Nicola Peel | Blog
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The Sound of Petroleum


A distant drone. The sound of the Earth’s black gold. Ruira is the name the Uwa indigenous people call it, which means the blood of the Earth.


How this blood drives our lives. How addicted we have become to this thick black liquid. We are clothed in petroleum, we eat it, we wash in it, we are moved by it, breath it in and use it every day in more ways than we are aware. Have we become homo petroleums?


Like a black dragon, we awakened it from its sleep in a cave deep underground, now it has been stirred it reminds us that we woke it from its slumber with its continual roar.


How far must we run to escape the constant sound of its presence? Once sucked up out of the depths of the Earth it groans, buzzes, whirs, revs and calls to us in every note and tone.


A plane overhead shatters the intense silence of a remote desert, an outboard motor sounds its way through the deep jungle, the song of the birds, insects, frogs and howler monkeys quietened, replaced by the sound of petroleum.


The lapping of ocean waves on a white sandy beach replaced by the obnoxious sound of a jetski and its lone rider oblivious of the disturbance caused.


Hiking in the mountains, away from (un)civilisation, no stores, no people, no traffic, the awe of majestic mountain peaks. The long awaited silence I so crave. As I sink into deep listening open to natures melody, soothed by nature’s song, my moment of reverence is shattered.


A sightseeing helicopter flies overhead. People with money to burn also wish to see Nature’s beauty, to look down on the mountain tops, look over the lakes and forest. They are unaware of the smell of the forest floor, how small one feels looking up at the mountain peaks as they loom over you, the sound of the land and those who make this place their home.


Ancient beings who have stood still for over a thousand years and have witnessed much. For them the peace and quiet replaced by the regular drone of petroleum. The sound of the human is here.




We are Earth

I hear we are only 10% mammal. 90% of who we are is made of numerous kinds of bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeast, eyelash mites and a host of other life that lives in us and walks on us without us even knowing. A human is a complex system of living species. Like the fleas on a dog they drink and eat from their host. Are we really the same to the Earth? We walk upon the flesh of the planet, eating, drinking, excreting, reproducing and decaying.


Our human body contains rivers in our blood and lymphatic system, our tears like the salty ocean, our lungs filled with air, the same breath that the trees just breathed out, our breasts like the mountains and between our legs the source of a magical spring, which emerges from the void, the darkness, the depths of the Earth.


We are a walking talking miniature earth. We are like an acorn falling from a long line of oaks. Inside the Earth, the seed, the egg waits for its time to come when it is stirred into growth, expanding, changing, following the blueprint which will turn an acorn into an oak, an ova into a human. We both depend on nutrients and water from below and the Sun from above. We will both follow a similar journey from sapling to teenager, to maturity to an elder where we start to break down, to decay until the day comes when we crash down to the ground. Then more bacteria and fungi and insects will break us down, feeding on us, returning us to soil where the fertility of our bodies will provide the nourishment for the next generation to come.


Cycles of life are all around us. From the depths of a muddy pond a lotus flower emerges, tightly closed hiding its beauty within, a closely guarded secret, then a stirring, an opening until fully open to the sun, exposing the beauty, the fullest potential, then fading, shrivelling away, decaying, back down to the depths of the pond.


We are Nature, we are Earth so why are we hurting ourselves? Why let our blood, our rivers run with chemicals and poisons, why do we fill our lungs, the air with toxic particles, why eat poison and grow our food with chemical fertilizers? What are we wishing to learn? What are we wanting to teach our children? How have we come to believe we are separate to nature? That we must heal the world? That we are destroying the Earth?


Since seeing the first picture taken by astronauts of the blue marble floating in outer space, which is one of the most widely distributed photographic images in existence, did we then think ‘hey we are separate from the Earth, we can leave it and go somewhere else’?


For us to go somewhere else we must take the earth with us, for we could not survive forever without food so we must take seeds from the earth to continue to survive. We are earthlings intrinsically a part of this planet in the large spiral galaxy we call the Milky Way.


We must awaken and remember that every action we take has repercussions, ripples that go so much further than we will ever know. Have you asked yourself how does your life impact on the whole system? Just by being alive, your presence creates a ripple. When you have decayed and disappeared how do you wish to be remembered, what imprint will you leave?

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With my own eyes I’ve witnessed streams and rivers running black with heavy crude oil, butterflies coated in this toxic substance struggling to move their once multicoloured wings, dead fish...

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