golden toad banner

The Golden Toad Has Croaked!

A short story that could save the world, but probably won't.
Glyn Morgan
All rights reserved.
 

Chapter 1

Fin, a tallish, fit man with friendly tanned features and a typical thin-lipped Australian mouth, jumped off the bow of the well-used fishing boat as it nosed between kelp covered granite rocks into the beach. That thin-lipped look is not due to any angry attitude or permanent determination; Aussies just keep their mouths tight shut to keep the flies out, despite the fact that flies are very high in protein. 

He scrunched up the steep shingly beach towards a glade of stunted pines. The grizzled Chilean skipper and crew-boy gave a casual wave as Fin shouted something that was shredded by the wind. He disappeared into deep shade. Relief showed on his weather-beaten face, boat trips anywhere near Cape Horn were not his favourite pastime.

 

Chapter 2

 

Fin Andersen, famous mammalogist and author, was on yet another mission. They were regular events in his active life. His primary interest was the effect of global warming on mammals and their habitat as well as the solution to any adverse effects. The causes had to be found and corrected. The basic cause of human pollution in this blue and beautiful world is human overpopulation, that is well known but is swept under the carpet as it is "politically incorrect". Of course there cannot be PC in a free world but that does not stop the cliché's flowing. "Sustainable" is the latest lie. How can there be sustainable deforestation when the population of the world is doubling every 32 years? What is a sustainable city? Athens maybe? Ha! Ha! Anyway, some people are seriously trying to fix things and Fin was one of them.

Global warming is a very serious problem that politicians just don't take seriously. The idiots just plain don't want to. Egotistical politicians look at the bottom line for their term in office and to hell with the country or the world after that. Just think of that soggy Brit, Nigel Lawson, or John whats-his-name, the ex Australian PM! And the rest.

It takes people like Fin Andersen to kick arse with hard facts! He is a practical scientist, no illogical tree-hugger. This time he was at the bottom end of the Andes mountain chain, on a small rocky island in the Chilean region of Magallanes y La Antarctica, a few nautical miles north-west of Cape Horn . Most people know the area as Chilean Patagonia but Patagonia is in the Argentine.

He carried a battered tog bag, some camping gear and a rucksack with a well-used sleeping bag strapped to the top. Warm jeans, a woolly red check shirt, an anorak and one of those black and red lumberjack caps with ear flaps were as good as standard. Two big feet lifted good but battered CAT hiking boots, his left wrist carried a Rolex with scratched glass and missing bezel ring. The old stainless steel Coleman cool box would be collected from the beach later.

 

Chapter 3

 

The boat backed off, belched black diesel fumes as the turbo-charger struggled to catch up with the revs of the old yellow Caterpillar D333 engine. Those old pre-combusion-chamber CAT diesels sounded great. Calloused hands put the wheel hard-a-starboard, the engine ahead and increased the revs. Fin was already in the bush when the tough looking skipper gave half a wave, pulled his anorak hood over his head and headed home.

The stern wave kicked up a bit of spume in the strengthening westerly, it would take a long day to get back to the Punta Arenas small-boat basin even with the following wind. Those grizzly hands swung the spoked wheel, pushed the engine controls to full ahead at around 2100 rpm. He was going to take his family to La Casa Nostra steak house out on the eastern edge of town. His fat charter fee would more than cover a big steak and a bottle or three of good Chilean white wine around that big circular red-brick fireplace. Let the wind howl outside.

The first real snow of the winter was expected to be a bit late, maybe by the end of April. Latitude is 56° South down near Cape Horn, the same as Glasgow is north but it is almost Antarctic. Weather can be brutal, the colours are hard black and white and grey if you are lucky, not the soft green of Glasgow 's wee fields. The mercury was down near zero °C, the wind blustery and rising, drizzle seemed to be semi-permanent. Gales go up and down here a few times a week, sometimes it seems that they only go up. But the glaciers keep retreating! Ever wondered why? 

