I’m Just a Scientist Maybe I See Things Different to You


Des Pensable copyright 2017

I’m just a scientist maybe I see things different to you. So I’m going to tell what I see.

When I walk into a forest I don’t just see trees. I see individual living creatures different from us but living none the less.

I see them constructed of leaves that harvest the sunlight, turning it into sugars that they use to grow and form their structure which is their flesh. I understand that they don’t need to move as everything they need it supplied free where they live.

When I see a leaf I think of the complexity of the chemical factories in it producing the sugars. I can take a leaf and break it and smell the aroma that it gives and immediately have an idea of the chemicals it has produced. I think of how the chemicals change between night and day and between seasons and whether it is sunny or wet or cold and whether there are more or less of some important trace mineral in the soil.

If it was a gum leaf I can smell the eucalyptus and it reminds of camping when I was a child.  I remember the characteristic smell of the smoke of burning eucalyptus leaves. It also remind me of bush fires and how the burn very hot with the eucalyptus oils.  I remember that the blue haze we see when we look at the Blue Mountains near my home in Sydney is from the eucalyptus oil vapour above the trees.

I look at the leaf and see it has a circular piece cut out. I imagine what sort of insect had eaten that piece of leaf. I wonder why it didn’t eat all the leaf. Was it a bird that came along and ate the insect or was it that the eucalyptus oil was toxic to the insect and it fell off to die and be eaten by another creature or did it just lie there dead until a fungus grew over it and it was absorbed into the earth.

I think about all the hundreds of insects that live in and on the tree’s bark. Families of them live their whole lives on the tree. I think of the lizards and spiders that prey on the insects and the birds that prey on the lizards,  spiders and insects.

I think of the tree’s flowers that produce the nectar to attract the birds and insects that help the plant spread its seeds so that other trees may have life and those trees will give life to other insects, and spiders and birds and lizards.

I think of the tree breathing in carbon dioxide, using the carbon to construct its body and breathing out oxygen that all animals need for life. I see an intricate web of nature that forms our life support system on our planet the only home we have. I think of how other animals and man have lived near or passed by that tree and saw just a tree standing there.

I’m just a scientist maybe I see things different to you.

I see a man come to the tree and see its value only in what it can provide him. He can’t see everything else that has a life tied to that tree. He doesn’t care. He can use it to make money an invention he created in his mind. This money has value and all the life that surrounded the tree has none.

He can make objects out of the tree to sell for money or to use it as part of his house or he can simply burn its wood to warm him when it’s cold or throw it in a dump when he has no more value in money to him.

I’m a scientist maybe I see things differently to you.

When I put a microorganism in a dish with all the food it can eat I can watch as it reproduces until it covers all the area of the food and eats and pollutes all the food until every organism dies.

When I see humans chop down every tree to grow more food so that they can multiply I see them killing not only the trees but every other creature that lives on and near the trees. I see that the wonderful web of nature, which produces the oxygen that all life depends upon is being destroyed.

I’m a scientist that has observed the wonders of nature but I’m also a scientist that has observed and measured the effects of humans on the world. I’ve witnessed and measured the deterioration in our life support system that we are causing. I’ve measured the pollution and seen the sickness , death and disease it causes.

I’m a scientist maybe I think different to you.

I don’t know everything but I do know some things for sure. When our population grows so large that it chops down the last tree and pollutes the ocean enough to kill off that last phytoplankton in the oceans that produces the oxygen that all life depends upon, our life support system will fail. Humanity will be the parasite that killed its host.

We’ll all be dust in another failed experiment of evolution of life on Earth. Millions of other species have already preceded us. There is no reason to think we won’t follow them. Every thought that was ever thought, every word that was ever uttered or written, every song, story idea, experience of love and living will be gone forever.

The planet will survive and in a few million years life will be rekindled but without humans because we were so arrogant to believe we had the right to destroy everything living because we were more important than anything else.

I’m just a scientist and maybe I think differently to you.

