One of the signals of the impact of global warming is the decision of a Devon farmer to plant olive groves on his land.
There is a certain poignancy in all this. Palestinians especially love dearly their olive groves – taken care of in the same family for centuries upon centuries – a rural culture under threat from the occupation.
Mark Dacano, who runs Otter Farm at Honiton in Devon, England, about an hour or so drive from Totnes, says that food grown in the hot climate of the Mediterranean has a real chance to grow in Devon in the west country of England. As the winter frosts get lighter and lighter, he sees the potential for olive groves, almonds and apricots.
It’s a bold initiative and could be construed as a tiny benefit from global warming.
The floods this summer in parts of Britain, and elsewhere in Europe, certainly generated a lot of stress for families and animals hit by the rising tide of water in towns, villages and farmlands. But this stress has to be kept in perspective.
Millions of desperately poor families in north India and Bangladesh lost everything. Thousands of people drowned. Families spent days perilously perched on the roofs of their homes, morning, noon and night, waiting for the water to subside or a boat or helicopter to rescue them. That kind of stress is at another level altogether.
Global warming is making its impact on our lives with melting ice caps, floods, famines and hurricanes already affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
The sea ice of the Arctic has shrank to its lowest level with the meltdown increasing by 22% in the past two years – an area of 1.2 millions square kilometres, five times the size of the UK.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had estimated that by 2080 the Arctic might be wholly ice free in the summer. Looking at satellite photographs and computer models, scientists now say they were optimistic. They are currently revising their figures and ice free summers in the Artic could be with us 25 years from now, with all the global consequences. It will mean a dramatic increase in sea levels, doom for much wildlife in the Arctic, and even more flooding.
Meanwhile governments around the world take begrudgingly small steps. Buddhists talk about waking up.