Puny Technology

Dear Agatha,

Evaporation from 13 to 19th December 6-1, 1, 4-1, 5, 2-13, 4, 1-39

I came across this paragraph in an article on Climate Change:

Even as flocks of jets began descending upon Paris for the latest talks, the delegates could see that the consequences of global warming had been setting in fast. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are shrinking with unexpected speed, Arctic sea ice is disappearing faster than forecast in computer models, and circulation patterns over vast swaths of the planet’s oceans are being disrupted. “The more we learn, the more we see that these processes are happening more quickly than we anticipated,” says Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor of earth system science at Stanford.

Then I had a discussion with my foremen as to when it would be prudent to switch off our irrigation, to save the remaining water for next year’s cattle and seedbeds, rather than use it all on the current crops. I pointed out to them how much stronger the weather is than our technology: it takes a 75kW pump (and all that infrastructure) 48hours to put 30mm of water on my 30ha pivot – which a passing cloud can do for me in 30 minutes (if it is so inclined)!

And then I went to Livingstone on Friday to meet an old friend who had been with me at Eagle School, then at Peterhouse and at University. He had grown up in Lusaka but had not been back since his family left to return to England after he had written his O-levels. As Simon and Chris Aston had also been at Eagle we met there for lunch and had a great time reminiscing. Chris showed me some tobacco plants, which would normally be well on their way to that maximum growth stage, but which were dying of a sort of hot-temperature syndrome. Burning soils, hyper-active fungi attacks and so dying plants. There is nothing that Chris can do to lower the temperatures (especially when he doesn’t have ZESCO 24/7) and not much he can do about the different pathogens. Although it was great to see my school friends again, I came away reminded that, as the climate changes our ability to mitigate its effects are going to be limited and probably inadequate. The problems that Chris is facing now in Livingstone could be the problems we are facing in Choma in as little as 15 years time.

On that bleak note, may I wish you all a Merry Muddy Christmas,



One response to “Puny Technology”

  1. ann strahle says :

    Happy Christmas Bruce – I know you will overcome all the problems! Look forward to hearing more on solar energy. meanwhile, suggest you look up Piers ..Corbyn, brother of the labour leader. His views on global warming need to be given consideration. Love Ann and Roland.

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