I am completely unsettled, I have spent my morning desperately trying to apply myself to my tasklist and am failing, miserably. My hope in clattering keystrokes in this direction is that I can unstick something and then get on with things, so I’m taking an early lunch. Ex hurricane Lorenzo is passing on by, thankfully quite a deal calmer here in the midlands than there were some fears it might turn out to be. I don’t want to be in my office. I don’t want to be struggling with how to wrangle code to do a thing I was hoping wouldn’t be necessary at this point in the year. I want to be out there in the wind and the rain. Admittedly I would want not to have the tail end of my chest infection while so doing, but since I can’t do the one I don’t need to worry about the other either. Something about this sort of weather makes my brain agitated. Something about that makes me want to just go outside and let the wind blow it all away, to scatter it all while the rain plasters my hair to my face and my coat to my form. But here I am in my warm office, with my enormous mug of tea and a brain full of thought detritus.
I have been consuming vast amounts of information semi passively. I find thinking about one thing seems to stimulate a whack–a-mole cavalcade of all the other things as well, and it gets noisy in this not very full head of mine. To add insult to injury it’s all embroiled in a great mess of “but you don’t know what you’re talking about” and “and what about…”, so I’m not really going to try to organise this or pretend that anything I say even closely approximates a finished thought. Consider this more a snapshot of the scattered mind of an average mid-forty year old Irish woman in 2019.
It amuses and depresses me how annoyed people get with weather prediction services. There are outraged people the country over annoyed because “Oh here’s Met Éireann making a big fuss over nothing again, f’ing typical, this country is a joke.” At no stage did Met Éireann say definitely there was need to make a fuss, they just gave a heads up about a very unusual storm formation that potentially could have turned up on our doorsteps like an unwelcome guest from The Shining. It was a category 5 hurricane far more in our personal space than such things tend to be, I’m personally okay with getting the warning. I didn’t feel at any stage Met Éireann overplayed their hand. That said I am not an avid and passionate weather follower, maybe I missed something. On the other hand in the run up to the storm there were also many that were catastrophizing constantly. Official weather prediction sites, they opined, were missing the very obvious signs that the storm was headed straight for us at full category 5 strength because they looked at a coloured isometric map for 5 seconds and just knew. I keep reminding myself that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I was showing a colleague the very beautiful earth.nullschool.net EarthWind map and we chatted about how easy it is to think you can clearly see what’s happening from what’s presented in front of you as a snapshot in time with no real concept of how weather actually works.
I am a woman much given to thinking about trees and, more and more of late, forestry. I am not trained in forestry in any way. Clearly my preference is to have trees, all the trees, I’m good with Finland percentages of trees+ for Ireland, as soon as possible. How do I express opinions and support plans for Irish reforestation in a sensible and informed way?
I am aware that the world runs with money (to an absolute stupid and out of control degree, and I would like that to stop being so horribly so.) Being practical, whatever proposals I might get behind have to pay for themselves. There are constant calls and recriminations for this plan and that plan, and it’s difficult to tease it through and try to find the kernels that matter. I don’t want such an important thing to just get scraps thrown at it by a government desperate to greenwash itself now that it is slowly ¼ admitting that maybe more people care about nature than they were presuming. The fierce mugging by politicians in photoshoots and conferences as they seek to imply that that have always cared about the environment and we can trust them to make the country sheds of money in a green responsible way is irritating. It is clear that there are urgent pushes to come up with quick schemes to appease the unexpectedly large crowds expressing environmental concern. It seems to me that there was a certain amount of being caught on the wrong foot by not living up to commitments and targets in environmental policy change in the wider European community as well, like “oh you guys actually did something about that, and we assumed everyone would back burner it, ooops”. “People object to their street trees being cut down? Wow, didn’t see that coming”, “What do you mean people noticed that our great announcement for planting thousands of new trees is mostly about cash crop conifers?” One need only observe the political “outrage” over the Tallaght wetlands debacle by politicians who then argue for opening preserved bog land, or don’t support long term funding for the Biodiversity Data Centre when Biodiversity is the current buzzword that MUST be dropped into any self-respecting politician’s speech as often as possible. Announcements run in International new media “Ireland will plant all the trees!!” – oh, but yeah most of them will be Sitka spruce despite all the documented problems with same because we have to be able to sell them after all… There is still the voice in the back of my head going “And the government wanted to sell Coillte’s harvesting rights to China”
There is a flurry of things coming along through my Twitter stream that I’m trying to follow up in my reading and research lists. The NativeIrishWoodlandTrust is currently celebrating their new forestry project purchased with Ryanair donations as a move to offset their carbon. Sure, Ryanair are interested in PR and their bottom line, famously so, but I still reckon it’s better than, say, buying a crap ton of plastic freebies to hand out to people. There is the ongoing “Is it right if Ireland allows fracked gas from other countries through when it has banned it here” debate and our government’s part in it. There is the report in the UK that its wildlife population has plummeted since the 70s which certainly can mean nothing good for us here in Ireland either. Which prompts a side note by my buzzing brain registering my amusement at the very Irish take on the recent debate after Eamon Ryan’s proposal to reintroduce wolves, which was largely “NOOO!” “Oh hey, did you know Cromwell killed the last wolves in Ireland 250 years ago?” “All the wolves! ” (There’s this one, as an example) There’s a perceptible shift to support more native and mixed forest, but that’s currently being proposed for exhausted bogland, which is also a carbon sink which many say should be allowed to restore to wetland. “Only rewetting bogland continues to sequester carbon”, one side tells me, “yes but not all bogland can be rewetted” says the other. How do I vocally support the idea of rewetting the former and foresting the latter, especially not knowing where the proposals are actually for?
Rewilding Vs planting Vs planted clusters which are allowed to do their thing, on bought land, or reclaimed land, on bogland.. It’s all a bit dizzy and my fear is that things get tied up in not supporting/doing anything while we try to figure out the best solution while money does the usual talking and we get bad solutions in the wrong places and no appetite to do better.