I’m going to talk about climate change. I guess if you’re one of those who thinks climate change is a phony stunt put on by scientists for a reason nobody can quite explain, then this post isn’t for you.
I’ve been worried about the weather.
This year is the same as last year. We had a very early warm Spring. The bulbs were up and out ridiculously early – almost a month and a half ahead of time – and apparently birds were about that much ahead of time in their nesting behaviour.
It’s not just here in New Zealand that this strange stuff was going on. Over in England, on the other side of the world from us, frogs have been spawning months ahead of time, and garden plants are budding, tricked by the unseasonal weather into thinking Spring is here.
But it isn’t. Over there it’s autumn right now.
What happened next after our incredibly warm early Spring, in which we were wearing t-shirts and shorts and everything began blooming, was even stranger. The weather turned bad abruptly. For the last two months we’ve been back in very cold weather again, with fierce storms, virtually non-stop rain, and hail storms on more days than I care to count (every day this week except Tuesday, and most days last week).
The storms have blown the blossom off the trees, and the young leaves are struggling to gain a hold. We’ve lost trees, and power lines have gone down all around.
Farmers are at their wits end, wondering when to cut hay for the winter – with so much rain practically every day, the grass is too wet, and if it is cut and bailed up it will rot. So it continues to grow.
Things may be very difficult next winter if the grass isn’t dry enough to cut. The animals rely on it to get through winter when nothing grows. If there isn’t enough food in storage, they’ll starve or have to be culled.
Seeing the visible effects of climate uncertainty
As someone who lives on a farm, and as a Pagan, I feel very connected to all this.
When I see the daffodil bulbs coming up before midwinter, I don’t have to guess that something is wrong: I can see it is.
I live in Dunedin, in the south island of New Zealand, where it is cold. Some people here laugh and say if it is going to get warmer, well, bring it on!
But what is happening is chaotic; unpredictable. We get ridiculously warm early Springs and late Autumns that convince the animals and plants it’s time to breed and grow. Then things turn back to ice and hail, and everything dies in the frost.
This isn’t healthy warmth. This is a challenge that nature is not equipped to deal with, brought on by us.
I know I can’t do anything significant about all of this, and you might say if one person can’t make a difference what’s the point of worrying? But what I can do is talk about the changes I’m seeing, and express the genuine fear I’m feeling inside.
This isn’t something that we should be debating and laughing about. This is something real, and we need to make widespread changes to the way we all live in order to deal with it. Changing a light globe or two won’t cut it. I’m convinced that downsizing and simplifying our lives, and moving altogether away from consumer culture is the only way forward.
To what? Something better, I think. Because – let’s face it – consumer culture, working 50 hours a week, being in lifelong debt, buying cheap plastic crap made by people in slave conditions and envying the Joneses aren’t all great cultural wonders I particularly want to keep for eternity anyway. Do you?
Thanks for reading and, if you can, spare a thought for those poor little English frogs. I think they’ll be in for a rough time when the weather turns.