Nanuk (the Polar Bear cub)
Bubbles (the Emperor Penguin chick)
Splash-bang Wallop (the Humpback Whale calf)
Chatter (the Wandering Albatross)
Smiles and Giggle (the Bottlenose Dolphins)
And the human children (all of them) saved Planet Earth
A Story for Children (and Optimistic Adults)
by S. Rogers and H. Greenway, UK
It had been very, very hungry when it found the galactic crossing portal and Planet Earth came into view.
Planet Earth was the most beautiful and bountiful planet that it had ever seen. It was a globe of the greatest majesty that shone subtle shades of blue and green as it moved around its sun.
It watched and it smiled to itself. It wasn’t really interested in beauty or bounty for it fed only on a planet’s sickness. It fed on pollution and excess CO2 (its favourite greenhouse gas), and on the destruction and the death of all living things.
Each year it became stronger and stronger, because many of the grown-ups were too weak or too selfish to stop it. They just kept on using more and more of the energy that released excess CO2.
Planet Earth was now on the very edge of the cliff. It was being tipped off balance. There were floods and droughts, hurricanes, earthquakes, heat waves and orange-blazing forest fires and ancient ice caps were melting into the sea.
The CO2 monster watched and sneered, because those who had the power to stop it were just playing right into its hands. It knew that this should make it happy. But it didn’t, because deep in the place where its heart should be, it was a little bit afraid.
It didn’t like to admit it, but it was afraid of the children of the Earth, for it knew that they had the power to destroy it. The children’s minds weren’t muddied by excuses with ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ ‘not possibles’ and ‘no-can-dos.’ They listened to what the plants, animals, birds, fish, insects, reptiles, trees, forests, oceans and seas had been trying to tell the grown-ups for decades.
At the top of the earth, in the High Arctic lands, baby bear Nanuk watched as the darkest of night skies was suddenly ablaze with a magical blanket of shimmering shades of rainbow light.
It was beautiful beyond words. His mother had told him that it was the dance of the spirits of the animals as they made their way from this world to the next.
He bowed his head. Perhaps there would come a time when Polar Bears would no longer see it, because, if the ice caps finally melted, they would no longer be able to survive.
Nanuk knew then that he had to do anything that a Polar Bear cub could possibly do to make sure that Planet Earth survived, and this meant getting a message to the children of the humans, because he knew that they would help.
He didn’t know any human children, but the birds might. He’d have to tell the birds. There were thousands of them and they could spread the word. There were Kittiwakes and Little Auks, Geese and Gulls, Puffins and tiny-mighty Arctic Terns that could fly from the top of the earth to the bottom, where the Penguins lived.
At the bottom of the Earth, in the frozen landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula, Bubbles the Emperor Penguin chick lifted her fluffy head, looked around and saw that her world was beautiful. She watched as dusk spread its wings over towering mountain glaciers that rose like giants from a frozen sea. And everywhere she looked, the land was tinged with orange, gold, and indigo and all the softest shades of colour in between.
Soon her mother would return and they would see each other for the very first time. At the beginning of winter, her mother had laid a single egg and then she had returned to the Antarctic seas to feed.
Bubbles’ father was left in charge of the egg and for 64 days he had kept it warm and away from the ice by balancing it on his feet. All of the Penguin fathers in the colony had a baby-egg-chick to look after and they huddled together for warmth in the bitter-cold darkness of the Antarctic winter.
But then, after a long long time Bubbles woke one morning to great excitement in the Penguin colony. She would never forget that day. It was the day that her mother came home. Her father rushed around in circles, sprucing and fluffing his feathers. And all the while he was bumping into all the other Penguin dads, who were also rushing around in circles, sprucing, fluffing and puffing.
One day Bubbles overheard the adult Penguins talking quietly about the CO2 monster and the melting and shrinking of the sea ice. She was afraid then, for she knew that all Emperor Penguins depended on the sea ice. And if the sea ice finally disappeared, Emperor Penguins would disappear too, because they could no longer survive.
Bubbles bowed her head. She knew then that she had to do everything that an Emperor Penguin chick could possibly do to make sure that Planet Earth survived. And this meant getting a message to the children of the humans because she knew that they would help. She didn’t know any human children. But the Whales might. She’d have to tell the Whales.
Splash-bang Wallop launched himself out of the water and performed a leaping and rolling back-flip. Then he did it again and again and again.
His mother rolled her eyes. Splash-bang was such a little show-off, but what could she do? He was a Humpbacked Whale calf who just loved to dance.
Splash-bang was born in a quiet bay on the Western coast of Australia. His mother had swum thousands and thousands of miles from the frozen landscape of the Antarctic so that he could be born safely in warm, calm waters. Then, when he was older and strong enough, they would swim back.
Splash-bang loved his life. Every day was an adventure.
He dived down to see what was happening on the coral reef. Wow! Every time he saw it, it was different, and each time it took his breath away. It was all the colours of the rainbow and every shade in between that there ever could be.
