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Climate Change : No Guarantee

Image Credit : Eliasson Family

Walking out to buy a few household essentials from the corner shop, I ran into somebody I’ve known since my childhood, practically, returning from the drycleaners with two trailing kids in tow.

“Happy Spring !” I said, and smiled, and pointed out the lovely blossom on the urban street tree. Eldest child grumbled about hayfever. Parent mentioned April Showers.

“It’s been the wettest drought, ever !”, proclaimed eldest child, who I noticed was wearing a Team GB tracksuit and therefore probably up to speed with current events. “It has been rather damp”, I admitted, “and yet the drought’s not over yet. If you look at the Met Office records, you can see we’re still not up to normal levels of rainfall. And it was like this last year.” “And the year before that”, added parent, “although I expect for this month it might show we’ve had quite a lot more than normal.” (Select “Rainfall”)

I asked the children if they had checked the level of the (mighty) River Ching, (Wikipedia says intriguingly that “It is damned twice”) and we compared notes about the places where we see it regularly and how high it is at the moment, and how low it’s been over the last few seasons.

“We had to go in and get a lost ball”, said youngest child, “and it was only this deep” (dynamically indicating a bare finger-height off the pavement).

We discuss the idea of getting a stick piece of 2″ by 4″ wood and marking it off along its length in inches and then tamping it into the river bed and doing regular measurements of water level for a prospective school project.

I mention the Flood Map of the Environment Agency to point out that the condition of the River Ching (of the Ford) is a fairly accurate indicator of water levels.

Whilst the two children rescue their plastic toy from a neighbour’s front garden and I assiduously avoid noticing it, I explain that I had taken a very interesting college class where we were asked to use computer software to model a flood in Central London. Parent put on concerned face, and admitted that company’s disaster recovery facilities could be affected by Thames flooding – quite ironic, really.

I said, if global warming keeps worsening, Venice will be no more, and that the first place in London to be lost to rising sea level would be South London – admittedly quite a long way into the future.

We parted on a cheery note with the eldest child play-narrating a ride on the back of a shark. He imagined that tossing a 10p coin at the big fish’s dorsal fin would pay his way.

Then I was off to the Post Office to buy stamps before they become hideously more expensive. The very friendly counter staff and I shared notes on how expensive April has been in terms of bills, and I mentioned my good fortune in a couple of areas that allowed me the cash to save 40% on postage stamps by stocking up in advance of the price rise.

I explained that I’m only paying pennies a day now for water as I went over to a meter offered free by Thames Water. Another customer and the staff in the Post Office took this as a useful suggestion to follow up. And then the questions. “You don’t wash your car, then ? How big’s your garden ?”. “I don’t have a car, and I hand-water my plants – even when there’s no hosepipe ban. Showers instead of baths. That sort of thing. You just have to be careful.”

One of the other areas where I managed to save spending money this month has been in the area of home insurance. Whilst reviewing the policy offerings of several companies, I noticed this change to the policies of Co-operative Insurance Services (CIS) :-

“What IS NOT insured…Loss or damage arising from any gradually operating cause.”

“…Loss or damage…caused by a gradual rise in the groundwater level…”

“…depreciation, wear and tear, atmospheric, climatic or weather conditions, or any gradually operating cause…”

Uh oh. Whilst the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, and sometimes even the Daily Telegraph, keep insisting there’s no guarantee that Climate Change is actually very serious, it appears the insurance industry have decided that they can offer no guarantee against Climate Change.

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