This is the sixth chapter of a serialised story. The first chapter is here:
The COBRA emergency committee was in session, again. The PM spoke first. ‘We have to do something to show we are in control and to get our poll ratings up. Any ideas?’
‘I think we should just do the right things for the people and let the polls take care of themselves,’ said the Chief of the Armed Forces.
‘Yes, that’s ok for you to say, Chief, but you don’t have to get elected.’
‘Yes, and I have only got a majority of 900 in my constituency,’ grumbled the Home Secretary.
‘I have a draft plan here,’ said the Defence Secretary.
‘Thank heavens someone has been doing some thinking,’ said the PM. ‘Let’s hear it then.’
‘I think we should declare a national emergency, this would give us emergency powers to do nearly what we want. We should ground all air flights because of the ash being blown over our air space from Iceland. Evacuate the South West because the lava flows from the Lundy volcano are predicted to cut off the M5 in about 48 hours time. Keep all cars off the roads, only allow trucks and the emergency services to deliver food and keep order. Use the army to assist the police with the evacuation and to keep order. Hinkley Point nuclear power station will be have to shut down, just as the French guys have got it working. It must be made safe before the lava overwhelms it.’ He gave a nervous giggle, ‘that is all I have so far, PM.’
‘Excellent, well done, that should show that we are prepared to make hard choices in our people’s interests and should shore up our poll results as well – err, not that we are really interested in that of course.’
A ripple of self-conscious laughter went around the table.
Bangor Northern Ireland.
‘Why are we suffering under this abomination of smoke, pollution and evil? Why naw?’ asked the vicar from his pulpit in the church in Bangor. It was a rhetorical question, this was a man who knew he knew all the answers – but, in reality, he knew nothing.
‘I’ll tell you why,’ he thundered. ‘We are suffering just as the tribes of Israel suffered from failed crops, plagues of locusts and boils because we have parted from the path of righteousness. We have allowed fornication and homosexuality to take over this land and we are now suffering the just punishment for this behaviour.’
He thundered on, spouting the old, well-worn nonsense he knew so well, sounding like some old testament prophet from a small tribe with only knowledge of the local area. Full of bile but not really having a clue what he was talking about.
Julie sat in the pew with her parents, trying not to laugh at this silly old man going on about things that had no connection with today’s reality. To the extreme embarrassment of her parents, Julie stood up and walked out of the church muttering, ‘this is all evil nonsense,’ as she walked to the door at the back of the church.
Mum and Dad started giggling as they started to see the funny side of this. Even the ranting reverend started laughing at the absurdity of what he had been saying. The laughter was contagious, it started a few others off, then more, until the whole congregation was helpless with laughter. They knew not at what they laughed, but it felt good anyway.
Professor Damyanti Singh looked along at her colleagues sitting on the podium, saw they were all ready and then stood up, walked across to the lectern and shuffled her notes into an orderly pile before starting to speak.
‘My dear colleagues of the IPCC and the many other earth scientists who have joined us here today.
The reason for this international conference is to summarise what we collectively know about the situation of the earth as far as the human race is concerned. Then how we intend to discuss and decide how to record what has happened and store these records to perhaps be read by some future civilisation in many thousands of years time. I hope they will treat the Earth better than we have.
I intend to set the scene with an overall summary by picking areas that most clearly show the state of the Earth.
It has been shown by many calculations and confirmed by many experiments that the carbon we are burning has decreased the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere by more than 3.7%. This because each atom of carbon requires two atoms of oxygen to fully convert the carbon to the carbon dioxide that everyone is talking about. Why has no one, until recently, worried about the depletion of oxygen? The deforestation of the last one hundred and twenty years has also much reduced the replenishment of the lost oxygen. This has been completely anthropogenic.
There is also a huge increase in volcanism around the world. It has been shown by international earth scientists that this is partly because the speed of plate tectonics has speeded up over the last ten years. The mid-Alantic ridge is expanding so there has been a huge increase in eruptions on the sea floor. This increasing volume has raised the sea level by some three feet during the last five years, This is in addition to the increase in sea levels caused by the warming of the oceans and the melting of the glaciers.
This has been confirmed by the increasing activity seen in the Icelandic volcanoes and the many assumed extinct volcanoes around the world on fault lines.
The increasing speed of plate tectonics means that the converse, subduction, is also increasing. An example is along the coast of Chile where there have been many earthquakes and tsunamis as the pacific plate dives under the South American plate. This has resulted in the reactivation of many of the Andean volcanoes. With a great loss of life.
Humans are innocent of any effect on this change in plate tectonics and I can only assume that Gaia has taken action to rid herself of the human plague.
Adding together the increased vulcanism, causing in a drop in world temperatures resulting in much reduced crop yields, the rise in sea level flooding farm land, we predict a world famine for the years following this year’s harvest. There will also be many that will die from the lack of oxygen and we predict that there will be many millions of climate refuges who move down to sea level to increase their chance of surviving.
The world will carry on without it’s human cargo – perhaps with a sigh of relief, but we have a duty to pass on the knowledge of our civilisation, with all of its faults and mistakes, to a possible future many years in the future. For this we propose that we assemble our records and a storage centre. I think the data storage will have to be in digital form but we then have the problem of digital obsolescence. How do we ensure that the digital data can be accessed? For this reason we propose that each file container will have the source code attached to it. We will also have analogue instructions on how to build a machine that can read the data, engraved on gold discs, similar to the famous Voyager’s two information discs. There will also be a handbook on how to read the digital information in the source code based on the frequency of hydrogen.
The storage centre must meet several criteria. It must be able to survive for many thousands of years, it must protect the data, it must be discoverable.
The only object is a pyramid built of the hardest stone built in one of the most stable places on Earth. It will therefore be built of gneiss in the centre of the Canadian shield. An identical pyramid will be built of the same material in the African Shield at Vredevort in South Africa. An unshielded plutonium sphere will be placed in the centre of each pyramid.
A civilisation will need to grow that can identify the radiation and communicate well enough to realise that the two pyramids are identical. The records will contain the sum of the history and knowledge of the human race.
Because of the drop in percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere there is a corresponding increase in the pollutants, the oxides of nitrogen. One of these, of course is Nitrous Oxide, laughing g, tee, hee – err excuse me.
The conference had a good laugh before returning to their own countries to complete the building of the storage depositories before perishing with the last members of the human race.
This means that T S Elliot was wrong, the world will end not with a bang but with a whimper.
The truth is that the world will end not with a bang but with a giggle.’
Gaia will live on.
Is this the end of the world? See the next chapter in this story – coming soon.
© Richard Kefford Eorðdraca
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