National Poetry Month

Celebrating National Poetry Month – here is a short one about the craft and just maybe who is writing who!

The Poet

 

 Behind a plough of words

the poet drives a furrow,

– never straight.

Phrases spiral upwards,

as an eagle soars in a sky

with no horizon or meter.

Universal alphabet mimics dancing clouds

to touch Creation’s syntax.

Cascading into passages that hover,

tracing cosmic runes

at the edge of knowing.

Words drift by on the morning mist.

A whisper of wind,

That haunts every thought

I breathe.

The Muse –

waiting wondrous so long,

for cracks in façade’s order to crumble.

Then she grants life to a poem.

Essential Spiral

Part Two: Melancholy Memory, Brilliant Book

Xlibris author Ian Prattis once hit rock bottom, but he used this to gift readers with a moving story about depression. Read on to discover more about his novel Redemption, which in a sense has become his own redemption.

SKU-000921572_COVER.indd

More about the Xlibris book

Callum Mor’s bleak solitude is broken when a family with a small girl seeking refuge from a storm come to his house. Slowly, he edges away from his self-destruction. He saves the girl’s life in a blizzard. The glimmer of awakening dawns in him, and this sets the stage for the final drama that illuminates the resilience of the human spirit.

 

From the rhapsody of an idyllic childhood through traumatic tragedies to the derelict zone of alcoholism and then to a state of awakening – I depict the stations of a personal Calvary that ultimately leads to “Redemption.”

 

The book is a lyrical and moving tale of struggle, love, loss, transformation and hope. It reads like an extended prose poem reflecting the primal forces of nature and human nature. Its starkly gorgeous and remote island setting creates and reinforces the central themes of struggle, family, community and wonder at the beauty of the world, and its rich cast of characters offers numerous gripping interludes that brim with complex interpersonal drama.

 

The story centers on and is always connected to Callum Mor – the epic main character – but he is surrounded and influenced by a fantastic cast of family and fellow islanders. They provide a deep well of material; their conflicts and intrigues move the plot forward and offer a vast array of powerfully emotional moments. The story arcs of other characters in the novel offer particularly beautiful and interesting counterpoints to one another and to Callum Mor. Their hopes, desires and difficulties intermingle in a sad and realistic tapestry of human existence.

 

The narrative’s tone is generally quiet and introspective, but it is frequently punctuated by storms both literal and metaphorical.  Callum Mor and his people face many conflicts throughout the story, from poverty, mental illness, unwanted pregnancy, and battles with nature itself – to sexual assault and violent physical confrontation. All of this provides the tapestry for the deeper, more subtle messages of compassion and faith to carefully unfold.

 

A gift to readers

 

I dedicate my book Redemption to the millions of people who suffer from depression and alcoholism, and I stand before you as living proof that it is possible to come through and be whole.

 

I would like to close by thanking Bruce Haring and his staff for creating this wonderful Florida Book Festival. I am deeply humbled and grateful that they chose my book Redemption as the winner of General Fiction.  They confirmed for me that:

 

I WAS NOT DREAMING!

Available at www.Amazon.com  and www.BarnesandNoble.com   Autographed Book – Order Through: http://www.ianprattis.com/Redemption.html

Touching the Earth

Touching the Earth Ceremony at Pine Gate Thursday April 2, 7.00pm – 9.00pm

Details below. The ceremony provides a safe environment for releasing the “hooks” from ancestors – genetic, spiritual and land. We choose to retain the virtuous, noble seeds passed on to us, but direct all abusive, negative seeds to pass from our consciousness into the Earth, where they will be composted.

TOUCHING THE EARTH CEREMONY

This practice connects you in a loving way with both the positive and negative aspects of all your ancestors – biological, spiritual and land.  “I see that my ancestors suffered, and their suffering spilled over to others including me.  With this steady acceptance I am ready to transform the suffering and to cultivate the positive virtues of my ancestors in my daily life.”

