Our planet is bored. Not surprising, really. But it’s looking to the long-term . . .
Round and round the Sun I go, then round and round once more,
Like I’ve been doing all my life. It’s such a crashing bore.
I’ve seen some major changes, though, in (these are estimations)
Four thousand six hundred million celestial rotations1.
My planetary siblings, too, are tethered to the Sun:
We’ve all been in a non-stop spin since solar time began.
Back then, the Sun grabbed loads of dust to make its glowing ball.
We did the best with what was left, which wasn’t much at all.
For the first few hundred million2 gyrations round my star,
My body was a molten blob enclosed in glowing char,
Then bashed about by impactors3 for several millions more
(Which some say may have helped build up my water store).
And then came life: prokaryotes – all anaerobes, until
Cyanobacteria cells acquired a different skill:
They photosynthesised, releasing gas that soon attacked my crust –
You call it oxygen, I think – and my iron got turned to rust.
Imagine that my lifespan is the distance round the Earth4:
What point did Homo sapiens, as a species, have its birth?5
The answer is: two kilometres6 before the present day!
And now you’ve messed your climate up – well, serves you right, I’d say.
At least your climate crisis brings excitement to my turnings.
They make no difference to my life, your floods and droughts and burnings;
Your presence is an interlude, now added to my lists
Of life’s emergings and extinctions, evolution’s cunning twists.
So round and round the Sun I’ll go, until it starts to grow
Into a bright red giant, in eight billion years or so1.
That’s when I’ll die, maybe (though some say maybe not);
Well, either way, I’m going to get uncomfortably hot –
It’s ‘global warming’ to the max! You lot will long have gone,
But here’s a thought that each of us should surely ponder on:
Our atoms will not disappear, but recombine, you see,
And so we’ll both go round and round, for all eternity7 . . .
- Roughly . . .
- Estimates vary from 300 to 700 million.
- Asteroids and comets
- About 40,000 km
- About 200,000 – 300,000 years ago
- Very roughly (200,000 x 40,000)/(4600 x 106 km) . . .
- Probably . . .