These days will change us all
I usually try to be amusing in these blog posts, but I’m failing totally today. If you’re up for the lolz, to the wrong place you have come, young padawan.
The setting for STORMDANCER is “dystopian”. There’s something tragically hip about dystopian settings atm – publishers can’t seem to get enough of them. But I didn’t write an “end of world” setting because I thought it might sell some books. I wrote it because I genuinely believe it is the duty of the artist (and I realise I’m dangerously close to sounding like an utter tosser here) to reflect the times he or she lives in.
At its heart, STORMDANCER is a story about the destructive price of a seemingly progressive technology. It’s a story about extinction, and the fact that sacrifice is necessary to turn a big ship around. The “ship” in the book is an island called Shima. But really, Shima is just an analogy for the ship we’re all sailing on at this very moment. A small, insignificant blue-green ship somewhere near the western spiral arm of the galaxy.
In order to publicize the rate of species loss our planet is currently undergoing, the United Nations holds the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22nd each year. That’s next week. The truth is, this planet (OUR planet) is suffering an unprecedented rate of species death. Not since the mass-extinction of the dinosaurs have so many forms of life on earth been under threat, or simply wiped out. And the sad and sobering fact is, this destruction isn’t being caused by a meteorite impact or some other factor beyond our control.
Its being caused by us.
This is shitty news. And the truth is, some people don’t want to hear it. They’d rather read about what Kate Middleton wore to the royal wedding, or watch an episode of Jersey Shore. But extinction is forever. It means these creatures are never coming back. No DNA frozen in amber inside mosquitos, no theme parks, no re-runs. Just memories and dusty photographs, if anyone knew about them at all.
Some sobering facts:
- Depending who you read, somewhere between 30 and 150 species are wiped out every day on planet earth. An extraordinarily conservative estimate is that we lose around 1 species per hour. Every hour of every day. One species. Gone. Forever.
- We are currently chopping down or outright burning one and a half acres of rainforest every second. If you are possessed of a basic high-school education, you will know about photosynthesis; the concept that trees convert carbon dioxide (you know, the gas that’s causing the greenhouse effect) into oxygen (you know, the stuff we need to live). We are literally chopping out the lungs of our planet. Click here, skip down to “Regions” and check the “Remaining habitat” figures.
- There are currently five vast soups of non-degrading pelagic plastics and chemical sludge floating in the oceans on this planet. There is more plastic than plankton (the foundation of the oceanic food chain) currently floating in the Pacific Ocean.
- Rate of decline in plankton numbers is currently sitting at 1% per year. This figure is set to increase exponentially in a long-term downward trend, as ocean temperatures continue to rise due to global warming. Without plankton, the entire oceanic food chain falls to pieces.
This is the tip of the iceberg. But the information is out there if you genuinely want to learn, and there ARE positive steps you can take towards reducing your impact on this incredible planet we all share. You don’t need to join up with Sea Shepherd or start bombing oil depots. If you’d rather watch Jersey Shore, well, you can do that too. But you should probably watch this first.
Sorry for the lack of lolz. I’ll try to be funnier next week.
emoc ot sgniht fo epahs eht ylno s’tI .demrala eb t’nod, diarfa mees uoY