The BBC has canned Planet Relief day, over fears of appearing biased. That never stopped them protecting Margaret Thatcher when she was put on the spot on live TV about sinking the Belgrano. The real problem for the BBC is that Live Earth was a flop. The BBC wisely realise that preaching to the converted is fine, but telling kids that apathy towards global warming NOW means they won’t be able to enjoy things their parents’ are taking for granted. That’s a BIG BBC SWITCH OFF. Unlimited car ownership, long commutes, holidays where and when you please, these are all going to be TAKEN AWAY by governments because people COULDN’T CARE LESS NOW. Sorry kids, but remember, nobody ever wanted to hear this shit, especially the BBC.
The June 25th 2007 floods in these YouTube videos are the kind of floods that would be unusual in Mediterranean cities like Alicante which have flash flood relief systems in place.
When I visit friends in Alicante and go shopping, they always say if it rains very hard, don’t go to the harbour because that’s where all the water heads in a gigantic flood relief sewer. The risk is you’d get swept out to sea with all the water. The thing is, in Alicante, this hasn’t happened for years. In these videos, Sheffield people are referring to it getting bad last week as well as yesterday.
In the UK, we’ve had two 150 year rain storms in two weeks. The statistics are being revised. The averages will change, and weather forecasters will be able to say this is average. Britain’s cities are not designed for a month’s rain in one day, twice a week. The Great Sheffield Flood of 1864 was caused by a defective dam, so it’s fair to say these floods of the past few weeks are without precedent. Imagine if these floods happened in London. Why didn’t the PM declare a state of emergency last night and bring the troops into Sheffield to help? While all this was going on, Tim Henman was in a five set match at Wimbledon. Surely Tony wasn’t engrossed in that and neglecting his duties.
I just read this gem from Infinisha. I thought it was a great blog, and the video is fantastic. But what is it saying? Is it saying that the globe isn’t really warming, or that it is warming but we shouldn’t worry? I don’t know. What I do know in my tiny bit of Europe, is that Britain’s temperate climate went nuts in the late nineties.
Winter 97 was mild, and winters have been mild since. All the ski groups that were running in the Pennines around Glossop have long since folded. One I knew had clubbed together to buy a tiny portable ski lift. It’s not been used for many years, and no one can remember where it is or what it is. The Pennine towns, Glossop, Buxton, and Hayfield used to have volunteer rescue services that pulled people from snowed in cars every year. No one can remember that any more.
How climate change affected peoples’ perception came home to me in 2000 when some South Africans I knew said they planned to drive from Slough to Edinburgh Scotland one Christmas.
“Are you sure?” I said. “Scotland snows up every Christmas, and it’s very dangerous. People die. Take a shovel, warm clothes.”
They looked at me as though I was nuts. They’d been in Britain since 96, and had no idea about a British winter before 96.
The Scottish Christmas white out used to be a regular story played up out of all proportion in the media. People from the south, unused to Scottish winters, would go to Scotland for a white Christmas and they’d get more than they bargained for. Often people died in snowdrifts in scores. Not any more. Those stories are ancient history. If we did return to those winters, we’d have a huge snarl up because no one can remember what it was like.
But the South Africans assumed Britain was mild. Of course, they were right. Britain is now, seven years on, irreversably mild, and it’s no wonder. I live next to a minor road that runs through a housing estate. It’s the third choice of road for drivers trying to get through town when the A350 is too slow. Year on year, I notice traffic increasing on this road. I can see it, hear it , and smell the rise in traffic, and it’s directly proportional to the year-on-year rise in temperatures. It doesn’t take a scientist to work out. That’s what’s happening.
So I’m saying don’t just watch your TV, feel it for yourself. You can do it. Go out there. Don’t let the so-called experts say what is or what isn’t happening. You can actually see it happening for yourself. But, hey! What do I know?
Today I published the Friction Fiction Podcast Show 38 I recorded on Friday at Libsyn. Here it is on iandsmith.com for downloading or just plain listening. This week I play music from Slumberlords, Ditto, Stanton Delaplane, a great new song from Tommy Mac, and Ashwan. I read two poems from a booklet published by SCAN poets in Reading in 1994, Jit’s Greyhound, and Jit’s Whirlwind. They suited the themes of the music. I also read A34 Poems, from my collection What You Will See published by Gatto. It’s another angle on the environment.
The A34 bypass at Newbury was a nineties battleground that environmentalists lost. Years on, and the bypass hasn’t solved any problems. In fact it’s time to bypass the bypass. My poem is about the economic dependancy on the car that Thatcherism, with its mobilised labour markets (which I was part of), created. Ten years on, and economies depend on cars, ie we’ve built the economy round the car, and we might soon see the disadvantages of doing this in the way a team built around one star might suffer when that star becomes old, lazy and expensive to run.
Today, I went to Reading, so I haven’t done a thing other than publish this, and do a little promotion on Myspace, and delete loads of unwanted mail.
I’m having a big think about my second novel. I’m going to write a 1500 word synopsis instead of writing the novel. This is because motivation to take it on in the way I took on my first novel has gone. I thought of separating it back into its short story components, but I have many short stories published so what’s the point of adding some more? Try something different. So tomorrow, I’ll try to get that synopsis started and see if I can have the energy to complete it.