Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Horrors of Climate change Made Clear

This is awful:
An underweight hedgehog found wandering around a garden during the daytime is a sign that the animals are being lured out of hibernation too early, says a wildlife charity. Care for the Wild, in Brighton Road, Horsham, have taken in the little hog after he was found in a Crawley garden, then taken to Harvest Vets in Maidenbower. Care for the Wild’s wildlife carer Tarnya Knight said: “This little fella is just 300 grams so he definitely wouldn’t have made it through the winter, and if a cold snap comes that would have finished him off. But we’ll feed him up and he should be okay to be released in the spring. “The mild weather we’ve had is leading to hedgehogs coming out of hibernation too early. Most of them will be the right weight, but there isn’t much natural food for them around at the moment. So if you get hedgehogs in your garden please leave out some food and water to see if they’re around. And of course, if you see one during the daytime, please either contact us or take it to the vet.”
Increasing warming, decreasing hedgehogs. Will Britain be Britain without the humble hedgepig snuffling about? One is vaguely - very vaguely - reminded of George Orwell's Some Thoughts On The Common Toad:
At any rate, spring is here, even in London N.1, and they can't stop you enjoying it. This is a satisfying reflection. How many a time have I stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, spring is still spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.
Having failed to control the simple delights of watching little figments of nature going about their business, and not being able to tax it efficiently, the dictator and bureaucrats, it seems, have decided to drive everything endearing and untamed to extinction.

Or maybe not.  But there is a smidgeon of a serious point here - climate change is not The Day After Tommorrow dramatic nonsense.  Climate change is British hedgehogs dying out because the conditions that let them thrive no longer apply.  And if the loveable hedgehog is being challenged by climate change, what else will struggle to adapt?

 Doubtless this is one of the benefits Owen Paterson discerns in a warming world.  He has pointed out that human beings are great adaptors - failing to add that adaption is usually accompanied by significant unpleasantness (the Saxons adapted to climate change 1500 years ago by sailing to Britain and killing lots of people).  Hedgehogs, probably, are less capable of adapting to a changing world.

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