There’s a house I drive past up the road from us that has a little high-end ‘home industry’ thing going on, bringing fabulous kids clothes from overseas to sell to all the yummy mummies of the northern suburbs. To show people where they are, there’s one of those little movable kids blackboards, which pronounces things like “WINTER’S HERE” – while we’re still in summer. And every time I see it, it gets me to thinking about how our lives are so determined by the changing of the seasons. (Especially being a gardener – we’re always planning ahead! At least these days though I’m not having to confuse everything by writing for a gardening magazine, which works three months ahead, so we’d be shooting and writing things this year for next year… That would confuse anybody, regardless of whether they’re blonde!) And as I sit here sweating like crazy, after a few days of torrential downpours – when we’re supposed to be going into autumn – I start wondering if something IS seriously awry.
We have been having strange weather here in Jozi – something completely different, as those who’ve been watching what the rain does for the last twenty years or so – which obviously includes passionate gardeners.
Of course, it’s all been laid at the door of global warming – and there is no doubt that the phenomenon has a lot to answer for. But having just finished rereading Michael Crichton’s ‘State of Fear’ again (which is about a self-important NGO hyping the science of the global warming to further the ends of evil eco-terrorists, for those who haven’t read it yet; a book that comes to the inevitable conclusion of the book is that global warming is a non-problem. Very interesting premise from a great writer) one wonders if this wouldn’t be happening despite the best efforts of man. Over the past couple of years, we’ve had a few extreme rainfall events in February, and now again in March – not typical of the weather patterns of the last decade. (If you’d like to see an interesting discussion of various sides of the story, have a look at Real Climate’s scientists’ take on http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/michael-crichtons-state-of-confusion/ – makes interesting scientific reading!)
Sadly, many people’s homes and belongings have been damaged by the floodwaters, but it’s certainly something that I’m sure most gardeners are glad of, especially up here on the Highveld where we’re about to descend into another hard, dry, cold winter. But we should of course spare a thought for the people in the rest of the country (and indeed the continent) who are living with having people draining their swimming pools in the dead of night to be able to sustain their family/ies… So, the glut of rainy weather doesn’t mean we should continue with wasteful water ways, but in fact take the time to research our gardens and open spaces, to take a long hard look at them and work out how best to create a caring Waterwise environment.
I reckon Henry David Thoreau had it right when he said: Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. So, perhaps time for us all to do something – even if it is just by looking outside, being thankful for what we have, and remembering that every day is Earth Day…