Sunday, 19 January 2014

Even as I was writing the previous post, misgivings were forming in my mind. While my main point, about observing and appreciating all sorts of weather, was valid enough, my privileged position in the world was made apparent and I now want to add a few further thoughts.

Only someone living in the developed world, with the means to buy anything possibly needed, could have the luxury of seeing the weather simply as a phenomenon to be enjoyed.

There are many in a less fortunate position who know that the weather, in all its merciless forms, can have greater consequences, even being the difference between life and death.

In Malawi 85% of the population are subsistence farmers. A wet season which does not deliver enough rain will mean the family, the region, the whole country, will not harvest enough maize for the year, and before the next harvest is due hunger will take hold. Famine lurks that close.

Even rain at the wrong time can spell disaster. If the rains come early, before the crop has had time to dry, it will be ruined and there will be shortages.

I read recently about the Sundarban Wetlands between Bangladesh and India. The largest river delta in the world, it is home to four million people. During cyclones the area is inundated with salt water, rendering the normally fertile soil barren. Suddenly, four million hungry people.

Image from

We in the developed nations rely more heavily on the natural world than we may perceive. From where does our food come? Our fresh water? If there is drought, if there is flood, then where will our food come from? Bushfires in Australia, unprecedented snowstorms in the north of the US, floods in Europe - they all show us that even the rich world's technology and infrastructure may be swept aside by the might of the planet's changing weather.

With the terrible spectre of climate change looming, it seems a little glib to write about loving and appreciating all sorts of different weather.

Instinct tells me there's nothing wrong with observing and enjoying the weather I wake up to each day, I think it's in my nature to do so. But herein lies one of the the paradoxes of living. How to hold a joyous wonder at this world of beauty, while remaining in unflinching awareness of the injustice and sadness that is everywhere, every day?


  1. Yeah, it's a big question Steve. I don't know the answer. However, I hope none of us ever stop marvelling at the wonders of life - or - that our enjoyment of it is marred by the sadness/injustice in the world. Just keep what you're doing - being a great hooman-bean - and if we all did that then the world would be a better place. (now who's been glib?)

  2. Thanks Kate, I guess if the answers were easy life would just be boring hey!