1.Blood Ancestors
Pain/Suffering may be strong with this contact especially if there was parental abuse/neglect – so also think of parents/ancestors as 5 yr old children – innocent and who also suffered, rather than just as persons who may have caused us deep harm.
2. Spiritual Ancestors
Perhaps those who taught us in our spiritual tradition made mistakes, discriminated, abused us and were not able to transmit the teachings well or did not live up to their calling.  Allow this to pass through and retain the positive qualities of Buddha, Jesus.
3. Land Ancestors
Those who built our homes, hospitals, the original inhabitants in tune with mother nature.  People who offered refuge for peoples of other countries.  Present friends who work so hard to preserve the Earth. Also acknowledge bigotry, racism and cruelty passed on to us that we choose to release from our consciousness.

Retaining the positive qualities from these three roots fills us up with love and wholesome qualities.
1. Extend this energy first of all to those we love – including ourselves.
2. Last step is tricky – extend our wholesome, loving energy to those who have caused us harm or are difficult to be with.  This really makes our hearts more spacious.
3. Each person’s experience will be different.  Truth is in our own experience, not in duplicating the experience of others.  Provides a doorway to reconnect/ fill up with love/ forgive and understand.
4. Part of a timeless flow of life, connect to the no birth no death nature of yourself.  In the Touchings of the Earth we use our body to touch the Ultimate Dimension, to touch the ground of our being, to touch Nirvana and to heal and transform
5. We renew ourselves because we renew Buddhism, for we are applying the Diamond Sutra, The Discourse on Right View and the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing.  In this exercise the teachings of the Buddha come alive in us as experience.

Pine Gate Meditation Hall

Melancholy Memory, Brilliant Book

Maricel Alacantra wrote the two blogs below for my publisher – Xlibris. This was after Redemption: A Novel received the Gold Medal in Fiction at the 2015 Florida Book festival. Well worth the clicks!

http://blog.xlibris.com/author-blogs/ian-prattis-1/

http://blog.xlibris.com/author-blogs/ian-prattis-2/

Redemption front cover

The Century of the Daughters.

I have always thought of the present millennium as the century of the daughters. Not so much as a gender separate thing, but as attributes of a holistic, nurturing presence of mind. This is why, when researching my book Trailing Sky Six Feathers, I began my exploration of the Sedona region of Arizona with Oak Creek River – the feminine face of Water. This was one component of the Five Great Elements in Buddhist thought that I was familiar with: Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. I understood the sequence as the correspondence of all things to each other driven by the feminine vessel of enlightenment. Always, I waded into the water so I could feel with my feet the pulse of the arteries of the entire area. I would lie down on larger, flat, dry rocks in midstream or perch atop rock rills and watch the water swirl around my feet, feeling a great sense of familiarity with the universal feminine through this dramatic and melodious river.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

This connection with the feminine was naturally carried into my peace activism. I have been musing about this, particularly reflecting on the annual Ottawa Friends for Peace Day – now in its 13th year. I realized 15 years ago, when I founded Friends for Peace that I was making a conscious choice to focus my energy and work on the local, my home city of Ottawa.  My focus was on mindfulness in schools, city environment, youth at risk and above all else – on the empowerment of women. I am astonished by the results – more true to say “blown away.” For at the local level there was continuity with great women who helped make things happen.  There is now a two week Peace Festival in Ottawa that precedes the Friends for Peace Day – which has become the final bookend of the Festival.  It has all grown in ever increasing concentric circles. The foundation of mindfulness and the empowerment of women through the 50 organizations we partner with have taken root in our northern city. All use some form of the Friends for Peace mandate – peace, planetary care and social justice.

Each year Friends for Peace presents Peace Awards to Canadian citizens who have devoted their lives to securing peace, planetary care and social justice.  The majority of the Peace Award recipients are women. The funds raised from the day are used to issue Peace Grants to organizations, in Ottawa and internationally, and we make a point of honouring women who run organizations that make a significant difference.  In particular we have supported youth organizations to burst on to the local scene guided by magnificent people – I refer to these friends as Kick Ass women. For instance Orkidstra is led by Tina Fedeski -www.leadingnotefoundation.org  – which she established in September 2007. It gives children from under-served communities the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and sing in a choir. They are creating a quiet social revolution in the city. The Dandelion Dance Company is the creation of Hannah Beach – www.hannahbeach.com/dandelion – this Ottawa based youth dance theatre company explores social issues through movement. Their repertoire is driven by the experiences, reflections and passion of young women who range in age from ages 13 to 19, and include children’s rights, hunger, authenticity, bullying, stereotypes and inclusiveness. Both youth organizations perform regularly at the Friends for Peace Day.

