April 9, 2017

Bluey’s Feeling Blue

For more context generally and a description of why we’re doing this series, check out ‘My Climate Change Metaphors’.


Hi, Pale Blue Dot here. My mates call me Bluey.

Given I’m four-and-a-half-billion years old, I’m a prime candidate for a mid-life crisis. They say that everyone gets one but I wasn’t so convinced since everything’s been going so smoothly since my ‘Cambrian explosion’ 541 million years ago. Well, minus the odd hiccup.

One of my neighbours, Marsy, thought I was doing just fine. My other neighbour, however, has been nudging me to take better care of myself. I’d usually take Venus’ opinion over Marsy’s any day, but she’s always been a bit of a fusspot.

Anyhow, I was a few centuries overdue a medical checkup, and besides—just between you and me—I’ve had a few niggles of late.

This was a shot of me the other day:

 December 7, 1972   Credit: NASA

And this was taken this morning:

March 28, 2017   Credit: Marsy

Something wasn’t quite right.

Following breakfast, I went off to see my new doctor, Dr Steffen et al (Doc). Unfortunately, we didn’t get off on the best footing—as I could’ve sworn his accent made him a Kiwi—but he soon put me right. Before I knew it, my Aussie doc had run a few tests and disappeared out back to fetch the results.

When he finally returned with a thick folder and concerned face, I was worried some earthquakes were on their way.

According to Doc, I could “well have a few things wrong with me”. He took a look at my previous GP, Dr Rockstrom et al’s records, and nicknamed them my ‘Planetary Boundaries’. He also booked me in to see some specialists over the next few weeks, including a psychologist and a dentist, to gauge the extent of the problems.

 1) I’ve got a slight temperature.

The Doc calls this anthropogenic Climate change’. One old man in the waiting room called it something different though: ‘Alarmism’.

2) My teeth are more brittle than usual.

The Doc insists I get to the dentist pronto, saying it could be one of an ‘Ocean’ of reasons, including ‘acidification’. Ouch.

3) My white blood cell count is a bit low. 

The Doc calls this ‘Biodiversity loss’ or ‘Biosphere integrity’ or something. I’d never heard of it.

4) I dyed my hair blonde a month ago and had a spray tan.

I said I felt like a change. Doc calls it ‘Land-system change’ so is sending me to the psychologist just in case. An overreaction if you ask me.

5) I’m mildly overdosed on my growth stimulants (Phosphorus & Nitrogen).

P & N apparently have far greater side effects than first anticipated. The relatively new condition is called ‘Biochemical flows’.

6) I might have a malignant mole on my bum.

He mentioned something about an ‘Ozone hole and depletion or he could have just said it’s close to my butt hole. I’ll ask the specialist.

7) I’ve had a few minor ‘plumbing’ issues of late.

The doc said it wasn’t a major but that I’d probably need to manage it. He’s named it ‘Freshwater use’ so I don’t get too embarrassed. A bit late for that.

8) I’m having trouble seeing clearly out of my atmosphere.

It’s not my clouds getting in the way again either, more of a general haze. Doc calls it ‘Atmospheric aerosol loading’.

9) There’s a few pieces of plastic lodged in my gut and they’re not budging.

Doc’s worried these ‘novel entities’ could cause ‘Chemical pollution’ over the long-run but he hasn’t seen a case like this before.

Doc even broke the results down for me visually to help me digest the news. He’s good, really good:

My so-called ‘Planetary Boundaries’   Source: Mars


For as long as I can remember, Mercury and Nepto have always teased me about looking “good from far, far from good” but I’ve always put their sarcasm down to jealousy. Maybe they really were on to something.

I’m not 100% which specialist I’ve got first up but you’ll all be sure to hear about it following my first appointment. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’re itching to find out what’s going on.

Yours always,