second Life.

Note on Fiery Rage ~   This poem is set in 1967, when on our first day back at High School, the day was cut, and those who live along the other end of Howrah Beach, were instructed to walk home along the beach. We were lucky to be spared the wall of fire that raged across the island for 5 hours on Tuesday 7th February that year. The fires came roaring over Mt Wellington and into the suburbs of Hobart. Fire brigades were preparing to pump salt water from the River Derwent to save the city, when the wind changed with a sea breeze, to drive the wall of death back on itself. [1]
Over the hill from where I lived in Howrah, is the valley of Clarence Plains, an old farming area that once supplied food to Sydney in times of famine in colonial days. This valley of historic homes, farms and hedgerows, was swept to ash by a wall of fire, that raced through the valley faster than anyone could have imagined possible. Many lives were lost on that dark day of fiery rage. 
The sword in the poem had a new wooden handle attached, and went with me on many Scout camps and bush walks, to hack through the scrub. Looking back, this reminds me of a colonial character, Jorgen Jorgenson, who was given a sword by a farmer to take on his expedition to find a north-west passage across the island, to allow an overland road for the Van Diemen's Land Company established at Stanley in the North-West, who had been awarded vast tracts of land by the British Government in London when Tasmania was a colony, known as Van Diemen's Land. Jorgenson features in another poem called, Cork with a Sail, and called that, because he often went down in life, but kept popping up again, to continue his unusual adventures.
I don't think swords would be allowed on Scout camps now, but that was half a century ago, when all we had to worry about were nukes sending us all into oblivion.
Could a fire like that in 1967 happen again? They do, but not like that Black Tuesday. At least, not yet. But what waits. With the burning of too much fossil fuel for too long, the planet is being made hotter, and this includes Tasmania, with expectations of a temperature rise of 3C, and probably a lot more, compared to the present 1C rise above the pre-industrial era. [2] Reading a report today, I see a sobering warning that 1.5C could arrive any time within five years. [3] How much higher, how much sooner, and what will this apocalyptic world be like that we are creating?

In his 2009 book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia: a final warning, James Lovelock warned that that there could be a sudden rise in temperature on Earth, because the Sun is steadily getting hotter, and the Earth system, unable to keep the present 
balance, will swiftly shift to a permanently hotter environment. This is basic astronomy for a star like our Sun, which is now 35 per cent hotter than at its birth 4.5 billion years ago, is slowly getting more radiant, or warmer, and has so much fuel in reserve, it will burn fiercely over the next 5 billion years, until expanding to the orbit of the Earth as a red giant star. A permanently hotter planet will happen, one day, but has burning too much fossil fuel for too long presented the risk of an early heat death of the Earth? In his 2009 book, Storms of My Grandchildren, James Lovelock shared his conclusions about the Earth system, that with atmospheric CO2 above 350 ppm, to keep planet temperature rise below 1.5C, we run the gauntlet of triggering a runaway greenhouse effect, that will ultimately prematurely turn the Earth into a second Venus, with no water, where rocks glow in a heat that can melt lead.