The drive is to foster a strong cadre of people in the locality of Ottawa who make a difference and women are in the forefront of this endeavour.

Dr. Ian Prattis

Ian is an award winning author, scholar, peace and environmental activist.  As a Professor of Anthropology and Religion he taught courses on Ecology, Symbols, Globalisation and Consciousness.  As a meditation teacher he encourages people to find their true nature, so that humanity and the world may be renewed.  Ian is a Zen Teacher, giving talks and retreats round the world.

For Further Intel: http://ianprattis.com/Profile.html

Right View and the Four Nutriments

The Noble Eightfold Path is the Buddha’s methodology to lead us out of suffering. I will offer dharma talks on the entire spectrum for the remainder of Pine Gate’s Winter Study Session – beginning with Right View and the 4 Nutriments.  This will be a series of foundation teachings, as everything in Buddhism comes around for this visit to the Eight Fold Path. Recommended reading is Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching” Part Two: The Eightfold Path. The dynamic nature of the Eightfold Path will be highlighted by emphasising how Mindfulness and Concentration are crucial to kick start the process by transforming Views into Insight. The views we hold strongly are often attitudes, perceptions and attachments that are capable of cascading through the other components of the Eightfold Path so that Thinking, Speaking and Action are modelled on wrong views. Right View is no view – rather it is insight, which is why Mindfulness and Concentration are required to start the engine of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Thich-Nhat-Hanh-image-5

“Heads up from Lisa!

Please see from minute 17:30 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfPJ6T-5Z9w

I think Thay was sending you a message!”

Insight and Transformation Review

Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse  is the tremendous story of Ian’s modern day spiritual awakening and discovery of his past life as a Native American leader during the 18th century. Only through the intervention of his spirit wife Trailing Sky is Ian able to defeat his past vices and personal struggles to become the man he is today.  In this exciting Hero’s Journey the reader follows his journey to accept The Muse capable of transforming karma. She shines light on the darkest elements of the human condition, including his. He navigates past and present life experiences from brutal raids on Indian settlements in 18th century Arizona, insane sea voyages off the Scottish Hebrides in the 20th century to surrender to The Muse in the 21st century. The book stares into the abyss, illuminating issues for generations to come – an epic and inspirational quest over four centuries.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

 

This Hero’s Journey is like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy. Shamanic healing of childhood sexual abuse, guru training and near death experience in an Indian ashram, has the author stumbling through the first part of life, then standing strong in his own sovereignty in the latter part. Past life memories collide head on with the present, all thanks to the persistence of Trailing Sky Six Feathers, the Muse who refused to give up. Karma is reversed, the internal battles are over as he begins to live life as a Meditation for Gaia. The relentless shadowing by this engaging Muse brings understanding not only to him, but to anyone engaged in overcoming the darkness of their past.

In 2010, after an intense internal dialogue with his Muse, Trailing Sky Six Feathers, Prattis asked if he should write her story. There was a long silence that stretched into infinity until he finally heard her affirmation. He stood up and reached for a backpack and took out a writing pad. There was a gold plated fountain pen in the pack, rarely used. He inserted an ink cartridge into the pen and sat in a chair overlooking the sea and mountains on the west coast of British Columbia. Putting pen to paper he started to write the first line of this book:

“Put down your weapons, my husband,” she said quietly with steely insistence.

Available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com Sites and autographed copy available through http://www.ianprattis.com/TrailingSky.html

Hollywood Treatment for Redemption – Gold Winner Book.

Title: Redemption, Author: Ian Prattis, Genre: Drama, Setting: The Hebrides Islands, Scotland, Pages: 138, Period: Mid-20th century, Best Medium for Adaptation: Feature Film X

Logline:

A Scottish islander with the tumultuous soul of a poet battles through tragedy and triumph in his search for true peace.

