Our hot planet

In this European heatwave, it is probably not advisable to be reading up on how 30 years ago we were all warned about global warming, but sometimes these long reads land on my smartphone and suddenly I am engrossed on my settee, eating ice cream and peering at the tiny screen. This may be of interest to you as well. It is not a happy read but an informative one. The prescience is alarming.

www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/01/magazine/climate-change-losing-earth.html

Here in the dairy industry we are front and centre and staring global warming in the face, as it were. Talk to any African, Australian or New Zealander and they will tell you first-hard about how to survive a drought and what it’s done to their dairy industry. Farmers in the UK and Europe have been dealing with the lack of silage and the future of having to buy in winter feed from elsewhere, and doing this all while facing Brexit and uncertainty. Farmers in other countries have given up agriculture and have moved to cities, adding strain to already precarious landscapes such as Mauritania. The flooding of low-lying land is common to not just Bangladesh, but Florida and New York.

Indeed, it seems what we should be doing as a planet is working closely together to mitigate the effects of our actions on the earth. Rather than monkeying around with what idiocy the current occupant of the White House has come up with this week, or the endless local machinations of national politics, or anything else that is immediate, but not critical. It strikes me as fiddling while Rome, or rather, the Earth, burns.

My child opined recently that the oceans couldn’t dry up, as the Earth mostly covered in water. But apparently our planetary neighbour Venus used to be the same, and over time the planet heated up and eventually the oceans boiled away. So perhaps maybe not in our lifetimes, or even in his, but what a legacy. In the meantime, this little blue marble that we call home gets hotter. The question is, what are we going to do about it? I don’t want to live on Venus.

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