 Fin had been here once before a year earlier searching for traces a rare cat species. It was thought to be related to the jungle margay, a hyper-active tree-living monkey-hunting cat. If one listened to the locals it lives in this one isolated cleft in the high gray granite rock of this lonely island.

A few bones were all he had for his trouble and some strange ants that proved to be real live proto-ants. The proto-ants made him famous but nobody was interested in old bones, which rather annoyed him as he was a mammalogist, not supposed to make breakthroughs in other fields like ants. The old bones he had found turned out to be ordinary otter bones, not very significant on the world scale.

The ants were a throw-back from the age of dinosaurs.  This was proved in fossil records from around the world but most notably from a dense field of dinosaur bones in south-western Argentina which included lots of ant fossils. Never thought there were ant-fossils did you? Now you know! There was some negative comment from a group of know-it-all journalists in the Sydney papers saying that he had actually found some common wasps, but the presence of jointed feelers and a metapleural gland proved that they were ants. 

He, Fin Andersen, had found some dinosaur ants! The find put him on the same level of instant world-wide fame as Professor Smith, who found the Coelacanth off East London , South Africa , in 1932.

It was fame that he did not want. All he wanted was to get on with the important things in life, like mammal research. Like just why the lemmings died out in just two decades when they had populated Norway for millions of years. Why did they all just jump into the sea? They are gone, extinct, literally went and jumped into the big pond! Like just why the snow leopard of Asia has changed from a very light coat to a much darker coat more like the African leopard.

And the Golden Toad has croaked! These bright yellow little toads lived on the flat top of a single isolated mountain in Costa Rica . With global warming the cloud-base level lifted off their mountaintop; no mist, no dew, no ponds! So the toads ran out of ponds to breed in. The clouds lifted five or six metres and the Golden Toads are extinct! No clouds, no ponds, no toads. That was vital stuff, it all had to do with climate change, ozone holes, greenhouse gases, too much CO2 and over population. That was what motivated Fin. If you had never heard of the Golden Toads you now have! It could be your pond next....

Chapter 4


Now with winter coming on he had a limited time to look for his cats, he would do a thorough search and be off the island when the boat came back in a week's time. Of course the weather could hold things up, as it does in this part of the world.

Last years campsite looked the same. Up from the steep beach, through fifty metres of scrubby trees, a mixture of small nondescript, twisted pines, Chilean monkey puzzle pines and hardwoods and on to a flat plateau next to a stream.

The stream made this gully unique, it was hot, with a hint of sulphur in the air. Steam drifted in the breeze. No one knew of any other hot springs in this area. It sprung out high on the north side of a granite ridge and splashed down a series of ribbon-like waterfalls and cascades to near the beach where it disappeared into a pile of big rocks just above the high water mark.

The water seemed to warm the earth as the bulk of it flowed underground, seeping through the ancient scree, the hot spring providing local under floor heating. That could be the reason that there were wild cats here, if the stories were more than just stories. 

Things could have survived here for eons, maybe since the days of the dinosaurs, the proto-ants had so maybe the cats could. Finding those cats and doing some sort of a study on them would be one great big feather in his cap that he would like, as a mammalogist. So he had to find those cats and the sooner the better. For all the heat in the rocks the wind still had the Cape Horn ice-edge to it.

Camp was made under a small stand of stunted pines that grew in the lee of some huge rocks. A fire started and water put on to boil, that first mug of coffee would be welcome. Wind shook the small pegged-down igloo tent, the worst of it blocked by the rocks but it still whistled in the treetops.

The pine cones grew over-size and had plenty of nuts in them. Fin cracked a few on a rock and ate them, tasted good so made a meal of them. The water boiled in his old battered, blackened billy, half a handful of Colombian went in and the grounds sank to the bottom when he plunged a burning stick into the dark brew. Nothing but a second mugful tasted better!

The plan was to do a quick check on the spots that he knew first and then get adventurous, do the high crags and maybe some of the permanent snow-field on the high plateau.