Brief Summary:

Callum Mor Martin lives on a quiet island in the Hebrides of western Scotland in the early and middle years of the twentieth century. He grows from a fey and precocious five-year-old to a grizzled man in his sixties, and experiences the numerous and often tragic fates of his family and fellow villagers. Callum Mor’s father, a gentle soul who dreams of being a writer, struggles with the unforgiving land to provide enough for his family. He is eventually broken in mind and spirit. Calllum Mor’s sister is driven into an unhappy marriage by their poverty, and his brother is murdered by the man he once considered his best friend. Callum Mor’s dreams of leaving the island to become a writer are dashed by his devotion to his aging mother, and he instead becomes a sturdy fisherman. He tries and fails to win the hand of his beloved, and spends many years as a suicidal embittered drunk. In the end, he is drawn out of his self-imposed exile by a small Glaswegian family who offer him unconditional love and understanding. Although the family is driven off of the island by the cruel machinations of a corrupt businessman, Callum Mor’s spirit is renewed, and he abides in peace, anticipating their return.

Redemption front cover

Synopsis:

In a tiny fishing village on one of the islands of the Hebrides, ten-year-old CALLUM MOR MARTIN steals away from school to join his uncle MICHAEL and OLD ANGUS on their boat as they fish for lobster. Unbeknownst to Callum, his teacher, MISS RACHEL MACDOUGALL, sees him escape and smiles to herself, unwilling to force him to stay in the classroom on such a beautiful day. Callum has a quiet, rare way about him that draws others and makes them want to share their time and tales with him; even gruff old Angus feels a tenderness towards the boy as they break from hauling up lobster creels to share sandwiches. Later in the day, Callum Mor returns home to regale his family with the story of his day. His mother ANNIE, sister MOIRA and brother DONALD dance and play music with him, sharing a joy not often seen in their hardscrabble home. The neighbor COLIN MCFADGEN stops by to join the warmth and merriment, and soon a procession of friends and neighbors arrive bearing music, poetry and whiskey, and a party is in full swing. Early the next morning, Callum Mor’s father ANDREW MARTIN returns home from the pub and smiles to see the remains of the party.

Five years earlier, Andrew works as a crewman on a cargo freighter. Away from home for three-quarters of the year, he aches to spend more time with his family and treasures even the smallest moments at home. However, the Martin’s croft isn’t rich enough to support the family, so he must work away from home. He remembers a beautiful day when the entire family works cutting peat for the winter; afterward, they eat and then bathe in the surf. Andrew knows he can no longer bear to be apart from his wife and children. He gives up his job and struggles to eke out a better existence on their homestead. The land is harsh, and Andrews turns to drink to quiet the desperation in his heart. In the present, Annie greets him, sweetly and sadly.

Several years later, fourteen-year-old Callum Mor is showing Miss MacDougall his friend – a playful young otter. Callum has watched the otter for three months, acclimating the inquisitive creature to his presence and describing him in his writing. Miss MacDougall sees a creative spark in Callum Mor and encourages it in every way she can, including hiking out across the island with Callum Mor to see the otter for herself. On his way home, Callum Mor stops in to see old Colin, who warns that salmon poachers often fish in the mouth of the otter’s loch.

Returning home, Callum Mor passes the still, silent figure of his father, slumped as always in a threadbare chair in front of the fire. Callum Mor’s memory turns to the days of his father’s downfall. Desperate at his inability to claw a living from the land, Andrew at last convinces Annie to sell one of her cows to build a coop and buy laying hens to sell eggs. He works with renewed energy at constructing the coop and installing the bedraggled hens. The same night the coop is completed, a storm blows in and tears the roof away. The entire family runs out into the teeth of the storm to re-secure the roof, aghast at the intensity of Andrew’s fury as he spits epithets at the sky. At last, the storm abates and Annie goes to clean her husband’s bloody and battered hands, but he shoves her down in a blind rage. Soon afterwards, the fury drains from him, and he stands looking at the shambles of the chicken coop. Annie leads him inside and installs him on the chair before the fire, where he remains. Annie tries to find help, but she is told that his mind is broken.