When we find ourselves on a 1.5C hotter planet within 5 years, what do we imagine will happen next? We may wonder about the warning of emeritus environmental professor of the environment, Guy McPherson, who looked at the state of the planet and concluded that a survival level heat event will strike Earth in the coming decade. [4]
There have been fires again in recent days, with the loss of some property, but worse in other ways with a greater blow to the environment, and to a very special Tasmanian industry. These fires have ripped through Leatherwood forest, where beekeepers gather in the nectar to make Leatherwood Honey, which forms a surprising 70 per cent of the island's honey production. Many hives of bees were lost to the fires as well. The trouble is, Leatherwood trees and the forests can take a century to recover from fire. This is in a part of Tasmania that does not normally burn, where there is heavy rainfall along the West Coast. [5]
The reason for these changes is global warming driving climate change, with warmer ocean water flowing south and around Tasmania, leading to drier conditions on land, as well as killing of the kelp forests around the island, and bringing warm water fish species, which displace the locals. [6] Recent findings show that there is 40 per cent more heat taken in by the sea than previously known of. [7] This warmer ocean water is melting Antarctic ice from beneath, and with a large cavity just discovered in the Thwaites Glacier, we can wait and wonder how soon that melting ice will translate into sea level rise. [8]
This planet is getting hotter, and on the current trajectory, the damage is going to be quite immense. Should we ask what the plan of action is? There doesn't appear to be any plan of action to match the level of crisis that the whole World is stepping into. And then there is the Leatherwood Honey. There is no plan to save the Leatherwood forests.
One scientist, Professor Peter Davies, took the famed Tasmanian writer, Richard Flanagan, on a scientific expedition to the World Heritage wilderness of the West Coats, to show him how the region is "dying". [9] Flanagan points out, "the startlingly new phenomenon of widespread dry lightning storms. Almost unknown in Tasmania until this century they had increased exponentially since 2000, leading to a greatly increased rate of fire in a rapidly drying south-west."
That is not the kind of postcard that the Tasmanian Government wants to see flying out of Tasmania, where tourism is a boom industry, attracting over a million visitors a year. [10] And Leatherwood Honey is part of the attraction.
One gallant attempt to stem the recent fires, before the hot wind swept in from the heated heart of Australia, was to use sprinklers to protect some of the most sensitive areas. [11] 
Could this be a way to protect the Leatherwood trees?
For anyone who loves honey, and loves Leatherwood honey, and would like to be able to keep enjoying this nectar of Nature, could walls of water be used to fight walls of fire?
In other articles I have suggested that Tasmania could be drought-proofed, be using solar power to pump desalinated ocean water to any location on the island. As we face a future with hotter and fiercer fires, should we establish an island-wide system of water reservoirs, so that we can protect our environment and save the Leatherwood forests? A comprehensive fire protection system could include sprinklers in Leatherwood trees, not to mention around beehives.
With heaps of chatter about reducing carbon emissions, the environmental reality is heading in the opposite direction. We need to consider the best option of all to win back a safe Earth, with solar power stations in space, and use the power of the Sun to extract excess carbon from the air. This is physically possible, but will take a heap of energy to achieve, to turn back the clock on all those burnt offerings to progress. With industry in space, we could also construct an adjustable sunshade above the Earth, to help cool the planet, as excess carbon is being removed from the air. Extracted carbon could then be processed into a useful resource for Earth and space industries.
The space option could have been initiated in the 1970s, when proposed by the Princeton physics professor, Gerard K. O'Neill, and we could have begun the transition out of fossil fuel, as well as building a far more advanced civilisation with space resources. [12]
As we stumble into a rather ugly, if totally avoidable future, do we need to look at plantations of Leatherwood trees, protected by water, so we can enjoy the nectar of the flower delivered by the bee into endless generations to come.

When shopping yesterday, most of the Leatherwood honey was gone from the shelves, with but a few small jars remaining.
And then comes the problems of the bee, under stress globally. Could we begin to turn the bee crisis in Tasmania? Not while we are allowing the hives to be burnt to ash in raging wildfires.
References ~
[1]   1967 Tasmanian fires
Tuesday 7 February 1967

[2]   UN warns world on track to breach 3C rise by 2100; last year was fourth warmest on record
ABC News Online, 7 February 2019

"Last year was the fourth warmest year on record and the outlook is for more sizzling heat approaching levels that most view as dangerous for humankind on the Earth, a United Nations report has shown. The new report said the world was on track to have average global temperatures rise to 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, as record levels of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, is trapping more heat in the Earth's atmosphere. In 2015, almost 200 governments adopted the Paris climate agreement to phase out the use of fossil fuels and limit the rise in temperatures between 1.5C to 2C, to avert "dangerous" man-made climate change.”

[3]   Met Office: global warming could exceed 1.5C within five years
Jonathan Watts, 7 February 2019, The Guardian

"Global warming could temporarily hit 1.5C above pre-industrial levels for the first time between now and 2023, according to a long-term forecast by the Met Office. Meteorologists said there was a 10% chance of a year in which the average temperature rise exceeds 1.5C, which is the lowest of the two Paris agreement targets set for the end of the century. Until now, the hottest year on record was 2016, when the planet warmed 1.11C above pre-industrial levels, but the long-term trend is upward. Man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are adding 0.2C of warming each decade but the incline of temperature charts is jagged due to natural variation: hotter El Niño years zig above the average, while cooler La Ninã years zag below. In the five-year forecast released on Wednesday, the Met Office highlights the first possibility of a natural El Niño combining with global warming to exceed the 1.5C mark."