His gear, battered top quality, was laid out on the scraggly grass-covered ground ready for an active few days. Shadows lay across the ground, the chill wind got teeth as the sun dipped below the dark granite peaks. Thicker branches of hard wood were scrounged from the thickets and tossed onto the fire to add some heat for more coffee and a pan of camp-style mush. The thought of finding the cats acted as a major motivator for getting stuck into the next days search.

First light on day two saw Fin stoking the fire for the regulation brew and mush, some smoky toast, then another handful of pine nuts from his anorak pocket.

The temperature was not too bad at 5°C, a high chill factor ensured that plenty of layers were put on before he set out. As narrow rocky gullies go this one was not too difficult to get around, straight up next to the stream, a bit of a scramble every now and then to avoid the cascades and swampy areas in the few level spots but no real hassle.

No sign of cats so far. These cats were not just cats, the object was to try to find out if global warming was affecting the survival ability of various mammals and these cats had not been in contact with humans so their condition could be a good indicator of natural effects on them; if global warming could be called natural!

Magallanes scenery is hard, rugged and phenomenal! Ice topped cliffs, massive bald granite domes, boulders the size of houses, hanging valleys laced with feathery waterfalls falling to sharp ice-shattered grey granite scree. Chillsome mist turns to frigid drizzle and rainbows abound when the sun can get through the low scud.

Photos were taken on his late-model Canon camera and stored in meticulous fashion on a Dell laptop. Can't risk important stuff by using trashy el-cheapo gear. National Geographic or Getaway would kill for the photos from out of the way spots around the world that have been filed and backed up by Fin over the years. He tended to go to places unheard of by the ordinary bod-in-the-street. They can whistle to windward, these multi-mega-pixel shots are up with the best but not for sale! 

That first days search took him to the top of the gully, over a small ridge and onto a grassy steppe high up overlooking the narrow channel between his island and the next, there seemed to be an endless vista of islands, leftovers from a glacial age. He could look down to the pebble beach where he had landed, the campsite and gully. Massive, jagged rocks lay in piles where the ice had dropped them.

Tidal flows and ocean swells generated dangerous-looking eddies and currents around the island edges, kelp waved in the water with the ebb and flow. Cloud-shadows sweep the cliffs, dot the wild wind-ripped sea. This must be about the greatest view on earth! Far-off peaks topped with permanent icecaps, glaciers flow silently, hidden in the valleys.

Fin wandered how long they would last with all the CO2 being pumped out by coal burning power stations, China had just built another twenty three this year. The thought ruined his day. 

Days folded into days. The date on the laptop kept count, with no deadlines time greys out. Every day the area covered increased, new tracks beaten into unknown glades, tracks ploughed through snow fields in high valleys, rough scrambles risked over heaped chips of still more grey granite rock. Moving about in this part of the world is no stroll. Those CAT boots took yet another battering!

The scree ranged in size from small, sharp chips to huge boulders piled on huge boulders. The rock was always grey, sometimes wet, sometimes dry, covered with sea-bird guano but always shades of grey. Fin enjoyed the freedom, the utter wildness of the island, even the air had a wild-thing feel to it. Made him think of that song by the Troggs.

There was a lot of interest in the vegetation, the stream and the rocks. Some small bones remained in a cave which could be from a cat, they went into a special zip-lock bag for investigation later, other items followed.

The local livestock was very active, maybe getting ready for winter. Small rodents were busy in the undergrowth, an otter splashed away on Fin's approach, birds flew up but settled back right behind him, unafraid. Flightless Patagonian ducks flapped and splashed around the rocks at the waters edge, eating seaweed when the sea-surge gave them the chance.

Fin once again wondered how they would survive if the temperature went up by a degree or so. But still no cats were found.

Chapter 5

On the last day camp was broken early, all his gear carried down to the dry shingle high on the beach and a few short excursions made along the cliffs just above high water level.

