Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The rain in Spain...

......might fall only on the plain, but here in my part of Germany it's falling everywhere! However, we never seem to get really bad floods, though the old part of Cologne sometimes gets inundated. The Rhine does get too full sometimes, mainly fed by melting ice from the Alps, but normally, things don't get out of hand. I live very near the Ruhr (the main Rhine tributary) and that gets quite full now and again, too, usually late winter, early spring. Fortunately there are water meadows to catch all that extra water and at least in this part of Germany, no one has been allowed to build on them. 
Where I come from, North Wales, things can get quite bad. A bit further up the coast, seawater infiltrated a whole estate of bungalows built where they should not have been. It came as a surprise, but it shouldn't have and no planning permission should have been given for putting anything where water is likely to wash it away again. The sea reclaims its own! 
Which brings me to Pakistan, where 20% of the country is flooded, and there one cannot say they should or should not have done this or that. The monsoons are the cause of all that water, and due to continue for at least a fortnight. It's a terrible human tragedy and the world seems rather oblivious to it, judging by the reactions. Bad publicity has meant that most of us connect the Pakistan people with treacheries of various ilks, but of course, it's only a tiny percent of the people who are involved with any of that, and certainly not the children. The rest is simply trying to survive.  I read that 97% of global wealth is hin the hands of the richest and only 3% owned by the poorest. If that were raised to 4%, many of the world's problems would be alleviated, if not solved. But greed is only a sin and not a crime per se, so we can expect the rich to get richer and the poor......well, in the end, not to survive.
Maybe it's time to remember that the natural world doesn't needed us! If I were religious, I might want to think that God is spring-cleaning with all that water. Certainly, any god is hardly benign towards many of the world's human beings. We do shape our fate to a certain extent, but become powerless when nature rears its (ugly) head.   

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