Apologies if I have not replied to your recent comment – I have been in hibernation on a sofa in Ireland with the new Harry Potter book. But now we’re back in business!
In Ireland it has rained 55 days in a row. I know this because I have been there for the last 14 of them, and friends confirm that the previous 31 have, in fact, been just as miserable – not a single 24-hour period without rain. There was, in short, no summer.
The cause of all this is of course the permanent raining curse placed on the British Isles by angry wizards who did not get a mention in the new Harry Potter book. And severe flooding has duly followed.
Most politicians like to blame all of this on global warming as soon as they get a microphone in front of them. But the truth is that flooding has more to do with decades of bad structural planning and basic ineptitude.
A case in point is when a stream burst its banks in July 17 in Dublin and caused bad localised flooding; local council workers immediately put the blame on global warming. However it turned out that the same council workers had been given (and accepted) a wad of money 5 years earlier to improve flood protection on the stream but had forgotten to do the actual work.
And then we have the fact that people have built their houses on flood plains. This is an extravagantly bad idea, as flood plains tend to flood quite regularly. In fact they are part of our natural flood defences, a place where excess surface water can rest before it is absorbed by the earth. And by building houses and roads on these natural sponges, we vastly reduce their area and their ability to absorb water, making every flood far worse than it would otherwise be.
Ireland is in particularly trouble here as years of economic growth has led to thousands of ugly show-off houses sprouting up on every spare bit of land, and flood plains are no exception.
To millions of uninsured across the globe, flooding is not news. Unfortunately these people don’t buy the Times or own flowery sofas so fuck ‘em. The only thing that will get some fire under the arse of governments worldwide, who look around and shrug whenever the topic of climate and responsibility come up, is a few middle and upper class homes getting a bit of a moistening. That and insurance companies holding a gun to their heads.
Expect more stories from my Irish sabbatical over the next few weeks. It’s good to be back.