Still no cats so Fin decided, what the heck he was bushed, it was a good day to go fishing. A small plastic hand-reel of line came out of a side pocket in the rucksack, bait put on a hook and it was tossed out a few metres. A handful of pine nuts appeared from the anorak pocket, ready for a lazy morning waiting for the fisherman and his boy to come out from Punta Arenas in his battered old wooden fishing boat.

This was not technical fishing with just the right fancy gear with just the right big name stamped on it, no fish would recognise Fin's cruddy gear but it usually worked. Maybe that was why it worked! Fin settled down for a lazy morning fishing, got comfortable on the pebbles, cracked a Castle and settled down for a long wait. It didn't work out that way. 

He got a bite almost immediately, the ice-cold lager would have to wait, which was unusual. This was not a cooperative fish, the line was overweight but still he had a tense ten minute battle to haul in some obstinate slimy half-metre bony fish. It didn't look too good to eat and was about to be thrown back when Fin took a second look at it. It had strange big bony scales covering a square head, bulging shiny black eyes, no gills that he could see and a sort of long rat tail without fins. It also had big needle teeth that needed an orthodontist.

He immediately recognised it as a species that nobody had ever seen before! This thing must be living in the warm water seeping out of the shingle beach from the hot spring, it might also be a throwback from the age of dinosaurs!

The strange fish went into his snow filled Coleman with a few mils to spare, he suspected that it would cause a stir in fish-expert circles. Life was just not fair! Last time it was proto-ants, now it was a rat tailed fish with disorganised teeth!

No cats, not even a paw print, Fin could have spent more time on the island, with more time he could have made the camp-site rather comfortable.  With winter coming that was not really an option; it was time to get off this island and go home.

Spray thrown up by the bow of the fishing boat could be seen long before Fin could make out the boat, that westerly was still blowing as it had been for millions of years. As it came close he saw the grizzly skipper wave and the crew-boy go up into the bow, a yellow oilskin flapping in the off-shore wind as he guided himself up the side deck. The steel-shod bow crunched into the smooth shingles, holding the boat steady, the skipper maintaining position with a barely turning diesel and a few slow turns on the spoked wheel.

All the camp gear went on board at the bow, the boy catching them as Fin tossed each item up. The icebox took a bit of huffing to load, that ragged-toothed ratfish on ice was quite a weight.  After taking a slow trundle around the beach checking that nothing was left behind he carefully climbed up a short Jacobs ladder on the port bow.

He greeted the boy in very broken Spanish and made his way along the deck to the cramped wheelhouse. After a brief greeting to Fin in equally broken English the skipper pulled the Morse gear lever astern, the gearbox whined as the boat backed off the beach with its usual belch of vile black smoke.

Boat rides are usually fun, but this one stretched a bit, wind was from astern most of the time and blowing half a gale. Icy sleet added to Fins discomfort. There was no cargo or load of fish to stabilise it so it did a fair amount of rolling about on the westerly chop. That old six cylinder D333 diesel and it's leaky exhaust filled the cramped crew cabin with an acrid soup of hydrocarbon fumes. The skipper and boy didn't notice a thing. Fin blew chunks!

Chapter 6

Power stations continued to multiply to satisfy the demands of the growing population. The poorest strata of society continued to exercise their rights to have big families, so locking themselves into perpetual poverty. The collective carbon foot-print of the world's smokers hung huge and deadly. Noxious fumes clogged the atmosphere as never before while the politicians turned away from hard decisions, as usual.

Oil sheiks and coal barons got richer as oil and coal prices shot up. Farmers left their drought destroyed acres and operated mine machinery to stay alive. Australia maintained the distinction of being the biggest exporter of pollution with Australians also being the biggest per capita users of non-renewable energy in the whole big wide world.  China took over as the world's biggest producer of green-house gasses while claiming credits as a developing country. Spot the hypocrisy.

Fast forward a few years....

