On seeing mountains

When you are far away from mountains they look easy to climb. Continue reading

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I spent the first fifty years of my life without ever being asked to ape the position in imitation of Christ as someone with a fat magic wand ran it, or his hands, over my body. In the past ten years this ritual seems to happen whenever I travel by aeroplane, or enter a court building, or enter a public building of some kind. I am amused to hear parts of my body Continue reading


I ate a green salad in the middle of Europe recently. It was fresh; the leaves were picked within a few hours of them being in my mouth. It was local produce of a kind that is very hard to get in my own country these days. On the supermarket shelves we have salad leaves that come from exotic places and these make dull salad, as though the effort and energy expended on getting them from far off lands onto my table has taken all the taste out of them. Even fruits taste dull. These year cherries taste of water and even those English strawberries lack taste. Continue reading

Winners and Losers in the Climate Change Game

There will be winners and losers in the climate change future. It is not always possible to know who will win and who will lose because this is not a straightforward calculation. Continue reading

Humans Stress the Environment

We think of humans as suffering from stress but as often as not humans cause stress. Humans have always stressed their environment. Many of the environmental changes have occurred as a result of humans placing the environment under stress. I have already written about how I think this occurred on Easter Island; another example is how the fields of grain that surrounded ancient Athens regressed into difficult land to farm, as the topsoil eroded due to the human methods of farming. Continue reading

Our Exotic Foreign Policy

The exotic foreign policy of the United Kingdom at present requires it to keep nine thousand troops in Pakistan. I met a man whose son had made three tours of duty there. He told that the soles of his son’s boots became detached from their uppers in the conditions of Afghanistan. The same happened to many others in the boy’s regiment. The father did what any good father would do – he bought his son some boys. Continue reading

The Certainty of Our Changing Climate

Yesterday I wrote about floods and exceptional rainfall in the British Isles and in Russia. Today I suggest that we turn our attention to the drought that is affecting continental North America. More than half of the USA’s mainland is today in a state of moderate to extreme drought. The effect drought has been exacerbated by very hot temperatures and farmland has dried out, topsoil lost, crops decimated as 2011 was the hottest year in the USA since records began in 1895, and 2012 looks like equalling or surpassing last year’s record. Continue reading