Pic of top-of-the-line predators by Jakob Owens

A conversation on a South Pacific island.

Aedgar's voice is written this way.

Nerida and Keanin's voices are written this way.


Keanin: This question is about our earth and our oceans — our quality of life. Is there some kind of time-frame we have to be able to enjoy the oceans as we currently do: swimming, eating fish?

Well, there are areas on this planet in a perilous state.

The planet and the energy of it, especially in the water, tries to create special life forms. You would call them bacteria, to handle, for example, the stuff that’s made from long-dead animals.

Nerida: Plastic.

Yes. There are new bacteria created to try to eliminate it. The energy of the planet works towards this. Then there's some other problem, thrown on top. It takes quite a while to create new bacteria or plants to handle plastics down there. Adding more and more diverse rubbish to the pile does not help.

It needs a break.


There are still some areas where the sea is good.

You have here quite a pristine environment, compared to other places.

There is one problem in the waters here that you can’t see.

Photograph from Honduras by  Miguel Gomez . Honduras has a Pacific coastline to the south.

Photograph from Honduras by Miguel Gomez. Honduras has a Pacific coastline to the south.

You could measure it, if you had tools sensitive enough to measure this danger in the water.

You have tools to detect these things on land. You don’t quite have the instruments to detect it in water. A lot of scientists — working above the water, of course — think that as soon as it’s below the surface it’s dealt with: ‘If you can’t see it, it’s not there.’

But this is something you can’t see anyway, whether it’s on land or in the water. It’s created as a product of splitting little atoms.

It comes with the flow of the big currents. It is thus distributed around the world.

The very big fish will have more in their bodies, the further they travel. If you eat the fish, you can’t smell it, you can’t see it and you can’t feel it.

You might feel it later.

You might lose some hair. You might get funny skin problems. Then you might grow other problems on the inner organs — especially on the brain and spinal cord.

If it was on land, we would call it radiation. It radiates through the water, as well. But I think that is not quite the right name for it. It flows.

It comes with the big currents.

That’s one of the main issues people on this planet should work on. There will be no bacteria to break that down.

There is only that thing you call time to eliminate it. But it will take many generations, in your way of calculating things.

For you, right now, stay away from the really big fish — the ones that travel a very long way.

They come from the area north of here where the problem is worse. And normally, the bigger the fish get, the older they are. So they ingest it -- this radiation flowing -- for a long time.


There is a new generation of what you call scientists coming up now, who will think about this with more intensity.

But there are areas, already, where it is too late. Because, as I mentioned already, you can’t break it down into carbon-based material.

You could make the problem a little better by, for example, adding more water into the area.

The more water that evaporates as this planet warms up, the higher the concentration of salt in the water. This makes those other particles more dangerous, so —

Keanin: Glaciers need to melt.

[Nerida and Keanin laugh, darkly]

N: Maybe not.

We think that would be counterproductive.

The climate is changing.

The rotation of the planet has changed, too.

If you take something out of the ground here that’s maybe not huge, but is very heavy, and you ship it to the other side of the world, it gets out of balance.

I'm not talking about a couple of pieces of lead, you know — bigger amounts.

N: Like millions of tonnes of iron ore —


K: Yeah. Shipped to the northern hemisphere —

N: — every day.


And then they explode, I mean, sorry, exploit the groundwater by making layers underground almost explode — crack.

Fracking equipment. Photograph by  Joshua Doubek .

Fracking equipment. Photograph by Joshua Doubek.

They put polluted stuff in it. This is another significant source of poison.

They say it will never go into the groundwater, but it is there already.

[To Keanin] So, you are, my dear, quite privileged to live in a place like this, even if there is what we would have to call radiation, (if it was above the water).


Well, it’s nothing, my friend, that you can solve by yourself.

K: No.

It would take quite a few more people to change their minds about these things.

N: But she asked the right question today, so that you, Aedgar, could say what you needed to say.

Yes, that’s right.

We always love to educate a little bit. It’s what this planet needs — education, a little bit at a time. You need to use time, here, obviously, otherwise nothing would work (which is unfortunate).

But yes [to Nel], you need to do it quicker.

These little bits of education need to be coming more steadily and rapidly, rather than here a bit and there a bit.

N: Yes. That’s why I need to do more of this work, I do.

It is all about you [to Nerida]. You make these decisions, my dear. How long have we been talking to each other?

N: About —

How many times have you heard that this is your decision that you make for your life?

N: Hmm. Thank you.

You are welcome.

N: Thank you for coming today.

K: Thank you Aedgar. Great seeing you again.

N: We’ll talk again soon, I trust.

Aedgar: Well, we would be delighted. Talk to you another time, then.