Nearly three months ago a report was issued that I have been wanting to write about ever since. I have been limited in my time and ability to work on blogs over this period and so it has had to wait longer than I would like. However, it has meant that I can not only write about the review of the economics of biodiversity written by Partha Dasgupta, a Cambridge economist, but also about two books published since then. About a month ago, Mark Carney published a book about future directions with the title Values.
I’ve not managed to write many pieces over the last few months, but that hasn’t stopped me thinking about various things I want to say! I have started working on pieces on three publications of the last few months. These are the report on the Economics of Biodiversity by Partha Dasgupta, Values by Mark Carney and Bill Gates’ How to Survive a Climate Disaster.
Over the last few months I have blogged on a number of occasions about ideas from Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and His Emissary. One of the main thoughts in this book is the benefit of having a clearer sense of the differing roles of the left and right hemispheres of the brain and seeing how they can work together and yet provide something different from each other. I am starting to write this on the 21st December and there are two aspects to that particular day which bring me back to this theme.
Three weeks ago I listened to an item on the radio which has stayed with me. It was on a news broadcast, the Today programme on Radio 4. One of the presenters interviewed a marine researcher, Michelle Forney, from the University of Cornell Centre for Conservation Acoustics. She talked about making underwater recordings of whales near Juno in the south-east part of Alaska.
In the last post I concentrated on the potential benefits of technology and questioned whether there can be sufficient benefits from this for reversing rises of temperature to make the required difference when it comes to climate change.
I ended the last post with the point that although a vapour trail may obscure the sun, it is obvious in the sky. Sometimes, just because a way forward appears clear, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right way. I don’t know if you have had an experience of trying to follow a path on the ground where what has been clear initially turns out to be frustratingly unclear. When that path is in a wood or through other vegetation, it can easily be obscured; or what turn out to be animal tracks merely masquerade as a human-made trail and lead nowhere in particular.
Through the middle of April most of the UK enjoyed very settled weather with a great deal of sunshine and pure, blue sky. This has probably been a mixed blessing as far as the lockdown has been concerned. On the one hand, we have had the opportunity to go out and exercise without needing to worry too much about the weather forecast. On the other, the temptation to make use of the weather by ignoring restrictions has been significant.
Over the last month or so, there has been a new feature of British national life, namely the daily Downing Street press briefing. I don’t always hear or see it, although it does often coincide with my return from work; nor do I always find it terribly enlightening, at least perhaps not in the ways it is intended to be. It has, however, fed into some of my thoughts about climate change. I would like to use this blog to explore some further ideas about tie-ups between the coronavirus and climate change.
I’ve already begun to write about topics which I am linking with climate change, although they have emerged from thinking about the coronavirus pandemic. When talking about the coronavirus, there has been much reporting of “defeating” the virus. I’m not sure that this always makes a lot of sense, but it illustrates how this crisis is broadly seen. An enemy has to be vanquished, however much that enemy is as good as invisible.
During the coverage of the coronavirus over the last few weeks, I have been very thoughtful about the virus’ ability to cross the globe. Admittedly, that is not down to any capacity that the virus itself has other than to use human beings as a host. It therefore owes more to how we as human beings choose to organise ourselves than to its own characteristics.