The planet roars


“The planet roars and humankind is failing to manage itself.”

3.00 am. I wake up with the above in my head, thinking, “This is a nightmare!”

Then, “Hang on, surely if it was nightmare, I’d be thrashing around, tearing the sheets, my pillow wet with tears. That’s not happening, all I feel is curiosity. Why did I use the phrase ‘manage itself’ and not, say, ‘defend itself’ or ‘fight it’?

I wonder if it is because the planet will do what it will do regardless of humankind, that we are part of the process, not the director of it. We must manage ourselves first, then work with it, not treat the planet as if it is just another problem we can master.

All this following a day in which I had watched a cruise liner make its way up channel – with 700 passengers and 447 crew on board – very comfortable;

on the same day in which I had seen images of a light, wooden boat jammed to the gunnels with people in the Mediterranean – surely an offense to humanity;

on a day in which I had checked some of my own images taken recently on a beach; among them:


Offensive? Dangerous to humanity.

Thirty five years ago, I set a waypoint for myself. It is a quote by a Richard Sutcliffe – (I’m afraid I know no more about this particular Richard Sutcliffe other than his name). It is a depressing quote but a useful one:

“In a strictly human world of concrete landscape, concrete fear, tense bodies, closed minds, anger, violence and grey predictability, I could understand that optimism failed as a popular stance.”

Thirty five years on, we haven’t sailed very far from this waypoint. The word to hold on to is OPTIMISM – I’m still clutching it.


3.30 am. I am beginning to drop off to sleep again having yet again failed to solve the problems of the world but at least I have tried to put a finger on it.

As I go to sleep I wonder, “Can I justify the word ‘roars’ . . .?

(Images by Bill Whateley, the first February 2014, the second June 2015)