24 February 2016
At the weekend Cyclone Winston hit Fiji, a few weeks earlier an earthquake struck Taiwan, over the past few months storms and hurricanes have battered many parts of the world, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, destruction that we see in pictures sometimes as the disaster is unfolding. A few days later the news has moved on, whilst for the people effected the long process of clearing and rebuilding begins.
This winter has been an interesting one weather wise. We had a cool, wet summer here in 2015, I had high hopes for a proper cold winter, but it has been wet with temperatures well above the norm for the time of year, on some days not that much cooler than during the summer. I know from the blogs I read that winter weather has been unusual in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Whatever you view on climate change it would be difficult to argue against the view that temperatures are rising and weather is changing. Changes that are highly likely to continue into the future and with it the likelihood of more damage and destruction.
Back in December last year my part of England was severely effected by flooding. It wrecked havoc on homes, businesses and roads, the process of rebuilding and repairing is slowly ongoing. The waste alone creates a hefty bill, for some this was the second or even third flooding in ten years, each time rebuilding their house back as it was before. Is that the answer? Flood defences can work for communities but the water still needs to go somewhere, we do seem to insist on building on flood plains, they can also create problems further downstream. Would it be cheaper to buy the house off the occupier to allow them to move elsewhere away from flood risk areas or should we be looking at how they build houses, in those parts of the world where flooding is regular occurrence, on stilts. Now I am not for one minute suggesting that we should put existing houses up on stilts but maybe the ground floor should cease to be a living space and the houses are extended upwards. Perhaps, if we are going to continue to build on flood plains, stilt houses would be a much more sensible idea.
I mentioned climate change earlier, a topic that always arouses debate. Whatever side of the fence you sit on I think it is very easy for us to ignore its effects if they don't affect you personally. When we see pictures of homes and lives destroyed of course they arouse compassion and we may contribute to collections made by charities for those effected. But it is all to easy for us to forget about it once those pictures have gone from our news feeds. I don't have the answers but what I do hope is that any debates are open and honest.