* In the aftermath of the Great Storm of October ’87 *

My nose will always remember it. At first light on Friday 16 October 1987, I put my head outdoors into the eerie calm.
The smell of blood was everywhere. It came from no particular direction. It was “vegetable” blood. It was the airborne scent of green sap from innumerable billions of violently ruptured branches and twigs.
I remember a ghostly instinct of fear and dismay rise up inside me. Some kind of animal anxiety was stirred in me by the combined saps of crushed plants in the morning air. This smell of distress entered, bypassed reason, defied description, and reached inside to scrape equanimity out from my guts.
Every breath I breathed in was saturated with the green lamentation of wounded flora.
Decades later, the recollection of this chemical signal to which my body, not my mind, responded, reminds me of the damage organised human activities are doing to the ecology. Ecology of which our human order is an intrinsic part, and which we share and depend on for our long term well being and our continued existence.
Collectively our insensate actions are contributing causes whose effects day by day are hardly perceptible.
Our inability to come to formal agreement on collective moderating action could be likened to the hand of a blind person unwittingly guiding the path of a slow but ever-growing hurricane that is sucking out the lifeblood from the Big Green wherever it wanders.

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