Sunday, July 05, 2015

The One Nest

After noting just a few days ago: "Unprecedented June heat scorched portions of four continents during the past week, and many all-time heat records are likely to fall across multiple continents this July as the peak heat of summer arrives for what has been the hottest year in recorded human history. Already on July 1, in Wimbledon, England--site of the classic Wimbledon tennis tournament--players are enduring the city's hottest day in tournament history," and noting that the month's heat wave in India killed upwards of 2500 while 1750 died just in Pakistan's largest city, Dr. Jeff Masters continued Friday:

Brutally hot conditions fried portions of three continents during the first three days of July, and four nations have already set all-time July national heat records this month: the Netherlands, the U.K., Thailand, and Colombia...Belgium's all-time hottest temperature was beaten on Thursday, as well as during the 2003 and 2006 heat waves. And in Paris, which measured its 2nd hottest temperature in its history on July 1 (39.7°C)... London's Heathrow Airport hit 98.1°F (36.7°C) on July 1, setting an all-time July heat record for the UK.

Speaking of heat waves in England and London's Heathrow Airport, Stewart Lee has an acerbic column in the Guardian about the heat, the business efforts to push forth a third Heathrow runway to add yet more carbon pollution, hastening eventual extinction.  It's a humorous column (possibly) since it suggests that the game is up and we ought to go straight to extinction as soon as possible, but the details he selects about conditions in England are telling.

First about the current heat wave: "In Norfolk on Thursday, the tarmac melted, and ducklings became trapped in sticky blackness. When a lioness whelped in an ancient Roman street, Caesar thought something was up. Here, solid matter transmuted to hot liquid and swallowed baby birds whole. How surreal do the signs and warnings have to become before we stop in our tracks? Are whales required to fall from the sky? Does Tim Henman have to give birth to a two-headed cat on Centre Court?"

As species disappear, on the diminishment already:

And in 50 years, will there be anyone left to remember what it was like before a sterile and toxic environment gradually became the norm? Can it only be four decades ago that every summer holiday trek along A-roads to South Devon caravan sites left our Morris Marina windscreen smeared thick with now-disappeared invertebrates, that sparrows swarmed around morning milk bottles, that sticklebacks and minnows spawned in every park pond, that hedgehogs gathered at night in suburban gardens and lay flattened in their thousands on roads every morning, and that an actual hare ran out of the encroached common land of Palmers Rough, on the fringes of Birmingham, to be chased by my grandfather along Arnold Road in that same Morris Marina, a sight that would seem as surreal today as escaped hippos wandering the streets of some collapsed eastern European capital?

"The absence of abundance is already accepted. The metaphors of the nature poets, mapping human hearts through once commonly understood imagery, are irrelevant and impenetrable. “The sun of Winter, / The moon of Summer, and all the singing birds / Except the missel-thrush that loves juniper, / Are quite shut out.” I’m sorry. The missel-what? Can the juniper be monetised? Is this missel-thing for sale? Our children already have no stable baseline from which to calibrate the loss of all that lives. It’s game over."

(Accompanying photo of a mistle-thrush was taken in Morocco.)