I do know that the story doesn’t need to turn out this way. I do know we have a problem and the ability to fix it if we try. I also know that fixing the problem will mean changes in people’s lives and how we as a species view our importance in the world. I do know that this is the most important test in our lives.

Can we, like the caterpillar, change to the butterfly? Can we metamorphose into a new beautiful creation of Nature, or do we fail the test of evolution and vanish like so many species before us.

I’m just a scientist and maybe I think different to you.

Des Pensable is a scientist with degrees in microbiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and neuroscience.

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Why Didn’t Our Politicians Gruntle Us This Year?

Des Pensable copyright 2016

I’ve had a sad and unhappy time this year

When I should have been all gruntled with cheer

You see it all started quite well

Our politicians had decided to gruntle us, that’s fine

They had signed the climate agreement in Paris

Then returned and approved the Adani coal mine.

I wasn’t gruntled at all,  in fact I was angry

Disappointed, annoyed, cross and irate.


Next the government  kicked out their leader

As his approval polls had dropped too low

Abbot wasn’t gruntling many people so

They chose another idiot, a banker to the core

The one that ruined our Internet who

wants to tax the pensioners and the poor.

I wasn’t gruntled at all, in fact I was displeased

Exasperated, Irked, piqued and dissatisfied


Then we had new elections and promises galore

They promised jobs to gruntle the unemployed

and  gruntle  the corporations that paid no tax at all

They promised a gruntling budget and warned us

Not to vote for Independents, Labor or the  Greens

I tried to vote them out but failed.

I wasn’t gruntled at all, In fact I was displeased

Fed up, vexed, miffed, riled and pissed off.


Finally we had the gruntling spectacle

of the US empire elections in all their glory

We were not gruntled when misinformation,

Media lies and election fraud was the main story

A pathetic choice between Clinton the war hawk

Or Trump the heroic climate change denier.

I wasn’t gruntled at all when Trump won, in fact

I was thoroughly disgruntled with all politics this year.



The verb disgruntle, which has been around since 1682, means “to make ill-humored or discontented.”  .” In the 1920s, a writer humorously used gruntle to mean “to make happy”—in other words, as an antonym of disgruntle. The use caught on although it isn’t used very often.

This poem refers to the elections in the year 2016. Australia’s most unpopular prime minister Abbot was kicked out and replaced by Turnbull who was marginally more popular.  The US elections were a dark carnival of farce where the choice was between two psychopaths both intent on world destruction.

see also A Global Warming Denier US President – How Did It Get To This?

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No Not In MY Backyard

fracking kill wildlife

A new environmental poem…. (slightly modified from when first published).

by Des Pensable (c) 2016

My  neighbor has a flash car and boat and is an important commercial banker,

He likes to flaunt his wealth, his pedigreed dog and is a bit of a loud mouthed wanker,

He’s only concerned about the stock exchange and how it’s continually changing,

He said the market is down and Aussie debt was up and it really needs rearranging,

He said the yanks are making fortunes from fracking, a type of unconventional gas mining,

We could do it all over Australia if the farmers and greenies would just stop whining,

He said … but I don’t want it my backyard mate, no not in my backyard


The mining company director was really happy, he’d secured another good deal.

The foreign shareholders would all agree to the payment of his bonuses with great zeal.

He wanted to build hundreds of coal seam gas mines in the middle of prime agricultural land.

He was going to flood the world with gas if the prices stayed as high as planned.

He wasn’t worried about the water needed, there was plenty deep underground.

He’d paid all the pollies quite well, but he was worried about greenies hanging around.

He thought … I don’t want them in my backyard mate, no not in my backyard.


The Pilliga farmer was unhappy, he’s just found out what the local council had planned,

They had agreed to a coal seam gas mining lease on the block adjacent to his land.

In panic he went to see his local MP, a fine country bred National party man.

His MP said there’s money to be made, we need to build CSG mines as fast as we can.

With Global Warming coming, there’ll be drought and your farm’s as good as dead.

