Saturday, 18 January 2014

A New Stone Age

Disturbing article from the BBC. Apparently the Sun is falling asleep, which could result in colder weather for decades to come. But the BBC is also telling us, on a daily basis, that Global Warming is going to get hotter for centuries to come. And the Prime Minister tells us that the recent flooding is caused by Global Warming, which even the Met Office are hesitant to say. Or maybe they do agree with, after all? It's all very complicated.

What does seem pretty obvious to me is that the Government should be doing more to get trees planted on hillsides, and stop anybody building on floodplains. When they interviewed somebody flooded out on the Somerset Levels recently (clue - 1,000 years ago, Glastonbury was pretty well an island) they said "something has changed." I can't speak for their particular village, but I do recall that a few years ago, the Willow Man of Somerset used to be in glorious isolation apart from the motorway he watches, like a primaeval traffic cop. Whereas now, he's surrounded by houses and next door to a giant distribution centre. That is, a distribution centre of gigantic size. Not a D.C. for Giant logistics, which would be a much more interesting matter. I suppose you'd have to strap them to the back of low-loaders to stop them struggling.

But I digress. The point is, if you plonk concrete and tarmac down onto former marshland, you may have an impact on the surroundings. Cider apple orchards would be far more sensible.

So I would suggest, to mitigate flooding in the south, a major forest-planting exercise (mixed, fruity woodland would be good for wildlife, good for firewood and quickly reach maturity) and a policy of building all new houses on former industrial sites in the north.

Except. The BBC article says that the fall-off in solar activity is the biggest in 10,000 years - Not merely since the Little Ice Age of the 17th Century. Could we be on the verge of something much bigger?

Don't forget that we, technically, live in an Ice Age. This little period of calm in which he have gone forth, multiplied and spread across the face of the earth is merely a benign blip. We live in an interglacial within an Ice Age. Mother Gaia is merely having a hot flush, not running a fever. If you look at the graph of ice volumes and temperatures for ther current Ice Age on the graph here,  you will see that we are just at the same point in the graph where it all tipped over 140,00 years ago. And while we all laugh at the clowning of the #spiritofmawson, let's just remember the Antarctic sea ice is running record highs.

So there is nothing for it. I'm going to plant a load of trees, and then burn them down. Buy sunglasses, a swimsuit and a parka. Dig up all the drowned drought-resistant plants I put in the Mediterranean Gravel Garden that got swept away when the snow melted last April, and plant a load more - but this time interspersing them with Arctic moss and lichens. And seaweeds. I'm going to encourage other people to buy more efficient cars - because they save money, and we shouldn't waste the world's resources, and they improve our energy security. But personally I'm going to get a gigantic 4x4 Chelsea Tractor, to get me out of the sand dunes / mud / ice floes that we can all expect. I'm going to remember that the climate will change, and has always changed, and we are tiny, and fragile, and gormless. And we have confused temporary stability with how it will always be.

Good luck, everyone. If you need me, I'll be in my bunker. Let me know when the glacial is over, or it's all cooled down again, and we can bury our dead in beakers, and all knap flints in the delicate, precious, terrifying, uncontrollable sunshine.

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