Monday 1 September 2008

The rain and the fever

So here's another perspective on this rainy miserable Irish summer: enjoy it while you can. Because very soon it might just be shorts all year round, and waves and waves of climate refugees fleeing their burning lands. According to Gaia theorist, and legendary climate scientist James Lovelock, Ireland, Britain and Scandinavia will be some of the few places left on the planet that will be habitable, when the fever starts.

How do you think the Irish economy would respond to that one? Do you think we'd let waves of refugees from Spain, Germany, France in, let alone Africans? Do you think it'll all turn into a huge money-fest, with property values REALLY soaring, as Ireland turns out to be actually one of the few habitable places left on the planet? Or will humanity step in and turn the mansions of Ailesbury road, Dalkey and the green fields of the west into refugee camps for fleeing Europeans? On what criteria would we allow them to enter: their professions? Or a demonstrated intuitive sense of understanding of nature, of the earth? How do we measure these things? I think we will all have to learn on the hoof as this episode of human history unfolds.

If you've ever seen James Lovelock being interviewed, you will know that he is a very mild mannered, practical and pleasant Englishman, and the original environmental scientist. His Gaia theory was treated with severe scepticism when he started talking about it back in the sixties (he's a feisty 88 now), and he's been warning about climate change for forty years or more:

"There have been seven disasters since humans came on the earth, very similar to the one that's just about to happen. I think these events keep separating the wheat from the chaff. And eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. That's the source of my optimism."

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