Saturday, 6 February 2010

Ten Years Hence...

Our esteemed editor has asked me to contribute a few thoughts on the way the environment might change in the next ten years.

I suppose the first thought that enters my head is that, in many ways, where we are now is better than any time in the last 150 years, at least in industrialised countries. Rivers are cleaner and the air is purer. This has perhaps given a false sense of confidence.

The "problem" with global warming is that it is not a readily perceived threat. An approaching asteroid, for example, could be shown on tv and everybody would understand. Climate change however is more nebulous, especially after the winter Europe is experiencing. It needs to be taken on trust, and when that trust is apparently abused to raise taxes or commodity prices, people become cynical. It will indeed be very interesting to see what happens in this area in the next 10 years.

So, should I make a prediction for the next Big Thing over this decade? Frankly, only a fool would attempt to see that far into the future, so here goes. We've cleaned up the environment around us, we're starting to address changes in the atmosphere, but one area is nicely out of sight - the ocean. This has already been touched on by sann2282. For centuries everything we pour into our sewers or rivers has ended up here, not to mention the dumping of solid waste. As pressure on landfill sites increases, the later is likely to increase. Cleaning rivers is easy, you just stop adding junk, and what's there flows away, but rubbish in the ocean has nowhere to go. Of course it is very, very, big, and degradation does takes place. But so does concentration, as has been seen in the Sargasso sea and the Pacific Trash Vortex. Eventually we will have to address this.

1 comment:

Sarah Stephen said...

Climate change, unlike an approaching asteroid, is not that perceptible unless one looks around for the evidence.

I’ve enjoyed the air and water quality maintained in developed nations due to their strict regulations, although I must admit that I often wailed about London being polluted. But developing nations are becoming industrialised at the expense of the environment and regulations are, more or less, nonexistent.


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