I Wish It Would Rain Every Day
Our World | On 01, May 2012
Ever since the hosepipe ban to combat the drought was introduced on April 5th it feels like all it has done is rain every day. Perhaps we were spoilt by the fabulous March weather or perhaps the last 20 years of media warnings about global warming have finally sunk in and we expect it to be warm. Of course, in reality it often rains in April and the one thing that is almost guaranteed about a drought is that it will eventually end with rainfall – I think rain is actually the technical definition of the end of a drought, but moving on, there is a point here. Rain is good.
Whilst we all like a bit of sunshine, there is a serious and harmful effect of drought. It starves the land, stifles crop growth, decimates harvests and destroys the soil infrastructure. Ring any bells? Drought is pretty much like a recession – just without the sunshine. Recession starves investment, stifles growth, decimates employment and destroys our economic infrastructure. And, just like a hosepipe ban to conserve resources impacts your ability to maintain crop growth and soil infrastructure, governments, in order to reduce debts and balance budgets cut public spending, which of course makes a recession worse.
This is the current dilemma for our economy. Spending money would undoubtedly refloat our economy, the more we spend the more money in circulation and the more growth we see. However, just like the lack of water there is a lack of money and once it’s gone it’s gone, just look at Greece, they need money and can’t get it. What we need is economic rain, but no-one knows where it is and when it’s coming. But what if it doesn’t come? The longest recorded weather drought was in the Atacama Desert and lasted 400 years from 1571 to 1971.
The worst economic drought was the great depression of the 1920’ and 1930’ which only really ended with the advent of World War Two and the monumental investment in munitions which kick started every economy on the planet. Economist cannot really tell you when that depression would have ended or what the catalyst for change would have been, only that the amount of money that was borrowed to fund allied war effort makes the Euro crisis look like school dinner money – we are still paying our WWII national debt.
Climate change is here to stay and we are slowly beginning to change our way of life and adopt new practices to fit our changing global environment with recycling being one of the most noticeable daily changes. So what if this financial and economic crisis isn’t a crisis at all. The word crisis suggest a moment of extreme pressure, tension or drama; the breaking point. But how long does a crisis have to last before it stops being a crisis and becomes the new normal? Is what we have experienced for the last 5 years the new economic climate?
I think you can argue that from an economic standpoint, in many ways we have had a pretty good climate since the mid 1980’s with the odd mini drought here or bad storm there. Now as this economic drought enters its 5th year, maybe it’s time to accept that this is climate change, it’s here to stay and just like our changing recycling habits, we need to accept change to our economic habits and expectations.