Despite this tragedy, the poultry business is successful and through Annie’s tireless efforts brings in enough money to keep the family afloat. Moira leaves the islands as soon as she’s able and loses touch with the family, while Donald joins the merchant navy. He has just returned a week ago for his first shore leave, and hasn’t been able to accept that his father is still sick. Back in the present, Callum Mor goes to bed with a prayer for his father on his lips. Sometime later, Donald returns home from the pub and stands before his silent father. He unleashes a drunken tirade of rage and abuse. Callum Mor and Annie rush out to calm Donald, and find that Andrew has died during the night. Later that year, Donald returns home again, bearing news that Moira has married a middle-aged insurance company manager and is living comfortably in Glasgow. She receives Donald coldly when he goes to visit her. Callum Mor’s bond with the otter has deepened, and he spends many hours watching the lively creature frolic and play. One evening, he tracks the otter out to the ocean shore, where he notices a dinghy gill netting; these are the poachers Colin warned him about. He spots the otter and is at first overjoyed, but the animal does not stir when he approaches, and he sees that its neck has been broken. He runs in a rage towards a poacher standing on the shore and attacks the large man, whom he later learns is called BRETT MACVICKER. One of the men on the boat stops Brett from beating Callum Mor: it is Donald, his brother. They take Callum Mor on board and move away from the beach to avoid capture by the constables and gamekeepers. Brett’s sympathy for the boy’s sadness is such that he orders Donald and the OTHER POACHER to turn around and retrieve the otter’s body. They bury the otter at sea, and explain that its death was an accident when it was caught in the nets. Later, Brett arrives at the Martin croft with a puppy for Callum Mor.

In the following months, Brett becomes a role model for the boy. He teaches him to fish and hunt all over the islands. Annie and Miss MacDougall are both distrustful of the dangerous Brett, and warn Callum Mor and Donald about him. Despite her misgivings, Miss MacDougall is lured by Brett to a party at his home, where he seduces her. Although she initially consents, he physically batters and emotionally degrades her, and the seduction becomes something akin to rape. She leaves bruised and disgusted. Donald finds her on the path home and returns to Brett’s home to attack him. In the brawl, Brett’s home is set alight. Brett lets the place burn because he wants to leave Scotland for good. He warns Donald that someday he will hunt him down and kill him. Later that year, Miss MacDougall tells Callum Mor that she’s getting married to an EDINBURGH NEWSPAPER EDITOR and he’ll have a job with the paper and place to live if he wants to leave. He’s overjoyed at the prospect but stays with frail Annie, unwilling to leave her all alone. Instead, he joins his Uncle Michael’s herring boat crew and grows to be a strong young man and one of the most skilled fishermen in the islands. During this time, Brett tracks Donald down in Montreal and strangles him, and is in turn hung for murder.

At twenty-two, Callum Mor fosters a relationship with Colin’s niece CATRIONA and impregnates her. He wants to marry her, but she refuses, fearing he doesn’t truly love her. She travels to Glasgow and has an abortion. Callum Mor tries to reconcile with her, but she leaves the island and his life. He doesn’t tell anyone about Catriona but he is changed for the worse and begins a long slide into depression. His decline reaches its nadir when he returns home one day from fishing to find Annie slumped by the gate, having died peacefully of a stroke. Callum Mor explodes in a despairing rage and begins to drink heavily. He continues to drink himself into oblivion every night for many years, throwing away his previous life. He rows out into bad weather to fish, challenging the ocean to finish him off. Callum Mor’s boat is swallowed but he washes ashore unhurt. Several decades later, a grizzled fifty-eight year-old Callum Mor is alone in his messy house. His drinking days are done, but he leads a simple, rough existence. He has avoided almost all contact with the outside world until the day his long-estranged sister Moira comes to see him. She and Callum Mor reconcile their differences. Moira is accompanied by her devious stepson JOHN MENZIE, who wants to buy part of the Martin land to build a shellfish factory. Callum Mor perceives that Menzies is driven by greed, not a desire to help the struggling economy of the island, and he refuses to sell the land.

