D’arby went home to his parent’s place two days before Christmas. He had mixed feelings about the trip. Of course he wanted to see his parents and he enjoyed being closer to nature, but he didn’t like the hot dry weather. He felt anxious about bushfires – he felt the need to scan the horizon every hour or so for signs of smoke. He also felt depressed thinking that this hot dry weather was most likely just going to become hotter, dryer and more frequent as the years passed. One of the main reasons D’arby felt the need to save the world was because he wanted to stop the bush he grew up in from dying. The thought of that landscape changing was enough to fill him with sadness and if he dwelt on the thought a terrible rage would well up in him. D’arby had grown up with people who didn’t care (or wouldn’t admit to caring) about nature despite living in it. He’d had arguments with them about whether animals had any right to exist. They had made fun of him for caring about trees. He’d defended his piece of bush from them when they turned up with their spotlights and shot guns, or trailers and chainsaws. But all his efforts had been in vain – and the people who didn’t care were going to win – because climate change was going to take the bush even if D’arby was on guard 24 hours a day. When D’arby thought about climate change he had a mental picture of a red-faced young man revving his perfectly polished ute, blasting out tones of carbon dioxide and laughing because, in the battle between him and D’arby, he knew he was going to win.
To cheer himself up a bit, D’arby went for a walk just before sunset (when it was cool enough to make being outside enjoyable) and imagined what it would be like to have invented a way to remove enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to reverse climate change. Of course D’arby had no idea how that could be achieved and suspected that it couldn’t be (not on a scale large enough with the resources available anyway).
D’arby’s thoughts then drifted back to the red faced man in the ute. Inside the red faced man’s head D’arby imagined that there was a yearning for an endless, softly undulating, treeless landscape – like the lawn covered hills that so often get associated with “green” products. D’arby felt the red faced man’s reptilian urge to bash the crap out of anything or anyone that made him feel uncomfortable, but D’arby also knew that the man had in his brain the capability for empathy and the ability to reason.
“Why don’t people use their brains!” yelled D’arby.
To calm himself down, D’arby took some deep breaths and tried to appreciate the sunset. Then he began walking home.
“I’m trapped on a planet with people who don’t care enough about it to look after it and yet none of us have anywhere else to go” D’arby complained to himself. He couldn’t help feeling that it had all been somehow organized as a challenge.