I am just back from a week spent over Christmas in Passo Tonale, one of the highest skiing resort villages in the Adamello region of Italy, a mountain pass with a glacier stretching up to the dizzy heights of 3,600 metres. It was a wonderful holiday with plenty of skiing even though the temperatures on some days reached 8 degrees in the sun, with nighttime temperatures barely dipping below zero.
Snow-making machines worked day and night on the pistes which turned blue with ice patches by night, transforming to snow, then slush by mid afternoon. Several pathways leading skiers from one piste to another melted during the week, necessitating a long ski downhill to lower chairlifts carrying skiers over brown grassland, green firs and grey tarmac roads up to higher climes. We gondola’d up to the glacier, negotiating the black piste down through clouds of ice chippings that cut our faces raw; snow-makers operating at high latitude.
The children frowned when they saw the brown grass strips between ice and snow patches, the artificial nursery and red slopes in the valley covered with a fake, white carpet. ‘We hate global warming’ they yelled, mouths turning down. Instead, living in denial, I tell myself this is only a blip, that the unseasonably warm December weather across Europe with clear skies and sunshine, is something of an anomaly, even as I know it is not true. If anything shows us that it is too hot, it is the mountain weather, with glaciers receding, snowfall less plentiful and the increasing use of snow-makers.
I lament the decisions the world made in 2016; the Trump takeover that threatens the Paris Agreement, even as I hope that the Agreement will hold, and will make a difference. China, Brazil and India continue to grow apace, demanding air conditioners, increasing their electricity, gas and oil consumption to European levels, even as I know I am a European hypocrite. For I presently rent a large house that requires high gas consumption for heating, (it is not insulated), I drive my car every day, and I take holidays on airplanes. I hope for a miracle, a grand invention to reverse this climate trend, even as I know there are none, especially in the face of ‘the economy, stupid’.
My New Year Resolution then, is to try harder, to take more trains, to recycle, reuse and stop buying plastic items (bags, bottles, packaging, cutlery and plates) forever, to lobby for environmentally friendly proposals in my work place and my children’s school. In my own small way, I will try to make a difference. Imagine if everyone did?
My book ‘The Disobedient Wife’ was published with Cinnamon Press in 2015.
Check it out here