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We love to talk about the weather, but barely a word about our climate

9 Aug 2012

Irish Examiner

Victoria White

WE HANG over the half-door and stare at the sky.

"Will it clear up?" we ask constantly. If it's fine, we ask, in that peculiarly Irish expression, "Will it hold up?"

Living as we do now, on holiday in Connemara in a tiny cottage just feet from the sea, the weather determines our every move. We're getting a small taste of the life of the fishermen who once lived in this place, until most of them were wiped out by a sudden storm in the Cleggan Disaster of 1927.

Back home in suburban Dublin, the weather isn't such a big deal. But our Irish personality and culture were probably formed by close experience of our weather. Surely it is because of the weather that we are both spontaneous and fatalistic.

I love both these traits in the Irish people. And I love the landscape in which I grew up. Swimming through the crystal clear water early in the morning I feel at home here.

Then I get scared. Because I know the weather is changing. This summer my joy in the landscape is conditional because I have no confidence that my children will experience it as I have. I have no confidence that the three boys I see swimming out to a rock through glittering water as I write this could as well be my grandchildren, or my great-grand-children.

This is a fear I share with very few people. Because although we are a people completely obsessed by weather, we don't give a stuff about the changing climate.

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