Fish were everywhere; big and small, fat and thin, dotted, striped, multi-coloured and impossible-coloured, shy fish and fish with swagger, fish that swam alone and those that swam together in shapes that changed, again and again, to the rhythms of the ocean’s music.
It was then that he heard it. The song of the Whale. It told of a time when the coral reefs and all the life that depended upon them were destroyed; bleached as white and lifeless as the bones of the dead.
Splash-bang was so upset that he surfaced far too quickly, launched himself out of the water like a rocket with attitude and nearly frightened Chatter, the Wandering Albatross, out of her feathers.
Chatter was sitting in the rigging of a luxury yacht that had moored close by so that the humans could watch the Whales play. But she wasn’t interested in watching Whales; she was only interested in what she’d been hearing. And she’d been hearing that there was a new and deadly monster in the world and that it was growing stronger and stronger every day. Its name was the CO2 monster.
The skies were Chatter’s world. She could flap, float, glide, circle, somersault and spiral for days and days on end without stopping. She told Splash-bang that she’d already seen some of the damage that the CO2 monster was doing. She started squawking then and getting so upset that her feathers stood on end, spikier than a hedgehog’s quills on mega-maxi-hold.
Splash-bang bowed his head. So, the Whale song was true. He knew then that he had to do everything that a Humpback Whale calf could possibly do to make sure that Planet Earth survived, and this meant getting a message to the children of the humans, because he knew that they would help. He didn’t know any human children, but the Dolphins did. Human children loved Dolphins. They loved them so much that, sometimes, they even went swimming with them. That was it. He’d have to tell the Dolphins.
Smiles, the Bottlenose Dolphin, was playing with a Sea Snail in a friendly and rather annoying (if you’re a Sea Snail) sort of way, when Splash-bang swam up to her.
Smiles listened as Splash-bang told her about the CO2 monster and how it had to be stopped. And that this meant getting a message to the children of the humans because they would help.
It is a well-known truth amongst the animal world that, mostly, Dolphins ‘just wanna have fun.’ But they also have a serious side.
Dolphins live in every sea and ocean of the world. There are Bottlenose, Duskys, Hectors, Spinners, Long-beaked, Short-beaked, Rough-toothed, Hourglass, Atlantics, Pacifics, Pygmy, Irrawaddy and many more. And although they may seem a little different from each other, they are family and they just love to talk.
Smiles told Splash-bang not to worry, the dolphins would work together to make sure that the human children heard about the CO2 monster. Then, with a single flick of her tail-fin, she was gone.
Hayley, Mazey, Ash and Daniel were canoeing in the sea off the West Wales coast when Giggle, a Bottlenose Dolphin, swam up. He stopped, moved in close and took a good long look at them. Then he put his head under the water and slapped his tail-fin several times against the surface and kept splashing until the few bits of the children that had still been dry, were now very, very, very wet. Normally, Giggle would have found that really funny, but this was serious and he needed to get their attention.
Now, it is a not very well-known fact that dolphins can talk to children (when they want to be serious, which isn’t very often), and children can understand.
Giggle swam up really close to the canoe, so close that the children could reach out and touch him. He told them about the CO2 monster and that Planet Earth was in grave danger, but that it wasn’t too late because the children could save it.
He was about to swim away, then he remembered something very important. He leapt high out of the water and, as he dived back in, he slapped his tail fin across the surface, drenching the children all over again. He laughed to himself as he swam away … Now that really was funny. Try as they might, dolphins just can’t be serious for long.
The children knew then that they had to find out more about the CO2 monster, but it seemed to be just too big and hopeless a problem.
What could they possibly do to change things? They didn’t have any power; they were just kids. It was then that they discovered that much of the excess CO2 comes from the energy that is used to power ordinary everyday things. This meant that there were lots and lots of seemingly small things that each person could do to save energy. They could switch off things like lights, computers and TVs when they weren’t in use and bike or walk short safe distances rather than pestering their parents for a lift in the car. They could plant a tree, take a shower instead of a bath, recycle things instead of throwing them away and find out more about how to save energy, and they could ask their parents to do the same.
The children knew then that the problem wasn’t too big, too hopeless or too late.
Hayley, Mazey, Ash and Daniel spread the message about CO2 until it stretched around the world and each child knew that she or he could make a difference. But as they grew up, they wanted to do more.
Hayley would never forget her first magical meeting with Giggle, the Bottlenose Dolphin. She became a Marine Biologist and travelled the world studying life in the oceans and making sure that people understood how beautiful and fragile they were.
Ash knew that the rainforests were vital to the survival of Planet Earth and that there had to be a way to balance people’s need for land and wood against the mass destruction of the forests. He became a Scientist finding ways to make this happen.
Mazey became an engineer and inventor and created the things that people needed, but ones which worked with planet Earth rather than against it.
Daniel became a writer, writing stories about how important it was to look after planet Earth and how the children (all of them) had saved it from the CO2 monster.
….. And what of the CO2 monster? Well, it really couldn’t stand up to a world that was working together, so it just slunk quietly away to see if it could find another planet to pick on.