Later that year, Callum Mor is disturbed by a knock on his door. A young hiker called TOM HAGEN is seeking shelter for his family from a storm. Callum Mor is reluctant but feels pity for Tom’s wife SIAN and their young daughter CATHERINE. He lets them stay the night and swiftly bonds with the family, emerging from his self-imposed isolation. They invite him to visit their home outside Glasgow that winter. When Catherine is lost in the hills during a sudden snowstorm, Callum Mor finds her and saves her from hypothermia. The family purchases a home on the island from John Menzie. Despite Callum Mor’s warnings to not trust John, Tom makes only a gentleman’s agreement on the ownership of the home, and Menzie arrives shortly to evict the Hagens. Callum Mor offers to help the Hagens build a home for themselves on his land, and they are overjoyed. Frustration soon sets in because Menzie and his ally, REVEREND MOYNIHAN, use their contacts to spread distrust of the newcomers. The Hagens return to Glasgow, despite Callum Mor’s assertion that the people of the island will regain their compassion over time. As he watches the ferry depart, carrying his newfound family away, Callum Mor is calm with the certainty that they will return. In the following weeks and months, one by one, the people of the island remember themselves and contribute to the construction of the home, moved by the quiet, ephemeral power of Callum Mor’s love and hope.

 

Excellent X

Good

Fair

Development Needed

Concept

Story X

Characters X 

Comments/Suggestions for Adaptation:

REDMPTION is a lyrical and moving tale of struggle, love, loss, transformation and hope. Its starkly gorgeous and remote island setting creates and reinforces the central themes of struggle, family, community and wonder at the beauty of the world, and its rich cast of characters offers numerous gripping interludes that brim with complex interpersonal drama. The book is short, but there is more than enough material here for a satisfying full-length film adaptation. If handled with the same care and grace as the novel, a film could be highly successful. The novel’s period and setting deftly capture a rural way of life that is rapidly vanishing from the western world; one ever present theme is that of economic hardship and encroaching industrialization versus the wild, natural beauty of the islands. If budget restrictions are required, a contemporary version of the story would not require major changes so long as those elements are carefully preserved. However, an adaptation would be best served by maintaining the mid-century trappings, which lend authenticity and the nostalgic mystique of a childhood forever lost.

The story centers on and is always connected to Callum Mor, but he is surrounded and influenced by a fantastic cast of family and fellow islanders. They provide a deep well of material; their conflicts and intrigues move the plot forward and offer a vast array of powerfully emotional individual moments. The story arcs of Andrew, Annie, Moira, Donald, Miss MacDougall, Brett and Catriona offer particularly beautiful and interesting counterpoints to one another and to Callum Mor. The characters’ hopes, desires and difficulties intermingle in a sad and realistic tapestry of human existence.

The narrative’s tone is generally quiet and introspective in the vein of Jarmusch’s BROKEN FLOWERS, but it is frequently punctuated by storms both literal and metaphorical. These interludes are capable of taking a potential adaptation to the heights of such grand romantic drama as THE ENGLISH PATIENT. Callum Mor and his people face many conflicts throughout the story, from poverty, mental illness, unwanted pregnancy, and battles with nature itself, to sexual assault and violent physical confrontation. A potential adaptation would have no difficulty keeping any prospective audience’s rapt attention on the action at hand, even as the deeper, more subtle messages of compassion and faith carefully unfold. Only the ending, if anything, could benefit from slightly less ambiguity; although the final scene of the villagers erasing their shame by building a home for the Hagens, compelled by Callum Mor’s peaceful faith, is an effective and striking image.

REDEMPTION would be well-suited to adaptation as a feature film. A film should retain the novel’s relatively complex web of conflicts, personalities and emotional undercurrents. If the book’s strengths are preserved, an adaptation has the potential to be a successful, intimate and intensely moving tale of human tragedy and triumph.

Recommendation:

Strongly Consider X

Consider

Consider with Development

A Speech from the Future.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

I am writing the final book in a trilogy, taking characters from Book 1: Redemption and Book 2: Trailing Sky Six Feathers and placing them on a new planet in the near future. The adventure allows me to look back on the factors that compromised life on Earth. Here is an extract from Chapter Two.

