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The Panamanian Golden frog is extinct

Look at the image of the glorious creature, now departed (lifted from the BBC News website with thanks).
I have to ask myself why news of the extinction of yet another natural marvel (whether of creation or evolution is irrelevent in this context) fills me with such incredible sadness?
Is it the Disney-like gesture or colouring of this harmless work of art?
Or is it due to some sort of anthropomorphic ascribing of human characteristics to the animal? ….. which would be daft – for it clearly is not waving goodbye, but is signaling to another of its’ species, either as a territorial warning, or a mating ritual.
I think it’s more to do with a sense of the inevitable descent towards a sterile planet, where much of the beauty of what was here before we crawled out of the slime is being destroyed, and the sheer injustice of it all.
With what right, with what arrogance, do we continue to slash, burn, rape and violate the earth?
And is it too late to reverse the process?
It’s clearly too late for the golden frog, for soon after this picture was taken the last wild specimens were taken into captivity, as their environment was no longer safe, as numbers had declined beyond a point of the possibility of return.
I could go on in this vein but to what end….. and in any case, if you want more on this theme, my daughter Sasha has posted her thoughts on anger and forgiveness issues, stimulated by the Golden frog’s demise.

Meanwhile…….yesterday, the ever so worthy face of a British politician on TV was telling me (not personally you understand) that to save the planet I will need (when in the UK) to be happy to have garbage collected once a fortnight instead of weekly, as this will reduce landfill use, and that the fine of £100 that will be imposed each time garbage bins are not correctly used (lid not properly closed for example), is somehow going to prevent climate change!!!!!
…… with China opening one (or is it two) coal fired power stations weekly, I am not sure that the correct closure of my waste-bin is really going to make a difference.
I am still trying to work out the logic of there being less waste to dump in landfill sites when collection is staggered from weekly to fortnightly…perhaps someone can tell me?
Or is it just possible that this might save the local authority money?
…..and that the fines for improper use of garbage containers might help replenish their coffers?
…..and that all this will somehow restore the golden frog to Panama?

It’s all to late, too little, too ridiculously pointless.
Maybe that’s why news of the loss of the frog this morning made me so angry, frustrated, sad and feeling impotently helpless.
For it seems clear that there is absolutely nothing that can now be done to reverse processes underway – whether or not global warming is in fact what we are facing (for it’s not an absolute fact, just a lot of opinions saying so, joining Al Gore’s bandwagon).
But whether due to us or to a natural process, something awful is happening.
Experts agree to a large extent that this is in fact what’s under way…..but they also agree that it’s too late to change the process, and that limiting greenhouse gases won’t help now.
So little gestures such as altering the type of light-bulb we use (great for manufacturers) to those odd-looking twisty bulbs wont help.
In any case they apparently contain lethal amounts of mercury, so take care when one breaks…… and heaven only knows about safe disposal!
“The problem with the bulbs is that they’ll break before they get to the landfill. They’ll break in containers, or they’ll break in a dumpster or they’ll break in the trucks. Workers may be exposed to very high levels of mercury when that happens,” says John Skinner, executive director of the Solid Waste Association of North America, the trade group for the people who handle trash and recycling…. as reported on National Public Radio in the USA.
But, heck, there’s no choice, because politicians tell us that to save the planet we have to change our light bulbs!
We are being compelled to make this useless change because old-fashioned light bulbs will vanish in a few years, due to legislation….so stockpile now if you want to avoid filling the soil with broken glass AND mercury….. and killing off what wildlife remains in that part of the world.
So I feel frustration on all fronts.
The planet is in free-fall to oblivion.
Politicians are greasing and squirming their self-righteous way through the crisis as usual, with profoundly meaningless actions and statements.
I am angry and helpless, reduced to incoherent rants on blogs – and the Golden frog has gone.

I will spend some time under the olive trees, in my garden in Corfu today, eating home grown clementines and tangerines, and all this will fade away….. temporarily at least…. until another politician appears on screen, or the BBC shows me yet another piece of evidence, or I think of the gentle wave of the frog.

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