Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Climate Change And The Wetlands

English folk claim to have a patent on moaning about the weather, but we Dutchies know a thing or two (or ten) about that subject as well!
If you don't know: we live in a Delta. Our country is criss-crossed by huge rivers, streaming down on us from France/Belgium and Austria/Zwitserland/Germany.

Most of the time those rivers are placid, simply flowing on towards the sea. But when it starts raining in those neighbouring countries, and starts raining heavily, we get a wave of river water streaming into our low-lying country that poses a threat.

Now, in the olden days, our ancestors knew enough to let those rivers flow over into water meadows. Sure, they let their cows and sheep graze there, but there usually was enough time to gather those animals onto higher ground. They even made earthen hillocks (called 'terpen') especially for those times even the water meadows couldn't hold all the surplus water and would build their farmsteads there. Smart people.

But nowadays our wetlands are overcrowded and our country is built up with endless suburbs and water meadows are deemed good overflow building land instead of overflow river water land. Not so smart...Our water engineers have been warning for years, decades even, but the local planning authorities seem to have a blind spot and suffer from sudden deafness when it comes to the warnings. Money speaks louder than words.

And thus we have a problem.
This week, due to the combination of a very high ground water level (the rivers) and extremely heavy rain, some parts of Brabant (a Southern province) had to deal with water rising more than 2.5 m above normal levels, and basements and parking garages and some neighbourhoods were flooded.

And suddenly the newspapers are full of the CC words. Climate Change is here! It's not around the corner, in the future somewhere, nope, it has arrived with its suitcases packed full of wet stuff and it has planted them firmly in our living room. Hi honey, I'm home!

Of course, us being hardy no-nonsense wetlanders, used to a bit of water, they immediately gave us some good news as well. Yes, more rain, more clouds, more mist, more storms, but also some goodies we have all been pining for: we will get more exotics as well. And higher temperatures. In fact, De Volkskrant newspaper told me that our climate has shifted up as far as Paris already. We have Parisian weather - oh la la, how chique! And in a couple of years we will have shifted as far South as Lyon, saving a huge portion of us a shitload of money and a lot of driving hours as we won't have to migrate to the Ardeche in Summer any longer.
Mind you, we will need that money we will have saved for buying mosquito repellant as the tiger mosquito is invading (able of carrying Zika virus, amongst other viruses) surfing on those higher temperatures. And oh horror, will the snakes come slithering in as well? Probably.

Today, our climate showed its sunny side. For the first time in weeks we had a completely dry day and could enjoy the outdoors without a wintercoat on. It was wonderful. I sang a chanson to celebrate.

Oh well. I'll invest in some good wellies and make certain I'll have the sandbags ready. Just in case.