A summer lost.
I guess for many of my readers it is unusual to hear about summer in January, but for us down here at the bottom of the Pacific, January and February are usually our hottest summer months and the ideal time for enjoying the great outdoors naturally.
Having spent a few years as a child in London during the early 1970s, I am well aware of the type of weather and the number of daylight hours that are typical during January in the northern hemisphere.
We do get winter weather and darkness here, but our shortest day is in June. While the seasons are 6 months out of sync with my northern friends, the difference is most noticeable at Christmas. For some reason, most of our Christmas decorations, marketing, wrapping papers, everything is made from a northern perspective, with snow and winter themes. For many here, the traditional Christmas meal is a roast turkey or some other meat, with all the trimmings. Very typical of a mid-winter feast rather than a warm summer meal where the outside temperature is usually 28 - 32 degrees (85 - 90F) and it doesn’t get dark until 9.30 or 10.00 pm.
Smoked salmon or BBQ and a salad would seem a more season-appropriate fare than a mid-winter banquet.
Anyway, my ranting about the seasonal disconnect of Christmas is off-topic and has little to do with our effective loss of summer this year.
January 2023 was the wettest on record here in NZ. Over half our annual rainfall in less than a month. Severe flooding in our biggest city, Auckland, killed four people and caused a few hundred million dollars worth of damage to property and infrastructure, although the final cost may well be higher than that.
While we are a couple of hours’ drive away from the worst of the flooding, the Bay of Plenty region where we live has had significant rainfall. One house was destroyed by a cascade of mud and debris from the collapse of the hillside behind it, with four neighbouring houses deemed unsafe and listed as uninhabitable. There have been significant slips and washouts that have impacted roading in the region, and while these might not be unheard of in winter months, the sheer number and scale of these events are unusual, especially in January. I feel that this year, we have missed out on most of our summer and as a naturist, robbed of opportunities to engage in naturist activities outside the home.
While it hasn’t been cold, the consistently wet weather has prevented us from getting out and about in the evenings. Typically in the summer months Emma and I might meet up with friends for a meal, do a nice long walk or go for a skinny dip at one of our many beaches.
Much of the media's commentary regarding the wet weather has been around the issue of climate change and that we are now living with its effects.
Now I understand that there will be readers who refute that climate change is real, and if it is, then it is part of a natural cycle of weather that has been happening for millennia and has nothing to do with human activities affecting the atmosphere.
There will also be readers who sit in the camp of “We told you so” and are lamenting the lack of progress that world leaders and more specifically industry have made in reducing our impact on the environment.
I am no expert on these matters, and I admit that I do not know enough about the science or the historical levels of harmful gasses in our atmosphere to have an informed opinion.
I don’t know if climate change is real or not, but the water I had to sweep out of my garage was very real.
Accepting that there are a multitude of opinions and theories about what is happening to the climate around the world, and if human activity is to blame or not, what I do believe is that our heavily consumer-driven, throw-away society that churns out millions if not billions of tons of chemicals, pollution and plastic waste every year surely can’t be good for the environment as a whole.
Unfortunately, we are conditioned not to notice much of the plastic waste forced upon us. In our local supermarket, some fruit and vegetables are cheaper wrapped in plastic than they are loose and natural and many of the less environmentally damaging products have a higher price. If we can afford to, we can choose to pay more for environmentally responsible products and less plastic packaging, but for many people, the cheapest and more environmentally damaging choice is often the only one they have.
The amount of water we waste in industrial processes, the amount of non-biodegradable waste our population discards into landfills and waterways, and the deforestation of the planet to grow corn syrup and palm oil so we can continue to buy fast food, cosmetics and cleaning products is astounding and surely must be unsustainable. Add to that all the unnecessary plastic packaging that is used and the environmental costs of the clothing industry both in production and waste at the end of the season, and it doesn’t matter if we are causing climate change or not, we are poisoning the world in which we live.
While overall the task of reducing waste seems insurmountable, as individuals we can all take small steps to reduce our impact on the planet. Where we can, we should choose environmentally friendly options. The naturist philosophy is about encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment, so naturists should be doing everything we can to set an example. We have already done our bit by reducing the impact of the clothing industry and reducing the volume of chemicals used in washing clothes, let's not stop there.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (Laozi)
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.
Not unusual and I hope you all can attend the summer festival this year! https://twitter.com/Enatfestival/status/1630316431697903616
Well said. Climate Change is upon us and and hopefully Big Tech can help us in the right direction as well. i.e Wind power; Hydro power, Solar power, Desalinization etc together with maintaining forest growth amongst many other items.