Feeling the Heat?
The UK experienced its hottest day ever on 19th July – a whopping 40.3 deg C , beating the last record not by 0.1 or 0.2, but by almost 2 full degrees. It’s not often that people head off to Spain or Greece for their summer holidays with the goal of cooling down a bit.
The summer heatwave has stretched across much of Europe and other parts of the world, blasting through temperature records left right and centre. If anyone needed convincing of the fact that climate change is not some distant threat, but is happening right now before our very eyes, then surely this is it?
I had a very vivid example of this rapid change when I went to visit the beautiful town of Zermatt in the Swiss Alps with the stunning Matterhorn mountain towering high above the village. We took a train to almost 3,500m and walked towards the glaciers – or what remains of them. I’d done the exact same hike in July 2015 and the change in the level of the ice in these seven short years is quite frightening as you can see from the contrasting photos. No, they’re not taken from exactly the same spot of the exact same glacier, but I think you get my point.
Is there really still time to save the planet and ourselves and if so, what’s to be done and by whom?
The problem is that the general public seem completely jaded by a nevrr ending stream of apocalyptic doom and gloom stories. Politicians are distracted by short term political priorities. Striving to keep themselves in power during the next political cycle, they resort to short term populism. We have a war in Ukraine to deal with not to mention others around the world, a cost-of-living crisis, soaring numbers of refugees – many of them climate migrants as opposed to just economic migrants. It’s not even a year since Cop26 in Glasgow when lofty promises were made to uphold the Paris Agreement and keep temperature rises below the 2 deg C threshold. However, it seems like the urgent is yet again trumping the important.
Call me naïve, but my big hope is that business will step in where governments appear to be stepping back. The level of innovation around carbon capture and storage, solar and wind power have been dramatic in the past decade and far exceeded gloomy predictions as the time. Might we see even more game changing innovations in the decade to come? Moreover, the commitment to Net Zero amongst the business community is not dwindling but is in fact increasing as more and more companies such as Swiss Re and IKEA are discovering that the energy transition represents a business opportunity in disguise. For those who fail to meet their targets – for the CEOs who stood up in Glasgow and made grand promises but fail to deliver, then there is an new generation of employee activists who will hold them to account.
No, there is no room for complacency and things may well get significantly worse in terms of extreme weather events before they get better. But let’s have faith in the power of human ingenuity, innovation and technology to shift the dial and turn the climate crisis into a climate opportunity.
Best of the rest……
A lot of people have been taking advantage of the warm weather to take a bit of time off and things have certainly slowed down a bit for me personally – getting closer to that elusive work life balance that is worthy of someone who espouses the benefits of deceleration. However, not for Rolf Roscher, the Landscape Architect at ERZ Design, who has been leading the effort to create a Master Plan for the 10 hectares that comprise the Craigberoch empire.
I had the opportunity to review the fruits of his work in a recent meeting and you can see an artistic impression of what things will look like at the end of a three phase programme. Phases I and 2 focus on developing the land and creating a network of eco pods that will provide individuals with a very different kind of remote working environment, coupled with an “a la carte menu” of experiences, all designed to be conducive to creativity, inspiration and wellbeing. The cosy off-grid pods will be locally produced, engaging and training local artisans and using wood sustainably sourced from forests on the island. Phase 3 is when work commences on the renovation of the ruins to create a state of the art, purpose built, iconic space where business professionals will mix with artists and musicians in residence. Who knows, it could be the hot bed for purpose driven innovation which could start to address the challenges of Net Zero which I outline above.
All we need now is just a bit more money to bring all of this to life which is of course challenging in an environment of rampant inflation. I remain confident we’ll get there and watch this space for details of our investment plan and crowdfunding strategy.
On the personal front…….
On the personal front, one major highlight was attending Butefest which is my native Isle of Bute’s answer to Glastonbury. The setting with the backdrop of neighbouring Arran’s mountains was stunning, the weather lovely and the line up of bands was impressive for a small festival. Really great fun.
One of my favourite things to do in July is go to the Montreux Jazz Festival on the shore of Lake Geneva. This year I had tickets for Van Morrison and guitar legend Jeff Beck, both of whom are well into their seventies. Beck was joined on stage by surprised special guest Johnny Depp, who seemed to steal the show.
Less fun was driving around Scotland in a large transit van picking up bits and pieces of furniture to fill the empty new house I mentioned in the June Bullog. But it’s coming along and hope to be in a position to welcome some of you as guests to the island soon.
The holiday period is also a time to get through the backlog of books from the waiting list and I’ve been greatly enjoying Turn Around and Take a Bow by our very own Mike Dixon, one of our Craigberoch Cast. This is a fascinating glimpse behind the curtains of the music industry and Mike shares experiences from his work with the likes of Brian May of Queen and conducting for the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey at Glastonbury. Well worth a read.
OK, that’s more than enough for now folks. If you enjoy this monthly ramble then do feel free to suggest others sign up here. Until next month,
* The Bullog = Bulloch + BlogMake sense? Not bulldog, nor is it bulls**t although I’ll let you be the judge of that! It’s a brief synopsis on recent articles, events and opinions from my world and the things that have caught my attention over the past few weeks.