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A Former Astronaut, who monitored global weather patterns from space, gives a talk on her experiences, and the growing threats of climate change. Afterwards, over dinner, she asks guests if they know how to overcome Apocalypse Fatigue – that disinterest felt when it all feels too hard.
One of the guests, the Birdwatcher, tells how she and her granddaughter found the endangered bar-tailed godwit, a migratory bird that makes the longest flight ever known. They watch the spectacular sight as thousands of birds begin their epic migration. The Birdwatcher trips and bruises her shin. That night, she fears she’s lost her granddaughter and jumps into the water to search for her. As she floats, she sees her granddaughter flying amongst the godwits. Suddenly, she wakes up as a storm rages, and water seeps through the tent. Sheltering in the car, her granddaughter wonders how birds stay safe in a storm?
Another dinner guest, the Migrant, is writing a journal of life in her homeland. She slips between trauma and memories: the rubble from the bomb blasts that bruised her, and the woods full of flowers behind her house. She believes in the resilience of life – how everything is connected, and how nature reclaims what humans destroy.
The Former Astronaut remembers feeling disorientated during her third spacewalk. The futility of humanity’s place in the Universe is overwhelming, but when she returns to Earth, she’s determined to try to change society for the better.
After the meal, the Former Astronaut meets a young woman who attended her talk. She sees her bruises; evidence of self-harm caused by her anxiety about her future. She remembers the Migrant saying how we must have hope, and knows she’ll continue speaking up, even when few are listening.
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Female | 50s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 28
EXTRACT: IN SPACE, STARS AND CONSTELLATIONS FORMER ASTRONAUT: That last time â€“ when I went outsideâ€¦ Iâ€™m floating, suspended, in the ultimate cold of the universe. The earth is again below my feet but then, as I move it seems to disappear, then reappear above me, then disappear again. It makes no sense. Iâ€™m staring out at eternity, then in an instant I see the blue marble, our sanctuary in this emptiness. Again and again, empty eternity, then life; eternity, then life. And the more I look, the more I realise I canâ€™t see it - the night sky, the familiar one I see back on Earth. Itâ€™s something else â€“ thereâ€™s something squeezing at my mind, my understanding...
Female | 50s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 27
EXTRACT: NEAR THE SHORE OF A COASTAL LAKE THE SOUNDS OF RAIN AND THUNDER ARE HEARD. BIRDWATCHER: I canâ€™t find her. I run along the waterâ€™s edge through the reeds, my feet sink into the wet, muddy sand. And I know Iâ€™m calling, shouting out, but I canâ€™t hear myself. Thereâ€™s only silence. My feet are wet, but I keep searching. On the shore across the lake the godwits are back - or a new flock has arrivedâ€¦? I run towards them, sinking into the mud. The godwits will know where she is. Theyâ€™ll know...