Clods of dry earth flew as Fin took a wild swing with his boots into the ploughed up sods behind his old Massey-Ferguson with it's attached three mould-board plough on his sun-blasted small holding 14 k's out of Armidale, in the New South Wales country-side somewhat north of Sydney. The dust blowing off Mount Mitchell reminded him of snow blowing off Mount Everest. He was normally a cool tempered guy but things were getting to him now, a bit of desperation was in the air.

This drought and the heat were killing the country, it was like nothing ever experienced before. Dust clouded the sun, evil-red suns at mid-day. Heat killed livestock, shriveled anything planted, water evaporated the moment it hit earth. Evil-hot mid-nights when only the dead slept. The sheep were dying, the Great Barrier Reef was bleached to hell, every day some species went bottom up.

That crooked-toothed ratfish came to mind, the slimy fish that had made him famous again. First the proto-ants then the ratfish. This time as a "fish expert"! He was nominated Australian of the Year! Wow! And what good had that done? None!

The fish was as old as the dinosaurs, had seen species come and go, had been successful for millions of years and now? And now! Maybe it was bottom-up like the rest! Done in by smoke. But maybe it had survived in the warm water seeping through the scree, so maybe it would survive to see more species come and go. Which ones?

As he stomped through the kitchen fly screen Fin shouted to his wife "The golden toads have croaked! We killed them! Our bloody pollution killed them!"

The thought crossed his mind that he should take the family to that valley in Chile , that cool gully with fresh water that flowed all the time. Grass, green in cool shade under gnarled pines, nuts to pick up and eat at leisure. Which reminded him that he had a stock of pine nuts almost forgotten in his old anorak hanging up in the garage with the rest of the camp stuff.

That got him thinking that this damn drought was not going to make him give up growing things, he would plant a tree! And to hell with the drought! To hell with polluters and pork-barrel politicians!

The heat didn't give up, just kept on burning up the land, temp was up some degrees on average for the month and that was the recent average. This was global warming going crazy, and the politicians kept on blaming somebody else when a really aggressive decision was needed from them to change to clean energy, to cut CO2 emissions fast.

Some countries took the difficult path and were doing what they could, others did zipall. The Chinese were burning too much coal, they were to blame, the Americans were to blame because they had this ego thing with big cars, the Africans were to blame for over grazing and having too many babies.

Of course everybody was to blame in some way, the fat-belly Yank in his fat-tired over size pickup truck, the family with six snotty nosed kids, farmers chopping trees down and overgrazing, the little old lady next door who turned her hot water geyser up high, the country that exported coal for pure greed, the housewife who used her fancy four-by-four to go shopping instead of walking a few metres.

Australia was happy to take Chinese money for millions of tonnes of coal exported every year, and then blamed the Chinese for actually burning it! Politicians and coal owners alike, hypocrites! That was not confined to only Australia , but included all coal exporting countries and mixed assorted CO2 polluters from Albania through Brazil and Russia to Zimbabwe and back! Plus those sailors who delivered the coal in their giant bulk carriers that burnt high-sulphur fuel oil and trailed noxious yellow photo-chromatic plumes across the world's oceans. Viva clean power! Return to sail power!

A couple of years ago Fin had taken a friend fishing offshore at Mackay in his tinny, caught a couple of nice queen fish and a yellow fin tuna. There were forty-one big bulk carriers anchored to the south off the coal terminals of Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay , twenty cape size, sixteen panamax and five handys. The total tonnage of coal they could carry was over four and a half million tonnes! And those were the ships waiting for cargo at only one port! How much carbon was going to be pumped into our atmosphere from that load? Too bloody much, that's what!

So Fin planted his nuts!

Chapter 7

First he got some expert advice on propagating pine trees from a friendly guy called Richard in the biology department at the University of New England in town. Each pine nut was put in a soil filled white yogurt cup, with a touch of hydroponics mix, to boost growth he told his wife. Drips were arranged using an upside down plastic bottle filled with grey water and some rubber tubing. Altogether thirty nuts were planted, the kids had somehow eaten the rest, couldn't leave anything around without them eating it.

