Home > Uncategorized > New Year’s Day mutterings on the gathering storms…

New Year’s Day mutterings on the gathering storms…


On this New Year’s Day, I contemplate with bemusement the fact that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States in 20 days time. So cometh a climate denier who has appointed a cabinet full of climate deniers, all committed to the unrestricted exploitation of fossil fuel reserves despite the fact that the world needs to get off fossil fuels as quickly as possible in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

All this against a backdrop of climate change impacts worsening by the month, highlighted by the record low sea ice extent in the Arctic at this very moment (as I explored today by reading Paul Beckwith’s latest blog post on the subject). The Arctic death spiral accelerated significantly in 2016 and is continuing into 2017, making the prospect of an ice-free Arctic in summer within the next few years a very real possibility, with massive consequences for the stability of climate systems across the world whilst certainly accelerating the overall rate of global warming .

If I were a novelist, I couldn’t have made this scenario up: a climate denier becoming the most powerful man on Earth at the very moment that the world’s climate system has passed so many tipping points and is hurtling towards a rate of climate change impossible for humanity to control, or adapt to fast enough. So instead of writing a novel, I’ll just record, in diary-like fashion, each day of this wild ride that we’re all embarking on. Just being an unflinching witness and archivist to this awesome, momentous change in human affairs is a challenge in itself as indeed  – as W.B.Yeats would say – a “terrible beauty is born”.

Meanwhile, life goes on, and one ironic side-effect of my growing interest in climate change and its impacts is a renewed interest in nature and all its works, as well as a greater desire to immerse myself emotionally and spiritually within it and to express my feelings about it. So I shall endeavour to post one photo a day, taken on that day, of my interaction with nature and to write something creative about it. Today’s photo is of a scene along one of the lanes in my home village that I often walk along, looking across the hedge to the Pevensey Levels beyond.

Walking under dull, dour skies on this New Year’s Day,

I contemplate the destiny of the coming year, the world, and myself.

No clarity, no comfort comes, but I walk on anyway,

Lulled  and soothed by my rhythmic strides into the sodden dusk

Drizzling with thoughts of the comforts of home and hearth,

And shelter from the gathering storms…


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