15 October 2009

Blog Action Day: Climate Change

On 24th June 2007, my first wedding anniversary, we were driving up from the West Midlands, having visited friends down there the night before. Our plan for the day was to stop off at Rother Valley Park on the way back up to Leeds and have a romantic stroll. But the driving rain scuppered that plan, so we went to Meadowhall, a huge shopping mall outside Sheffield. We window shopped, had some lunch in the food court, then headed home.

The next day, we watched footage on the local news of Meadowhall. The food court we had lunched in was underwater. We had driven through the start of the most severe flooding I could remember. The summer of 2007. It was the summer I realised that climate change was not a concept, and it wasn't happening gradually. It was, quite literally, storming in.

That summer, schools were closed, public transport was severely disrupted, and people were driven out of their homes. A whole area of the West Country couldn't drink tap water because the flooding had contaminated the water supply. This is in a developed country, with a relatively stable climate. If we can't cope with climate change, how are developing countries in more volatile parts of the planet meant to cope?

Some people say that humans aren't causing climate change. Others are saying it's too late to stop it now. But I believe it's better to try even against the odds, and if there's even the slightest chance that this is a man-made problem, we need to find a man-made solution. What do we have to lose by trying?

Coincidentally, I received an e-mail from Generous today. It didn't mention Blog Action Day or that the theme for the day is Climate Change. But it did talk about the simplest action we can do to help combat climate change - avoid using central heating. As I write this, I am guiltily aware of the warm radiator next to me. It's too late to try to push back the date we switch our heating on, but I am going to make a real effort this year to avoid putting it on. It's a little thing, but hey, what have I got to lose? Suggestions on how to beat the freeze will be gladly received!!

P.S. I didn't actually register for Blog Action Day because I was a bit worried about the security of the website, but I'm joining in the spirit nonetheless!

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