Nothing happened, or at least that is what it appeared for some days to Fin and his mob. Then there were some small roots and a bit of green stalk. In next to no time the seedlings were a couple of centimeters high, these pines were growing at a good rate, must have been the warmth or the hydroponics mix.

After a couple of weeks they had to be taken outside and transplanted in the hard dirt along the track, not a good place but what could he do? Didn't seem to bother the trees, they kept on growing. These trees were energetic, you could see the daily growth, one month and they were two metres high, dead straight, straight up!

Two months saw the three metre mark past, trunks were fifteen centimeters thick and looking good. Three months and the bod from the uni was getting exited, mumbled something about the trees taking moisture from the air and not much from the ground. Cones grew during month four and once again the uni bod got wound up, collected all the nuts he could get his hands on. For research he said. The cones were those oversize nut producers that Fin had seen in Chile . His seeds were grown in lab conditions up at the uni but didn't beat Fin's for growth rate, not that they could really measure the difference anyway, couldn't pull the tape measure out fast enough!

It seemed that maybe the reason that the trees grew so small and stunted in southern Chile was because they were really hot climate trees to start with but had been battling the cold in that blizzard blasted gully. Maybe the hot spring kept them alive. Now that they were in Armidale they were climatically liberated, so took off. Fin knew that it was hard for a biologist to get worked up about anything but Richard was really revving, cooking on gas, all because the pines were growing so fast and in these dust-bowl conditions. A few hundred seedlings were planted on the property and promptly reached for the sky.

A local newspaper man came out one day after sunset when it was a bit cooler and took some photos. The biology prof and some mixed assorted academics from uni made a major expedition to Fin's place. In that day's heat 14k's was no fun run even in a Land Cruiser. These trees were news! There is nothing like a fast-growing tree to cause a news frenzy in a drought.

And they kept on growing, hitting the hundred metre level after a couple of years. The pine cones and nuts kept on falling and more trees were planted on various farms in the area. Satin smooth wood from the big trees made good furniture and it was good for construction too. Timber milling took over as the major local industry. Pine nuts became a roaring local business, millions were exported all over the world at a nice profit.

It was not only local news, BBC and CNN amongst others sent TV crews. National Geographic and Getaway sent whole hordes of photographers. Sydney and Melbourne papers made space between race riots and sport to feature what were now the tallest trees on earth, the world media went ape!  

The trees continued to grow at a phenomenal rate, straight up to three hundred metres in just a few years! That is the length of one of those cape size ships anchored off Hay Point, and they are big! The weight of each tree was calculated by Richard, now the world expert on mega pines, to be around six thousand tonnes and containing two thousand two hundred tonnes of carbon. Solid carbon.

Fin suggested that millions of trees could be planted in dry areas around the world to absorb CO2. This might reduce some of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and so reduce global warming. Nobody laughed at the idea, they were all ready to grasp at any straw. There was a lot more than just a little desperation in the air!

Chapter 8

It was noticed by locals that there had been some very welcome thunderstorms in the area but nowhere else. This was checked out by yet more boffins who found that the stands of megatrees on the scattered farms of the area were in roughly the same pattern and size as the natural cells of cumulonimbus thermals and down drafts. The areas differing albido levels generated extremely unstable conditions which produced the storms! It was said that you could set your watch by them, first thunderclap at 3pm sharp!

This was amazing news at a time when good news was very thin on the ground. Destitute farmers took a gamble and did some planting now that there were thunder storms almost every day, they didn't look back.

Plantations were set up by the government from Adelaide in the south all the way to Darwin in the north, Perth got their fair share, salty ground didn't bother these trees. The most extensive tree-planting program ever was in a check board pattern to match that cumulus pattern and contained millions of trees. It could be seen from space without optical aid. CO2 was down on a local scale and this cooled the air by a degree or so and with time this spread all over the globe.

