Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Bluey's Feeling Blue

Hi, my name's Pale Blue Dot. People call me Bluey. I'm four and a half billion years old and according to a few of my mates, I’m experiencing a minor mid-life crisis. Everyone gets one though, they say. I’m not so convinced because everything’s been going pretty smoothly—minus the odd hiccup—since my 'cambrian explosion' about 541 million years ago.

Either way, this blog is about working out whether or not I need to worry. One of my friends, Mars, thinks I'm fine. My other friend, Venus, isn’t so sure. She thinks I should be taking better care of myself.

Me, December 7, 1972 (Source: NASA)

Eventually, I made it down to my GP, Dr Steffen et al, who ran some initial tests. He came back a bit concerned so he's suggested I book in to see some specialists over the next few weeks. According to GP Steffen (Doc), who referenced my previous GP’s records (Dr Rockstrom et al), I could have a few things 'wrong' with me. I'm not sure why but he's nicknamed them ‘planetary boundaries’:

  1. I've got a slight temperature but people think I'm crazy. The Doc calls it anthropogenic Climate change’. One old man in the waiting room called it something different though: ‘Alarmism’. 
  2. My teeth are sore and some individual teeth feel brittle. The Doc wants me to see the dentist. He says it could be one of an ‘Ocean’ of reasons, including ‘acidification’. Bit worrying, especially as I’m no exception—I hate dentists! 
  3. My white blood cell count is a bit low. Doc calls it biodiversity loss or ‘Biosphere integrity’ or something. I’ve never heard of it. 
  4. I dyed my hair blonde a month ago and people started asking questions. I said I just felt like a change. Doc calls it ‘Land-system change. It confused me so I’m going to ask the psychologist about that one. 
  5. I have a big mole on my bottom but I think it's benign. He mentioned something about ‘Stratospheric ozone depletion’ and a hole or he could have just said mole. Not sure. 
  6. I've recently taken some stimulants (called P & N) to help me grow but I think there could be a few side effects I never saw coming. The side effects are called ‘Biochemical flows’. 
  7. I’ve had a few minor ‘plumbing’ issues of late. The doc said it wasn’t major but I'll probably need to manage it. He euphemistically named it ‘Freshwater use’ so I wouldn’t get too embarrassed. 

The Doc even broke the results down visually (he said to ignore the question mark sections, for now):

Planetary Boundaries (Source: Science)

There you have it, plenty of things to get to the bottom of. By the way, apologies for all the medical jargon. Please check out my glossary page if you want to know more about any of the technical terms that the doc lost me on. I noted them down so you (and I) could refer back to them.

I’m not sure which specialist I’ve got first but I’ll be sure to update you straight away following my first appointment. I bet you’re itching to find out what’s wrong ;)

Yours always,

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