When will we wake up?


© Beanotown Photography                    A random Venetian arcade, currently 

This morning there came a communiqué from a friend in Venice, which is engulfed by water.

Exactly ten years ago – 19.xi.09 – two deluges of approx 180mm fell on already sodden Fells. This water tumbled into the Cocker – one of the country’s fastest rising rivers – and the Derwent. They meet at Cockermouth.

I watched the foot bridge at the Cocker’s mouth disappear while on the phone in my flat in the middle of this gorgeous, 18th century market town. I’d stood on Waterloo Bridge the day before and been physically intimidated by the volume of water roaring towards me. I assumed it’d been washed away but it re-emerged two days later. For 48 hours, the river engulfed and drowned it: the Derwent is yet a far larger affair.

Cockermouth’s Main Street on 20.xi.09     © Paul Brigham

Cockermouth’s heart beats in the privately owned shops, hotels and the brewery of this jewel of a Town, 90% of which are along Main Street and Market Place.

All were destroyed.

Illness & death followed for a grim number of shop-keepers.

The shock, you see.

Before and since, the heavens open and drown life beneath: it is happening with increasing frequency all around the Northern Hemisphere and probably the Southern too.

Venice is as precious to its residents as Cockermouth is to those blessed to live there. But the world probably cares more about this architectual, artistic, cultural, historic, pivotal, floating city: sophisticated commerce could be said to have evolved there in the thirteenth century.

It is trivial to say the climate is changing. All the money in the world wouldn’t impress the atmosphere. Using it with finer-grained thinking to arrest its destruction … and therefore ours … may mitigate what awaits us? 

There are still those who refuse to connect their action with the consequences and consequently, for whom all this seems unrelated and unimportant. How can that be when the evidence washes around us?