“Ten years earlier Dr. Tom Hagen gave a speech at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Gathered before him were political and corporate leaders from around the world. He was an astrophysicist, engineer and prolific author. He wrote searing plays about human fragility and books for children to inspire them to care for the earth. These endeavors did not turn the tide of willful ignorance concerning drastic climate change despite his creation of detailed plans and scenarios to adapt the Industrial Growth Civilization that imperiled life on Earth. He was also the chef-de-mission of the International Space Agency’s PRIME 3 project to locate a suitable planet, as habitation on Earth was seriously compromised. The entire project was outlined in Space Agency folders that each member of the audience had before them. Dr. Tom Hagen was standing quietly at the UN podium in Geneva, readying to speak.  He had both good and bad news for his powerful and wealthy audience, deeply hoping that some of them would finance this late opportunity for survival of the human species.

Tom looked at his carefully researched notes then put them to one side. This speech, the most significant of his life, had to come directly from his insight and heart. He composed himself, standing still and silent at the podium He was six foot three inches of intense focus, dignified and alert. He took his glasses off and placed them on top of his notes. Sian, his wife, sitting off to one side of the podium smiled in relief. She knew what was coming. Tom paused and looked around at his audience, one he did not particularly like, but one he had to convince. He breathed deeply, waiting until he felt that icy steel of reason and vision within him, then he began to speak.

“In this very moment what is left of the population in Australia is being evacuated. The sand storms and volcanic eruptions in the interior and successive coastal tsunamis have brought an end to human occupation there. The inundation of Bangladesh, the Netherlands and coastal regions round the world are a direct consequence of the collapse of the Polar Ice Sheets, which increased sea levels by seven meters. Such cryogenic events have dislocated half the global population and ushered in plagues and pestilence that have eliminated ninety per cent of other species and directly threaten human survival. These are facts that cannot be refuted.”

Tom paused for several silent moments and made eye contact with the few individuals there who would support him. He breathed in and out slowly, gathering his steel and his wits. He saw that the facts he had just delivered registered with some and set the tone for what was to come. He slowly took a drink of water from the glass in front of him.

“In the early part of the twenty first century it was possible to make the leap to a zero-net-carbon world. Yet the opposite trajectory was chosen with a rapid increase in greenhouse gases as wealthy nations and economic enterprises doubled their production of fossil fuels. Did you not notice that food crops were destroyed by horrendous heat waves? Did you not realize that food riots and world panic trace back to one cause – the economic agenda of fossil fuel extraction? I do know you are clear about where your collective power was invested. It was in political, social and economic structures that centered on the fossil fuel complex, but did you discern that this collective agenda was destabilizing world order? I think not.”

There was another pregnant pause, as Tom allowed the indignation to arise from his audience then fade away.

“Do you remember the famous one liner from Bill Clinton that won him the presidential election, ‘It’s the economy stupid.’ You surely must, as you have put it whole heartedly into practice. That was the wrong direction. Your brand was, and is, a dysfunctional global financial system lurching from one disaster to another throughout the century. May I remind you of the obvious. The economy is a mere sub-set of the mother lode of ecology and you have successfully destroyed that base source. On your watch not only did financial collapses signal dangerous global watersheds, the world food system crashed as a consequence along with the chaos brought in by climate change. Nobody moved to ask different questions and find different answers. The usual suspects were hardly reined in. A few were assassinated, some rotted away in prison, while others died shallow deaths in gated communities. The anger of the populace has turned on their more powerful masters of capital and politics. At the extreme end of the spectrum of violence this anger has boiled over into lynching and murder of corporate and political leaders held responsible by eco-militias. The heinous actions of these black clad anarchists are certainly an extreme response to your control, lies and doublespeak. Nevertheless it is a response that makes none of you safe.

