Friday, July 27, 2007

Lovely weather...

The peak summer months of July and August see the rural areas of Mediterranean France at their finest and a particular joy are the village fĂȘtes - far from the afternoon garden parties seen in the UK, these take the form of open-air partying going on through to the early hours. These can be attended by hundreds of people (of all ages) from surrounding towns and villages who are entertained each evening by professional bands of musicians, singers and dancers - attending one's first village fĂȘte here is a stunning experience! Of course they are possible because of the wonderful summer weather which is most likely to stay warm and dry through the evening and night during the summer months.

Just now, climate is very much on the mind with the media dominated by headlines of heat waves in Eastern Europe and very severe flooding in the UK where many are temporarily homeless, and there are power cuts and shortages of drinking water. If it is the case that such disasters are actually a part of a change in the global climate, might we see this impact on our decisions as to where we live? Of course there are already major disaster zones, such as where deserts are taking over once fertile areas - but where situations are not yet quite so severe, how much would we tolerate before leaving our homes permanently?

Many people do in any case relocate in search of the sun but perhaps we might see a new trend of people making the move purely to escape a deteriorating climate. I think that could be happening already although I must confess to a personal interest here, having been flooded out of house and home some years ago in the UK! Once the water is in your home, there is no choice but to accept the situation and I still have vivid images of the emergency services arriving to find us with the table set for dinner (no power, so candles and take-away pizza!) and sitting in the fading light in our wellington boots - with water almost up to our knees!

Now a "fond" memory, but the aftermath was a nightmare - and that experience, if not the major consideration, was unquestionably a factor in deciding to make the move to the South of France not much later.

There are undoubtedly already desperate "climate refugees" driven from their homes in extreme circumstances but I have to wonder if we could now see more affluent climate migrants - enabled by ease of travel, tele-working, etc., it is far easier now to chose where we want to be. Perhaps climate change alone could become a reason for living somewhere else, regardless of other factors - how many of us would move home, and even country, purely to escape the weather?

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