Climate change: considerin the goats in the coal mine

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Rubí Tuesday Blogue.

“Look at them mountain goats,” I said to Matilde. 

We had finished our breakfast straw and were gazin across the valley watchin a family of long-horned mountain goats ascendin the vertical face of the rock opposite El Parral.

“How can they go up a vertical rock-face like that?” asked Matilde.  “You wouldn’t see any donkeys doing that sort of behaviour.  Dangerous, risky and foolhardy!  Health and safety!”

“Simple,” I replied.  “Climate change.”

Matilde rolled her eyes.  “Oh, here we go…”

“No, seriously.”  I nodded down the valley in the direction of the Mediterranean.  “It’s sea level rise.  It’s coming you know.  The goats are ahead of the game and climbin to higher ground.”

“How much is the sea going to rise?” asked Matilde.

“Two centimetres by next Tuesday,” I said.  (This was just a guess but Matilde is happier if she has some numbers to work with.  Like when the Peasant brings out the mornin carrots: Matilde scrutinizes him when he steps through the gate and tells us if there are six carrots or eight.  That’s never actually important: it’s the size of the carrots that matters, as any fool knows, but Matilde likes to know the actual numbers involved.

“The goats is the canary in the coal mine,” I said. 

“How can goats be canaries?” asked Matilde, adoptin her usual perplexied expression. There was a fly on her nose.  “You need your eyesight tested.”

“I’m employin a nalogy,” I explainied.  “A nalogy is when one thing is like something else.”

“I thought you told me that was a smilie?” protested Matilde.  “Anyway, it’s not a very good nalogy or a smilie, is it?  Goats don’t have wings and they’s not down the coal mine. They’s up the mountain, and up is not down.  So it’s the worst nalogy I’ve ever heard.  Prolly a bad smilie aswell.”

“No it isn’t!  You didn’t know what a nalogy was until two minutes ago!  I taught you want a nalogy was, and now you tell my nalogies is all rubbish.  That’s ingratitude, if ever I saw it!”

“So…”  Matilde leaned forward, peerin at the mountain goats as they climbed higher up the rock-face, sendin down a cascade of loose stones that echoed all round the valley.  “If they think the sea level is going to rise by two centimetres by next Tuesday, why do they need to go all the way up there?  They’d still be quite safe sunbathing on the beach!”

“Goats don’t sunbathe on the beach,” I said.  “Anyway: they is thinkin ahead. That’s why they is the canaries in the coal mine.  One day this field will be the beach, when the sea gets here.”

“And it will all be the goats’ fault,” said Matilde.


“If the goats work as canaries in a coal mine, I hold them responsible for CO2 emissions.  Sea level rise is their fault.”

“True.” We ate some grass and considered the situation for a while.

Then we looked up and stood there watchin the goats again.  A baby goat was left behind, bleatin. 

“There you are,” said Matilde.  “Goats is feckless parents as well as hopeless climate-change deniers!” 

We continued snortin at them in loud disapproval and the sound carried in the valley’s perfect acoustic, so the goats heard us and looked down to see who was snortin at them.

Aitana was standing nearby.  “I think the goats is escaping from the crocodiles.”

Matilde and I turned to glare at Aitana.  Why does that young donkey always ruin a sensible conversation with stupid nonsense? 

“Silly horse!” I said, and Matilde and I continued snortin at the goats.

“Silly horse!”

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