Well, I was hoping for a white Christmas but here in Gloucester, it was more of a very wet Christmas! One of the more common features of the last month or so has been the rain, rain, rain…!
A slightly worrying by-product of the rain is the very high river water levels, particularly the River Severn which runs to the west of the built up area of Gloucester. I walked over to The Quay which runs alongside the river to check out the rather wet landscape which has developed over the last few weeks.
Before the wet wet weather.
After the wetness set in.
The floodplain is defo doing its job!
An image from the Guardian website on the latest impacts from the deepwater Horizon oil spill.
I was having a chat with someone the other day and an interesting idea came up. When we get past the obvious impacts of this disaster and also past the effects of the Iceland volcanic eruptions, will there actually be a positive longer-term impact on people’s awareness of the impact that humans are having on the planet (and the life it supports)?
This can also be compared with the massive flooding which various parts of the UK experienced in July 2007. These events badly affected Gloucester (where I live) and had a massive effect on the residents. It has changed the way we deal with developments at work and is now a big consideration in the development of the whole city. It directly affected thousands of people here, given the water supplies were shut off for 2 weeks.
If the elctricity had gone, the fall-back plan was mass evacuations. Including that event, the Gloucester area has experienced THREE 1-in-100 year flood events (i.e events which would be predicted to only occur every 100 years), in the last 40 years!
People (in general) only seem to care about something when it’s in front of them, not thousands of miles away. Also, if events are not occurring on a human timescale (measured in years, not decades or generations), then there is another problem. Then there is the issue of not being able to see (on a regular basis) the impacts which are lives are having on the planet. I feel this is part of the reason why the whole issue of climate change is so low on people’s agendas.
So, the oil spill is already changing American policy and attitudes, while the eruption is challenging people’s attitudes to transport and movement.