We stepped carefully through mud covering the roads, houses had sand bags across their doors, gates, driveways, but still the water had seeped inside.
“The fields were rushes of floodwater, look,” a man pointed, “all the lovely topsoil wasted, on the road, in the river, into the sea, gone!”
Various people were wheeling barrow loads of apples towards the Perry family’s farm where three men and two women of various ages and two infants were busy collecting as many apples as they could.
“Twice this week apples strewn all over the place,” she shook her head. “Most of the harvest swept away. Water flooded us. Not happened in years, never as bad as this.”
This cider farm on the edge of town has won gold awards for the organic produce made by the family picking up as much of the scattered harvest as they could.
It was my first proper time out in months, I tried to help, lasting not five minutes. Camilla rushed to get the car for me. We drove through watery lanes, “Like canoeing through the jungle,” Camilla laughed.
Wet trees arched overhead, rills sped down the tarmac, hedges haemorrhged muddy water, and storms kept slipping over the soaked hills. We parked by an 800 year old garden we often go to and walked a little, sheltering under ancient yews, oaks and larches every so often, which suited me.
Back home, our two hundred year old sandstone garden steps were more proof of Global Warming and Climate Change. This year has been so dry (and cloudy) that they have popped for the first time and are breaking up. Lovely slabs of solid stone now a sad mess, all forty-two of them.
Yet our politicians are more concerned with the economy than the devastating problems the world faces. Ok, they have said that 80% of the world’s economy is promised to be committed to head towards lower carbon; ‘promised’, ‘committed’ … but as Greta says, “Action not words”.
She’s in good company Kant once said that we should judge people not by what they say but by what they do. It seems bonkers to mention Greta and Arnold Schwartzneggar in the same breath, but he has ranted on about the same points: California, the 5th richest economy in the world, the richest in the USA, went green, reducing CO2 by 25%, back to 1990 levels, providing tons of jobs, boosting its economy, “So the rest of the world is lying,” and “stupid” not to do the same.
Like Greta, he’s blunt, but we have to be blunt - as so many are saying, time is running out. Imagine expanding desserts reaching into Southern France, across most of India; wildfires rampaging across Germany, Thailand; Shanghai, New York, London, Bombay, under water, East Anglia drowned; mass migration bursting Europe’s, USA’s, China’s borders as billions flee their tropical homelands. Wars over water, over food, over energy production. That will happen at 2.7 degrees plus, yet we’re whining that it’s too uncomfortable to change our lifestyles and reach the requisite 1.5C by 2030. And our leaders are saying: “Maybe 2C by 2060!”
Many of us where saying all this in the 1980s. We continued to do so in the 1990s. By the early 2000s we were exhausted. Our dear friend C resigned as World Chair of GreenPeace during that time because nobody was listening.
Are they listening now? Are we?