I can’t help you at all, I’ve quit farming and welcomed the miners to my land instead

The farmer replied..but I don’t want them in my backyard mate, no not in my backyard.


The farmer studied up on coal seam gas mining and it soon became crystal clear,

It would pollute the underground water and poison the air for animals and people living near,

It would ruin the farming land for generations and speed up Global Warming as well,

It was invented by foreign investors for profit but makes the environment as toxic as Hell.

The farmer cried for help, the farm unions were deaf but the greenies heard of his plight

They rallied the city slickers and tree huggers; thousands came to help him fight

This is our farming land … we don’t want gas mining in our backyard mate, no not in our backyard.


The moral of this story is quite clear, when you see a greenie give him or her a hug and smile

Say thanks for your help in caring for our great land; I couldn’t understand you for a while

Now I realize your intentions were pure, I listened to the pollies and got the message wrong,

Those political bastards have sold us all out, there will be nothing left before long

Aussies all over this great land are all in the same boat, we must unite while we can,

We need to vote out all the corrupt pollies and create a national gas mining ban.

Australia is our backyard and we don’t want it in our back yard mate, no not in our back yard.


I think I’ll come out and join you protesting. I hope your pub hasn’t run out of beer.   I might even vote Greens next election. What about you?

You might also like Dodgy Dick the Fracking Engineer

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The Plight of the Mighty Hawkesbury River

A poem about a mighty River called the Hawkesbury that defines the northern boundary of the sprawling metropolis of Sydney, Australia.


photo- Sunset on the Hawkesbury. Image from www.hawkesbury.com


The Plight of the Mighty Hawkesbury River

Copyright Des Pensable 2015

I was born near a mighty river, a panorama of life, strength and awe.

Flowing majestically through time, Nature’s powerhouse and nursery

for yabbies and mussels, eels and fish, shags and pelicans galore.

In the dawn it was a sleepy golden serpent stretched across the land.

At midday, a busy highway for a myriad of small craft weaving white wakes.

In the evenings, a dark and mysterious, sinuous, silver moonlit brand.

My earliest memories were of excitement, laughter, joy and fun,

of diving and swimming, canoeing and fishing, in the cool swirling eddies

of that generous host of small green islands basking lazily in the sun.

Later in my youth I took my first love up to the birthplace of the stream.

We picnicked and skinny dipped, laughed and made love on the bank.

Its essence was fresh and healthy; my memories, a beautiful dream.

I ventured to Sydney to find work; we needed money they said to live.

An eternal rat race, a soul sapping drab endless fight for a gulp of fresh air,

I yearned for the inner peace that only my beautiful river could give.

I journeyed back in time to where my memories happily lived as a child,

to replenish that spirit of life that nature’s magic wand freely recharges.

What I saw shocked me to the core and left my mind uneasy and wild.

Oh my Hawkesbury! What have they done to your majestic metallic sheen?

You lay there ill and bloated with effluent from the city’s bowels and sewers,

tainted with slime and weed; pitiful, ailing and weak; now fetid and green.

We were charged to share; to be stewards and protectors of the land’s health.

Why do we toil for idiot goals, value printed paper, call companies people?

Why do we loot, pollute and scoot from our responsibilities for illusory wealth?

Why do we hide behind locked doors, mindlessly ignoring the growing blight?

It’s time to escape, to grow up, to renew our timeless contract with Nature.

It’s time to transform from zombie barbarians to caring eco warriors with might.

It’s time to balance the books with the land; the Hawkesbury’s not a drain!

It’s time to say no to profit before Nature and only the bottom line counts.

Let’s unite and fight to fix the Hawkesbury so it’s healthy and proud again.


photo courtesy of the NSW Dept Natural Resources

Check out more on the Hawkesbury river story below.

The Australian Traveller – The Hawkesbury 

Everything commercial you wanted to know

Using the River as a toilet

What the local government is saying it’s doing

How You Can Help