[4]   ‘End of Days’ is just around the corner, says American professor Guy McPherson
One scientist who sees no hope for our future, the emeritus professor of the environment at the University of Arizona, Guy McPherson, has come to the conclusion that humans will not survive beyond 2030 and speaking in New Zealand in 2017 said, “It will probably be earlier.” and “I’m not a fan (of the information), I’m not promoting it. All I’m doing is connecting the dots. I’m forced to come to that solution.”
[5]   Bushfires devastate Tasmanian leatherwood honey production, prices set to rise
Georgie Burgess, 5 February 2019, ABC News Online
"The price of Tasmanian honey is expected to soar this year after dry conditions and fires across the state have conspired to deliver the industry's worst season in 35 years. Hives have been wiped out along with large amounts of valuable leatherwood trees that are expected to take more than 100 years to recover. About 70 per cent of the state's honey is produced using leatherwood, a rainforest tree that flowers annually over summer. Tasmanian Beekeepers Association vice president Peter Norris said it had already been a challenging season with the trees struggling to flower. Combined with the fires which have ravaged wilderness areas, Mr Norris said it was a perfect storm for the industry. "It's just a disaster. We haven't got a lot of leatherwood anyway," he said. "Leatherwood doesn't handle fire, it takes a couple of hundred years to come back." He said the impacts would affect generations of honey producers. "We're never going to see it recover — once it's gone, it's gone.”"
[6]   Scientists in race to save giant kelp off Tasmanian coast
Lucy MacDonald, 6 February 2019, ABC News Online

"Giant kelp forests once dominated Tasmania's east coast, but 95 per cent has been lost over the past few decades. Now a group of scientists at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) is working to restore the "iconic" kelp reefs. Kelp forests are the dominant habitat formed on reefs around temperate Australia and are home to hundreds of species of animals and plants. But the underwater forests have come under stress in recent years due to ocean warming, urbanisation and pollution. In Western Australia, a heatwave between 2010 and 2013 wiped out about 100 kilometres of kelp cover, replacing it with seaweed and other species associated with sub-tropical and tropical areas.”
[7]   The oceans are the hottest they’ve been since we started measuring — which means we should prepare for more disastrous flooding and storms
"2018 was the hottest year on record for Earth’s oceans. Since scientists started measuring ocean temperatures in the mid-1950s, they have never seen heat like this. According to a study published today in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 2018 broke the 2017 temperature record, which in turn smashed 2016’s. The planet’s oceans absorb a whopping 93% of the extra heat that greenhouse gases trap in the atmosphere. And recent research revealed that this absorption process is happening far faster than scientists previously realised. According to an analysis published in the journal Science last week, the world’s oceans are heating up 40% faster (on average) than the prior estimate."
[8]   Scientists discover cavity two-thirds the size of Manhattan underneath Antarctic glacier
ABC News Online, 6 February 2019

