So long, and thanks for all the fish

I’ve given up trying to predict the things that make me cry these days. The latest ones were images from Italy showing the now-clear water teeming with fish and even dolphins.

The water has cleared up because there aren’t so many humans zooming around and churning up sediment, but the photos also reminded me of the satellite images of Coronavirus-hit towns and districts across the world: where previously they sat under a permanent cloud of man-made pollution, the pollution is gone.

It sometimes feels as if Covid-19 is Mother Nature giving us the mother of all hints: if this is how you’re going to behave, I’m better off without you. Coronavirus isn’t the end of the world; it’s a teaser trailer for the bigger, more frightening versions that are coming if we continue to pursue a model of economic growth no matter what the consequences.

The dolphins also reminded me of this, by the late, great Douglas Adams.

Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending demolition of Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger. But most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs, or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means – shortly before the Vogons arrived. The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backwards somersault through a hoop, whilst whistling the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’. But, in fact, the message was this “So long and thanks for all the fish”.