Sunday, 21 January 2007

January 2007 - Signs of Global Warming?

Rain and wind, wind and rain – what a time of it we are having this January! But this winter is still amazingly mild – a couple of mornings of hard frost in November, but barely a ground frost since. Summer bedding Nicotiana is still in blossom by the back door, and a Dianthus in Suzanna’s labyrinth garden – I have never seen the like before. Like everyone else I’m sure, I wonder whether these are signs of global warming.

Today the rain has stopped, and the sky is bright, but the wind is still blowing a gale. I offer a little prayer for the families of the fishermen lost in the Pere Charles and the Honeydew II, and go out to check the garden for damage. A young Monterey pine, Pinus radiata, grown from seed collected by the sea at Monterey, is listing alarmingly: I didn’t stake it properly and must do so now. In their Californian home they also suffer wild Pacific gales, and typically survive clinging to the earth at crazy angles, but I want to see a straight tree standing proud in my garden! A Cordyline is also leaning, propped up by an Olearia shrub behind it.

It is more than a week since I checked the vegetable garden. The spring cabbage is looking good, and hasn’t been blown out of the ground as I feared. The sprouting broccoli has put out good spears, some of which have started to show yellow flowers, and I pick a good bunch. They will be delicious first fruits of the year, steamed and tossed in butter with a little pepper. I have never had broccoli so early: is it the variety, or global warming again?

Have you ever noticed that the Book of Genesis gives us alternative stories of the purpose for which God created humankind? Chapter 1 tells us that we are created to have dominion over the animal kingdom, and Chapter 2 to till and keep the Garden of Eden. Our modern civilisation has placed too much emphasis on the dominion and not enough on the tilling and keeping, I think. We use God’s promise of dominion to excuse our greed for resources, and ignore God’s injunction to conserve our fragile world. The result: the intensifying ecological catastrophe of global warming. What foolish, sinful people we are: we must mend our ways before we are ejected from Eden!

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