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.
In the last post, when considering flying, I raised the issue of technological solutions which would enable us to continue and the same level of air travel or even expand this industry. We could continue to develop technologies which would reduce the carbon emissions from flying itself (like other industries there would still be related emissions e.g. in manufacturing planes).
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.
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.
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.
Over the past month or so, I have been one of the citizens of the UK in lockdown. That has certainly had an impact on our lives but I have been leaving the house regularly, both for work and for exercise. I think some of the enforced changes have given life a different rhythm, but perhaps they have also created a space in which I can think about normal rhythms of life.
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.
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.
Since the Australian fires of some weeks ago, I have felt that there is much to be considered in what has been happening. At the same time there has been a part of me that doesn’t want to write anything about them. I have wondered why it is that I have felt able to write about UK floods and yet it has been more difficult to find something to say about the bush fires in Australia.