Thursday, November 02, 2006


Sir Nicholas Stern’s report into the impact of climate change is as welcome as it is deeply alarming. I am not a rabid environmentalist. Like many I suspect, my environmentalism burrows gently under the surface, a largely neglected Swampy creating an itch I can’t quite eliminate. But I have started to take more notice. Those stand-by devices are now all switched off; the kettle is filled with what water is needed; any thoughts of a 4x4 have been turned off.

All small things in the wider system, but a worry is just how swiftly the environment could now change. In Britain, the temperatures for September and October were up by an average 0.7 degrees; we have just registered the hottest Mallorcan October on record. Of course it could just be “one of those things”, but the scientific community (and others) seem to think differently. A 2-degree increase in temperatures would wreak some pretty damaging changes.

The sea. The sea levels would rise. Coastal areas would be at risk. I live by the sea. Many people in Mallorca live by the sea. Many people in Mallorca live at sea level. Many people who live at sea level in Mallorca have very expensive properties. Many people who live at sea level in Mallorca can find no sea defences next to or near to where they live.

Imagine: a society (Mallorca) which - apart from fishing - used to find no use for the coast. Areas like Playa de Muro and Can Picafort were untouched; they were useless - nothing could grow. And then they found a use - tourism, hotels, luxury houses, less-than-luxury houses. And then one day ... the waters come.

Simple answer is to move. But so perhaps should many others, leaving behind worthless houses, worthless hotels and worthless land.

Far-fetched? Could you say for sure it wouldn’t happen?

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