Climate change is a real thing, not only because the planet we live on is spherical and orbits the sun in a miraculously synchronised cyclical pattern, but because just as the seasons change so too do the natural order of things. Only that in our modern era, the change is far more rapid than ever before, given our human longevity and our human consumerism that drives industry to produce ridiculous quantities of pollutants that impact our atmosphere, thus speeding the whole process up.
So, moving swiftly on from the briefest summary of the most basic elements of the whole environmental debate to these past two weeks in northern Europe…
We’ve experienced some of the hottest days in generations and whilst I hesitate to complain about the glorious summer heat, I realise that I have become somewhat acclimated to the cooler climes over the past three years and now find that temperatures that are common in my hot, African home country are rather uncomfortable here.
The discomfort comes from the living conditions and by that I do not mean that we live in any form of hovel associated with abject poverty but instead I refer to the architecture of these northern regions. Here homes are designed to retain heat for the long, cold winters (these too have not been as bitterly cold as in times past) which seem to take up more months of the year than the summers.
Bring on a heat wave and we are all left gasping since there are no wide verandas or deep eaves to keep the outer walls of the houses cool and the windows shaded against the furnace of the very long afternoons and evenings.
The solution is to trap the cool air into the house by closing up every door, window, curtain and blind around 9 or 10 o’clock and remaining stoically persistent (for some read stifled) until the heat finally relinquishes it’s hold on the day and changes place with the cool of the night, around 8 or 9 o’clock by which time all the cool air from the previous night has been replaced by the heat of humanity in a closed space is finally permitted to escape through every available aperture!
Of course, there is a natural solution to the lack of automated air conditioning units and that is to find the God-given form: trees! Thankfully there are an abundance of trees here in NL and no more calming, cooling, tranquil and peaceful place to be found than in one of the many forests (wandelbos) that form the green lungs of every town and city in the country. These green cathedrals truly are havens from the heat on blistering days like we’ve had these past two weeks. Truth be told that if you are not able to find a green cathedral, then seek refuge in one of the many magnificent man made cathedrals which are always cool in summer, though bitterly cold in winter.
I am doing my best not to complain about the heat, though I have surprised myself by how much I have acclimatised, because I do still prefer the heat to the cold which obviously follows all too soon: Africa in my blood!