Home > Uncategorized > slouching towards a beach near you…

slouching towards a beach near you…

received_10208370813293334January 10th: Felt fantastic to be back at work in the great outdoors on this sunny, mild morning, helping my fellow volunteers at the local community apiary in Pevensey. Doing constructive stuff like pruning apple trees and building brushwood fences, whilst watching the local wildlife get on with their winter tasks, is deeply satisfying, and a welcome break from the tumultuous world of political strife and climate chaos that is so evident these days. Also, the sight of the green shoots of new growth already visible all over the apiary site is a very encouraging harbinger of Spring, which in England is always an exhilarating sight, especially when the fruit trees burst out in blossom.

Meanwhile, the Big Melt is on as the first week of 2017 has seen Arctic sea ice continue to set records for this time of year for extent and volume, and global sea ice cover is still at a jaw-dropping record low. I always used to wonder what it must be like to see climate change starting to occur so fats that every day sees a new development, a fresh worsening of the situation. No I wonder no more, as I, and all of us, ate living through a historically unprecedented time when climate change news comes in thick and fast, chronicling a  global system shift to a new and perhaps ultimately unlivable climate state.

Yet, despite the Big Melt, the facts and implications of climate change continue to get even more frozen out from the political establishment, especially in the USA. The philosophy of “drill, baby, drill” looks set to be the new order of the day. Even in the UK, the government’s drive to encourage fracking is gaining momentum as new drilling sites are opened up across the country. Our economic growth over the last century has been based on the enormous energy that could be extracted from fossil fuels, and ditching that level of economic growth is just so hard to do, it seems, for our politicians and leaders to do. Even locally, I read today about some of Eastbourne’s political and business leaders exultant about the grand new capital projects starting up around the town to boost local economic growth, despite the town being already prosperous and already at near full employment, and despite the lack of infrastructure, land and housing to cope with the influx of new businesses and people moving into the area. Many of the green fields surrounding my village, which is near Eastbourne, are being ploughed up to make way for the new homes being built especially to satisfy Eastbourne’s insatiable urge for economic growth. But when is growth ever enough?

Yet ironically all this new investment and growth is in dire peril of being undermined by the existential risks Eastbourne – a coastal town – faces from rapid sea level rise  over the next few decades. It is truly astonishing to see a ‘business as usual’ mindset operate almost robotically across mainstream political and economic life despite all the siren voices warning of the risks of climate catastrophe unless we start right now in putting environmental concerns above economic ambitions, and in putting long-term survival and sustainability above short-term economic gains.

the hollow men on their treadmills,

spin their grand schemes of growth,

while from the polar north the rough beast of rising seas

slouches towards a beach near you…

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