“Phew! It ain’t ‘arf hot”, is a well-used expression by holiday makers as they arrived on the Costas, during July and August.
“I really don’t know how the locals put up with it” you can hear people say, “the intensity of the sun, and particularly the long hot nights, make it difficult to sleep”.
At the same time as many Spanish towns and cities, like Sevilla who recorded a temperature of more than 50c, there are many other places apart from the Mediterranean and around the world are undergoing intense heat, even Britain has hit 34 celsius the hottest it’s been in more than 40 years, while across the globe in countries like Brazil and Chile downpours have brought floods with landslides in China, has the world’s weather gone mad?
Whenever the word environment or global warming is mentioned, peoples eyes glaze over, “Oh yes, they say, global warming what rubbish, soon we will all burn to a cinder ha,ha, it’s an age old bit of nonsense ” they say.
Well folks maybe I hope I don’t bore you to tears, I have some very important news for you, so if you are a sensible person with families maybe grandchildren growing up I ask you to read on.
Apart from being a journalist, I’m also a professor of natural sciences and environmental issues, also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society I have travelled as Far East to China and as far West to the Hawaiian Islands, up to the Arctic Circle and as far South as the Antarctic, this during a period of twenty three years, so I think I am reasonably qualified to write about the scale of damage to our world.
A few weeks ago Donald Trump marched out on the Paris climate agreement meeting before he could sign, only he and two other countries failed to sign after it had already been ratified by 195 countries who recognise the overwhelming evidence to reduce harmful gases that is poisoning the atmosphere.
During Trump’s election campaign he promised out of work Americans more jobs, so since his election victory he has employed more coal miners and more people to work in the power industry, now America can say that they have more employed people then they have had for many years.
Thousands of scientists from all over the world for years have been trying to understand what more we have to do to combat the serious downturn of the planets environment. Some scientist have even suggested that in not to many years to come most humans will have to wear space type clothes so that they can cope with the intense heat and rays from the sun, and the obnoxious gases being released by the power stations around the world.
Certain countries the Far East such as Vietnam most people wear large straw hats and long sleeved shirts and long skirts when they go out into the street, this is their simple way for them to protect themselves, many Chinese wear masks as the air pollution in most cities is desperately bad for the health.
I have witnessed huge icebergs split apart in the Arctic circle crumble into the sea, recently a village in Greenland was devastated when a tsunami caused by a falling splintered iceberg had swept their village away killing many inhabitants, the same happens in the Antarctic as huge pieces of ice crash down and become enveloped by the warming sea this is known as calving, with then huge ice flows threatening all that lays before it. I have walked on the millions of years old Briksdal glacier in Norway and watched as large parts of the glacier is melting into the sea, the Glacier had been greatly reduced in size by the warmer climate.
Islands as far away in the Indian Ocean have been effected by rising tides such as the Maldives, the Seychelles and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific the highest point on some of these islands is only a few feet above the water line, the Maldives islands West of India is only 1.3 metres above sea level, a rise of three feet would submerge all of the 1,100 islands, with about 325,000 inhabitants.
The Seychelles has a population of around 87,122 thousand inhabitants, all of these could be affected during a big surge, as with hundreds of other low lying islands and main lands could be swamped by rising sea levels.
In the last twenty years a large hole appeared in the ozone layer above the Arctic allowing the intense heat from the Sun to disturb our weather patterns, now there is evidence that the hole is closing, without any real explanation, this has happened before however it reopened again.
I’ve spent a long time in Central and East Africa such as Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Tanzania, in some of these places rainfall has been almost non-existent, crops have died and many people are undergoing starvation as famine ravages their families, I once acted as an escort to take 25 lorries with 600 tonnes of grain with the World Food Programme of the United Nations from Kampala to Ayod in the Sudan, and wrote a book called the Wages of
Fear I survived a life threatening journey through barren wastes and the ongoing war in Southern Sudan.
The world’s wildlife has also suffered greatly at our hands over the last 40 or 50 decades, many animals hunted to extinction, such as elephants and rhino now whales are being washed up after they choke to death on plastic bags dumped by lazy or stupid people the same fate goes for dolphins and other large sea life.
Certainly our throw away style and the amount of cars on the roads, has gone a long way to disturbing the changing pattern of the weather and it that has become the most unpredictable part of our lives.
As far as I’m concerned the sun has become infinitely hotter, with temperatures around the Mediterranean that have been blistering hot, downpours in countries that have hacked their forest to pieces.
I will almost certainly not be around when the time comes when people will greet each other on the streets dressed like astronauts, or have to cower in the shade, so in the meantime I’m off to my terrace with a large gin and tonic and a huge amount of ice, sit in under a parasol and think about all my scientific colleagues around the world who are striving to come up with a solution to make the Earth more bearable in the summer.