Look back over this century and you can see why such violence has emerged. Thousands of millions of people have died from thirst, starvation and disease.  Death arrived from every pestilence available, some of it created in your counter-intelligence labs. The countless millions who have died do not include the many wars waged over scarce resources, particularly water. The reason for such wars lies with your greed for money, control and power leading directly to the cascade of disintegrating eco-systems essential for the support of life. Government, industry, banks and financiers grew wealthy while they permitted a systematic breakdown of failing ecosystems on Planet Earth. Your collective and willful ignorance of warnings since 1950 served to discredit climate change scientists and oceanographers screaming that ocean eco-systems were disintegrating. You silenced and jailed citizens with the integrity to save the Earth. But it was never about the unanimity of scientists or free speech. It was about the brand of economics favored by your fossil fuel complex – a collective cabal of extraordinary power. You do know who you are, as you single mindedly created a powerful culture of denial about climate change and how it has impacted the cryosphere to such deadly effect.

Social order broke down in mid-century ushering in the overthrow of governments, the establishment of martial law and Nazism – all of which increased the desperation of populations worldwide who took to the streets in mass riots. In the vacuum of social order vicious warlords and militias took over many parts of the world. You have all suffered from the violence of so called eco-militias, which hunt down and string up in the streets those politicians and corporate leaders they hold responsible for the collapse of Earth’s eco-systems. Let me be clear – these eco-militias do not serve the Earth. They are pathological criminals on the loose, yet in many parts of the world they constitute an ever present danger. You and I have lost many friends and colleagues to the murders they have carried out. They are extreme, just as you are extreme. Somehow you inherited the Nero gene – fiddling with indifference while Rome burned. The entire planet has been allowed to burn on your watch. Perhaps at this late stage you can learn something from Rumi, the Sufi saint. He said, ‘Sit down and be quiet. You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.’ Your policies and brand of economics have forced humanity off the edge of the roof and you can now see the consequences worldwide.

In Canada, Big Oil and government ran an incredible campaign to promote the Alberta Tar Sands. They produced images of reforestation, utmost safety, deep concern for wildlife, populations and clean water. This played to a receptive audience throughout the country. Decades later the northern rivers and lakes of Canada became a wasteland. Oil derivatives swiftly poured through interconnected waterways. Aboriginal populations that augmented their households with fish and game are no more. They either relocated or died. This format, however, provided an example that was quickly adopted by other governments and effectively torpedoed any form of transition to a sustainable, renewable economy.

The billionaires amongst you have well equipped and tightly defended underground bunkers to escape to – but I have bad news for you. The deep core drilling for oil and gas all over the world, particularly in fragile ocean beds, have compromised the tectonic plates at the center of the Earth. The tectonic plates are now moving faster and rising closer to the outer crust of Earth. Where they collide precipitates world-wide volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that will first of all destroy your underground bunkers. It is estimated that billions will die from the volcanic explosions and many of those surviving will likely die from poisonous gases and the inevitable tsunamis in every ocean. Fifty years ago seismologists provided the critical evidence that deep core drilling is directly associated with the rapid increase in global earthquake and volcanic epicenters. Tectonic plates ride on a fluid like core, known as the asthenosphere, and the tectonic plates that are now colliding trigger massive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Repeated warnings from scientists to ban deep core drilling were ignored, bringing the unspeakable into reality.”

Tom paused and took a deep breath before looking around the audience, connecting with all his heart to each person.

“I ask you at this late stage to do one last noble thing. Support the PRIME 3 space project to the tune of five billion dollars. That is what it will cost to build a new spaceship and create a viable outpost at Jupiter Station One. The very future of our species is at grave risk and presently lies in your hands. PRIME 3 is the last Hail Mary to begin anew without replicating the structures and policies that have led to the inevitable demise of Planet Earth.”

Tom stopped talking. There was no applause. No-one acknowledged him. He walked steadily to the side of the stage where Sian was standing with a look of sheer admiration at his bravery. She embraced him lightly and sweetly. She held his hand as they walked up the center of the UN forum. No-one would meet his eye. He strode purposefully as the rich, powerful and greedy studiously ignored him, or so he thought. Still, Sian sent a smile to everyone who appeared to be in some kind of shock, stasis or agreement. They passed through the security of the UN building and started to walk down the steps, glancing at Lac Geneva in the distance.”