Stands of these huge trees were grown in Africa, the Americas and Asia , anywhere where they would grow. Millions of trees were sucking carbon from the air. Seedlings were growing all over the warmer areas of the world. In cooler parts the trees were small and stunted as they were in Chile .

State laws in Texas demanded that any structure above a certain height had to have warning lights for aircraft. So all trees in Texas look like big red Christmas trees! It was renamed the "Red Dot" state.

The heat decreased, rains came again. The ice-caps started to grow, glaciers stopped shrinking. Global warming was under control! The people breathed easy. Fin got the Nobel Prize for Science plus a tax break from the government. He also got a gold watch from the Murray Gray Society.

Chapter 9

A long-legged cat walks down to the waters edge, dips a paw in the water and waits. Minutes pass, the cat stirs his paw in the water, closes his eyes, dozes... A ripple v's the water, a fish nibbles at the paw. The paw whips the ratfish right out of the water, onto the beach. The cat sinks some long teeth into the fish's head, it dies. Other cats come down to feast on the unfortunate fish. Kittens play in the shingles. As the sun sags towards the western peaks the big spotted cats slink off to their caves under the big scree boulders. Its just another happy day in Patagonia .

They look just like margays, the size of a lynx, spotted and sleek. The warm water of the stream warms the rocks in winter, the condensation on the rocks cools the caves in summer. All is as it has been for millennia. Fin never did see the cats but they saw him.

Chapter 10

Fast forward a few years....

Near his solar heated swimming pool, on his Armidale hobby-farm Fin lies back in a folding camp chair, the kind that has a can holder in the armrest, one hand on his wife's shoulder, the other around his favourite lager, a smile of satisfaction on his face and happy wrinkles around his closed eyes, a cool breeze sighs in the tall treetops. Mega-pines dot the landscape. These trees are those planted in desperation that hot day not too many years ago.

Mount Mitchell across the little valley is covered in green grass, dotted with trees, a couple of contented cows graze in the shade. Ducks navigate the farm-dam.

Sleep drifts in, a dream slides into view; he is lying back in a camp chair, one hand on his wife's shoulder, the other around a cold can of Castle....

His mind is racing over some calculations as only a mind in a dream can do, tree mass, tonnage of carbon absorbed, total number of  the huge trees planted, how much this has reduced atmospheric CO2, cooled the overheated troposphere by n degrees and the weather returned to a stable condition and optimum temperature, etc, etc.

Global warming has been reversed and controlled! The figures are all there in the dream, collected from thousands of the best scientists all over the world. All is safe, all is as it should be, no more El Niño, no more coral bleaching, no more stingers, no more extinctions. The krill are back.

He did not find those cats but that is ok, he is a modest man, he has saved the world, which makes him quietly contented. He, Fin Andersen, has saved the world!

In the dream his youngest son, Fin junior, comes up to him and says "So Dad, all the trees have absorbed all that carbon and cooled the world and the world is ok?  Right?" Fin replies, in the dream "That's right Finbo, the world is ok now."

 Fin junior carries on "But what about the trees Dad, they are still growing, they are still absorbing more and more carbon, aren't they? They haven't stopped growing at 300 metres!" 

Fin's mind is still in dream-world hyper speed, calculations fly, maths, chemistry equations, saturated lapse rates, iron and copper based chelates flash by. The trees didn't stop at 300 metres! His eyes snap wide open, now he is way, way out of dream-world.... He screams "Ice age! Global cooling! Ice age aaah!"

Fast forward a number of years....

Chapter 11

Snow drifts are piled high outside The Rocks psychiatric hospital in Sydney . Icebreakers battle to keep the harbour open. Snow flurries swirl in deserted stone-walled alleys. Fin Andersen is once again strapped down for the night.

 

The End

Far fetched?  Read this!

"The Weather Makers"  by Tim Flannery.
Published by Penguin Books.

It is a very well written, easy-to-read, concise book covering a very serious world problem. Read it, even if it is the last thing you do.....

Fini