How much more can there be to come down? The wettest year on record and given that until March we had an official drought it must be the wettest 9 months on record? It looks like there is still more rain on its way so not yet time to put those wellies and brollies away. You know things are bad even for Brits with our habitual weather obsession when you find yourself discussing different words for rain with a neighbour. 50 words for rain, anybody? Sadly, there seems to be no truth in that the sky has ever rained cats and dogs anymore than we should take the song “It’s raining men” at face value either. But the weather does seem to bring out the poetical and imaginative in us and this is evident currently on the weather reports on the BBC. “There’s plenty of cloud to be had” “it’s a windy story” “more rain on offer” are commonly heard phrases. Apparently we can ‘lose’ wet weather and fronts or systems can “plough” in a given direction. Sometimes I begin to see that the ancients were not so mad when they imagined winds as deities and earlier map makers placed little cherubs breathing out cloud bursts to indicate points of the compass.
Talking about the Weather
Of course for those who live in Britain the weather is famously an obsession but it does afford a talking point, dare I say an ice breaker, and enables us to strike up conversation with strangers in an acceptable way. The fact that our weather is so unpredictable means we do have to be aware of what is going on in the world around us to some extent. I might have said we need to know when to wear appropriate gear but I have just observed a fully grown man walking past my house in windy wet weather dressed in shorts and a flimsy hoodie! So let me just say most of us like to be dressed suitably for the prevailing weather conditions. So, we do pay attention to the weather but I wonder how much we understand what is going on.
Climate Change is just a lefty conspiracy?
When we first began to hear about ‘Climate Change’ many of us in Britain imagined we would become like a Mediterranean country and that we would have endless hot sunshine. The summer of 1976 but permanently. But even then scientists were trying to get across to us that we were not going to benefit by becoming the dream summer holiday destination resort of Costa Brittanica. Gardeners, who tend to be a bit more savvy have begun to risk growing some plants which are less frost hardy only to find the last couple of winters something of a challenge for sub tropical specimens like banana trees. We also grow more drought resistant plants – mmm. As for those of us who try to grow our own vegetables it has been a constant battle with drought, cold, wet and the consequent outbreak of pests, especially slugs this year. Whereas the growing season sometimes started later than the norm or we got a bit of a warmer autumn extending the season a bit, nowadays you really have to be prepared for extremes. I have become increasingly grateful for anything I manage to produce in my own patch because of this. Scientists and horticulturalists are now all saying some rather large shifts are happening in an unprecedented way which go far beyond previous climatic shifts and it really is down to human activity.
Conservation is Preservation
So, taking care of precious natural resources and species as conservationists have been urging for over half a century are seen to be the ones with real common sense now. Those clinging to some pea brained idea that only trendy muesli eating lefties in sandals are promoting a liberal takeover on the back of the environmental crisis are seriously mistaken and increasingly looking like ostriches with their head in the sand – and there is more of that in the Sahara these days due to climate change. The reality is that we are thoughtlessly plundering the earth and the natural environment has a way of trying to balance things out. We could make more effort nationally, internationally as well as personally in 2013 to treat the planet with more respect and one another whilst we are at it.
Still it rains
It has begun raining even harder now but I am tucked up indoors with some good books to enjoy and then of course there is the weather forecast to look forward to later. I wonder what we will be having or losing in the next 24 hours?