Belfast Telegraph

Forest fires across the world have shown the horrifying impact of global warming... and all we are hearing is political hot air

Fleeing the flames: parts of California have been ravaged
Fleeing the flames: parts of California have been ravaged

By Lindy McDowell

Global warming has only itself to blame. Part of the reason I think, why some people have previously found it hard to take global warming seriously was, well, the lack of warming.

We all know - and accept -that the planet has been slowly but surely heating up over the last few decades.

And that this is indeed leading to climate change (sorry, Sammy Wilson) with unsettled, unsettling weather and extreme fallout including - generally where we are concerned, anyway - persistent precipitation.

In Northern Ireland, in recent years, global warming hasn't exactly manifested in heatwaves and soaring ice cream sales. Instead we've had summer after summer of showers and impenetrable, grey cloud cover.

So it's little wonder you would occasionally hear the odd mutinous muttering around here about: "Global warming? Bring it on."

But this year we've finally been getting a touch of the higher temperatures. Sunshine, even.

I got a text the other day from my son who lives in London. Capped up like a Trump tweet his weather update was: "B***** ROASTING. WHEN IS THIS HEATWAVE EVER GONNA END?"

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Then hastily, a few seconds later: "Never thought I'd say that."

We're lucky in that we live in a relatively temperate part of the planet. A place where you still get rain with your hosepipe ban.

We've had a better summer than usual in Northern Ireland, but elsewhere in Europe and around the world, climate change is having a much scarier, even more obvious impact.

In California, Portugal, Greece, even Sweden for heaven's sake, there have been forest fires resulting in loss of life.

Horrific deaths.

Not so long ago I watched an old television repeat of the movie The Day After Tomorrow.

In the film, the whole world - or New York, which to many Americans is much the same thing - entirely freezes over.

Basically an enormous 'superstorm' develops and next thing you know the US of A is the US of Antarctica.

Inevitably, brave American heroes save the day - and in the process rescue a group of people who've been holed up in a library burning books (metaphor for the end of civilisation).

In the movie, American citizens escaping the bitter chill are subsequently relocated to Mexico. This film, needless to say, pre-dated President Trump's Mexican wall plan which would presumably stymie similar such evacuation efforts in the future.

But even though it was make-believe, it was still a sobering depiction of what could befall mankind.

The terrifying sight of those real fires, however, and the devastation and suffering they've caused in the last few months, has been an even more nightmarish reminder of climate catastrophe.

Fire, more than frost, is our real vision of hell.

According to many science and environmental websites, this is what's now impacting upon people who might previously have been sceptical or just not all that bothered about the threat of global warming.

It's shocked people in a way that the beleaguered polar bear on his melting iceberg never quite managed.

Sadly, the even more frightening reality we can now count on is that from here on in, things will get worse.

We know this because, thus far, the world's political bigshots haven't exactly distinguished themselves in agreeing and enforcing a strategy to counteract, or at least attempt to slow, global meltdown.

Various parties are, of course, involved in fierce debate about who or what to blame for it all. But between them, all they are producing is even more hot air.

Which right now is really getting us nowhere.

Global warming, I said, has only itself to blame that we don't take it seriously?

In fairness, we humans may have something to answer for as well.

Fergie could be handful for son-in-law Jack

The Duchess of York aka Fergie is revving up for the wedding of daughter Princess Eugenie to a bloke called Jack.

In a TV interview Fergie confidently asserts that she will be just "the best" mother-in-law. Still ensconced with ex-husband Prince Andrew - despite the reputed ire of her own in-law, the Duke of Edinburgh - Fergie adds: "We go with our hearts, we go with the family unity... it's all about seeing the light in life. Jack is really a sort of amazing bringer of light and he brings joy."

Jack, you feel, may have his work cut out with the mother-in-law. In fairness though, Fergie has kept her family together. But mad as a box of frogs.

I'm sticking with bright side... life's not bad

According to new research, optimism is bad for you. Apparently, when relayed bad news, pessimists will have assumed the worst anyway and process it better than those who always look on the bright side of life.

I have to disagree. I may not have scientific evidence to back up my case but I can say this, I am one of those infuriating eternal optimists like Pollyanna. And when you bring me bad news I don't have trouble processing it.

I first think there must be some mistake, it can't be that bad. And then when I accept it might be that bad, I rationalise - it could have been worse, couldn't it?

We optimists tend to think positively. And I'm positive this research is wrong.

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