'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Sunrise Over Tauranga Estuary



I got up at about 6.30 this morning and trotted along the road a bit to where a path takes you down to the edge of the estuary.
I stood with my gloves and coat and wooly hat and my camera poised, taking a few desultory shots of a kingfisher having its breakfast, waiting for the moment when the golden orb would show its face.
Which it did at about 7.15, just when it was supposed to.  Funny that.

Sadly the stop-bank that I stood on, designed to take the fat sewer pipe (now removed so that walkers can now actually see the estuary from the path), has the effect of cutting off the normal tidal water movements in and out, and the unhealthy sludgy water that is backed up behind, escaping in only a few places, supports a fraction of the species it should… and most of those were mangroves, which have been cut and are lying there rotting in the water.

Sometimes I wonder how many years it would take for the Earth to find some kind of normality again, if all the humans were instantly transported elsewhere tomorrow.
Maybe, to Kepler-452b. Perhaps the 5x gravity there will stop us being so successful.




15 comments:

  1. That is too bad about the water movement being stopped. They need to engineer some tunnels to let the water flow again. Maybe you could call "the person in charge." I think the earth might regenerate quickly if the people were no longer here, judging from our backyard. We had to cut down the silver dollar eucalyptus and the mulberry and they are vigorously growing from the stumps. Hurray.

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    1. Terra - the water movement is restricted, although it can get through in a number of places. But it is by no means the normal flow. So what happens is that the fresh water from the land run-off stays fresh for longer, and so the normal saline-dwelling flora and fauna die.
      Your mulberry and eucalyptus have a will to keep going!

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  2. Sorry to rain on your party. It will take millions of years for the earth to become healthy again and then it will be a different earth.

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    1. Red - I expect you are correct. I wonder what kind of an Earth it will be? Perverse of me, perhaps, but I like to imagine the roads all cracked and growing weeds.

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  3. Beautiful photographs - and some thought provoking remarks.

    A TV programme a couple of years ago investigated exactly your question about what would happen if we humans all left. I can't remember exactly the time scales but I think within 100 years most cities would be inundated with vegetation - within 500 years cities would be just mounds of debris covered in regenerating forest and jungle..... I have seen photographs of ancient abandoned stone temples that have been discovered in Asia - it took a few years to extricate them from solid forest.

    In terms of us all buggering off to Kepler-45b I read in this mornings NZ Herald newspaper that a once ridiculed propulsion drive (British scientist Roger Shawyer) is now being taken very seriously by scientists. Short story .. long - It would mean getting to the moon in 4 hours, Mars within 70 days, Pluto within 18 months and Alpha Centari (current technology time thousands of years) within 100 years. Now considering the fact that any invention is always improved on I am sure the time to the stars would be reduced over time.

    In terms of how tenacious nature is and it's ability to regenerate -- Every year I paint my yacht with extremely nasty chemicals with the hope that barnacles, toredo worms etc will not attack the hull while she is moored in the river... and every time I haul out, the hull is covered with marine growth of one kind or another - so nature is very, very tenacious indeed (that's not to say of course that we should ever be complacent about pollution).

    The question for us all (or our antecedents ) is, when the possibility to head off to the stars comes along - Should we stay or should we go?? - phew, that's a rather long comment! LOL.

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    1. Propulsion drive… hmmm. I have never really thought much about ways of moving much. Until recently I heard a description of a very fast object (seen both with eyes and on radar) that went (flew) from over Auckland to exiting the Earth's atmosphere over Taupo in 6 minutes.
      I am quite convinced there is evidence that we can get around a lot quicker than we are able to do at the moment.
      PS why is no-one talking about that interview with the pilot on National Radio?
      hang on, see if I can find the recording...

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    2. No one is talking about the interview probably because know one knows anything about it, I certainly don't -- but I would like to know, it sounds very interesting indeed.

      There is a place in the USA known as Area 51 -

      "The United States Air Force facility commonly known as Area 51 is a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base, within the Nevada Test and Training Range."

      Over the years there have been various TV documentaries about this area mainly to do with claims that the United States is hiding an alien spaceship there. To believe that you are either an honest person speaking the truth or a la la land conspiracy theorist.... depending on which side of the fence you are ... but I digress.
      What is true is that this base develops top secret projects, tests them and then reveals them to the world. A case in point here is the Stealth Fighter and Bombers that can evade radar and were used in the Gulf War. ......... which is a long winded way of me getting to the point which is that there may well be extremely fast top secret forms of transport that we know nothing about that are in the testing phase. When they are tested, they have to be flown somewhere and where better than to fly them over little old NZ !

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    3. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/nights/audio/201762240/unidentified-flying-object

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  4. Whoops, that's "Long story - short" LOL - this is what happens sometimes when you are 64.

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  5. It gets worse - that shouldn't be "antecedents" - It should be "our children" or another correct word that escapes me at the moment - 64 - not a good year.

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  6. The word is "descendants" - Thank you Mr and Mrs Google.

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  7. I am often surprised by how quickly things return to nature. I live in a wooded area that is covered in Oak and Chestnut. Occasionally a neighbour will cut down several hectares, and one wonders how it will ever recover. One year later and regrowth is already well under way.

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    1. Yes Cro. Given a reasonable amount of rain, light, and warm(ish) temperatures, I like to think that succession plants will push up concrete and bitumen surfaces relatively quickly.
      What is irreversible (without human help) is extinction and artificial spread of plants and animals - more relevant to our New Zealand formerly isolated island 'ark' than your more closely tied northern hemisphere islands/continents.

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  8. Perhaps I can approach the re-generation question from a slightly different angle. We have destroyed/altered (depending on one's point of view) much of the earth. We have moved species around more quickly than they would move themselves so that NZ is no longer only populated by animal and vegetable species that it once was. But what is the timescale of 'once was'? Everything evolves and by a process of natural selection the fittest of the species (whether animal or vegetable) survives and dominates and even eliminates opposition. One might ask what the purpose of the earth would be if it was not populated by life forms of any sort and what it's purpose is now that it is. In an incomprehensible period of time the earth with cease to exist. In a period long long before that it will become uninhabitable by man and then gradually by all life forms. In the meantime man will do his best to enjoy himself regardless of the expense in terms of the planet. Of course man should be more responsible. Of course we should do everything we can to be sustainable in our use of the world's resources. At the end of the day in geological terms our existence will be a mere pin-prick on the surface of time. Whether we are good or bad keepers of this precious planet will affect the existence of life by an infinitesimal amount of time. Evolution will continue and when the planet is too hot for life as we know it something else will have evolved until even evolution ceases.

    Just a thought. Enjoy your day.

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    1. And a very reassuring one, somehow Geeb. Calmed me right down.

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