"A gigantic cavity almost 300 metres tall and two-thirds the size of Manhattan has been discovered growing at the bottom of a glacier in West Antarctica. The Thwaites Glacier — which is itself more than twice the size of Tasmania — is currently responsible for approximately 4 per cent of global sea level rise. The NASA-led study expected to find a few gaps between the ice and the bedrock underneath the glacier, where ocean water could flow in and melt it from below — but researchers said the size and explosive growth rate of the cavity took them by surprise. They think it would have contained 14 billion tonnes of ice, and said most of that ice melted over the past three years. "We have suspected for years that Thwaites was not tightly attached to the bedrock beneath it," said NASA's Eric Rignot, one of the study's co-authors. "Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the detail.”” 
[9]   Tasmania is burning. The climate disaster future has arrived, while those in power laugh at us …
Richard Flanagan, 5 February 2019, Tasmanian Times ….. The Guardian
"Five years ago I was contacted by a stranger, Prof Peter Davies, an eminent water scientist. He wanted to meet because he had news he thought would interest me. The night we met Davies told me that the south-west of Tasmania – the island’s vast, uninhabited and globally unique wildland, the heart of its world heritage area – was dying. The iconic habitats of rainforest, button grass plains, and heathlands had begun to vanish because of climate change. I was shocked. I had understood that climate change’s effects on Tasmania would be significant but not disastrous; the changes mitigated by Tasmania being surrounded by seas that were not heating as quickly as others: the island’s west would get wetter, the east a little warmer and drier, but compared to much of the world it didn’t seem catastrophic. But it wasn’t so. Tasmania’s sea waters were warming at two to three times the global rate. Davies’ work, with that of other scientists, was revealing the warming and drying of Tasmania’s west and highlands, and the growing impact this was having. The highland lakes of Tasmania would, for example, in the next 70 to 100 years see between a 10% and 20% drop in rainfall, coupled to a 20% to 30% increase in evaporation. By the end of this century a significant proportion of these lakes and wetlands will cease to exist or be largely dried out much of the year. Then there was the startlingly new phenomenon of widespread dry lightning storms. Almost unknown in Tasmania until this century they had increased exponentially since 2000, leading to a greatly increased rate of fire in a rapidly drying south-west. Compounding all this, winds were also growing in duration, further drying the environment and fuelling the fires’ spread and ferocity. Such a future would see these fires destroy Tasmania’s globally unique rainforests and mesmerising alpine heathlands. Unlike mainland eucalyptus forest these ecosystems do not regenerate after fire: they would vanish forever. Tasmania’s world heritage area was our Great Barrier Reef, and, like the Great Barrier Reef, it seemed doomed by climate change."
[10]   Latest visitor numbers
Tourism Tasmania
[11]   Wilderness bushfire grows to 20k ha, but sprinklers help spare ancient Tasmanian vegetation
"Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) deputy incident controller Nic Deka said sprinklers at Lake Rhona halted the threat at Lake Rhona for now. "It was a good sight because the protection works that we've done there with the sprinkler systems have been very effective at halting the fire and protecting the higher value vegetation in that particular site," he said. "There's pencil pines, there's cushion plants, there's species that are typical of alpine vegetation types.""
[12]   Gerard K. O'Neill

FURTHER ~   In my document 2018, The Message, I present more references on the carbon crisis that is now upon us on Earth, and suggest a plan of action for human survival, and to win back a safe Earth. I suggest that a good hobby over the next few millennia, can be to transform Venus into a second Earth, because if we can figure out how to do that, do we really have a problem on Earth, or more of a failure of the human imagination? Our future needs to be in the Solar System as a whole, and we may not have long to sort that matter out, if survival is on our bucket list for our children and future generations ~

ABOUT THE POEMS ~   Poems by Kim Peart are written in the virtual world called Second Life, via an avatar. This is a unique writing technique, to focus on making a picture with words. In the current batch, there are 31 poems written since June 2018, aiming for 101, and then if up to scratch, a book. When a poem is complete, I make an illustration and put the poem in a notecard that goes in a board. Visitors click on the board to fetch the poem. Then I send a message to friends in Second Life, who are located all around the World, with an invitation to visit the Poems Gallery to read the latest poem. How'z that ..... first published in Second Life, and at times with inspirations drawn from Second Life, or sparking ideas awake from observations in real life. I often tell folk in Second Life, that in the Poems Galley I enslave words to use as oars to row the verse boats across the sea of poems, and hope they don't hit any rocks and sink, or get lured to destruction by sirens singing silly songs. I am now wondering about writing a short story concerning a mouse with wings. This would take the writing to another level. Where I write the poems in a watermill house, I may set up a room in my castle in the mountains in Second Life, where there is snow all year round, and where eagles fly. There, by a blazing fire, I may write stories, well defended from distractions.

The Poems Galley in Second Life, located in the Sky Gallery part of the Jaqi Art Explorer gallery, where there are more boards waiting for poems in the next level up. 

In the Sky Gallery, with a view to the visual art area below, where there is an installation in a room of a robot in a bath, that visitors can chat with. The virtual worlds offer an easy way to set up environments and build spaces, that then work like a 5-dimentional interactive website, which anyone on Earth can visit, via an avatar.

The Jaqui Art Explorer Gallery in Second Life, located next to the Pawpaw train station, where there is a magic door inside on the right, to teleport an avatar to the Sky Gallery above, where the Poems Gallery is located.  

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