Monday, April 9, 2012

A Change in the Wind

IMGP0003 (4) (450 x 600)  So I’ve started my job at  Seeds of Life which is going well.  There is a certain scepticism I have about the hype around climate change.  Its all very dramatic and if the world is not going to end in the next 5 years then its probably not worth talking about.  Has anyone noticed a “world is going to end” sort of theme going on for the last 20 odd years?  When I was in high school it was the nuclear war that was going to kill us all.  I suppose that lost its flavour after a while so we moved on to the hole in the ozone layer – we’re all gonna fry!  Pretty soon that started shrinking, which was handy, because we had to get ready for the doom and gloom of the year 2000 when all our cars, computers and fridges would stop working.  The world almost ended.  Thankfully, very smart computer programmers were able to change 1999 to 2000 and so we moved on.  Terror reared its ugly head when those planes crashed and suddenly we’re all gonna die again.  But no, thankfully we were saved by a few ‘pre-emptive strikes’ variously aimed at oily folks.  Once that was sort of mostly squished, there seemed no one else to turn to except big Al – the slick, sophisticated and educated face of global warming.  Now just in case things take a swing and we start cooling instead, lets just cover our bases and call it “climate change”.  And thats where you find me – saving the world once again.

If my new boss reads this post I should add, in all attempts to be serious, that I am very passionate about the environment.  Globally and Locally.  Reduce, reuse, recycle!  Yep, thats me, a true hippy who owns a chainsaw because all the trees I’m planting are getting so darn big.

IMGP0004 (3) (450 x 600)Ok, I’ll have another shot at being serious.  Thankfully the job is as much about climate “variability” as it is about climate change.  What that means is the Timorese are finding it hard to cope with the great variation in rainfall that they are experiencing already from year to year.  Rainfall is expected to increase by 10% over the next 40 years but Timorese already experience some years where the rain is 30% higher or lower than average.  How do they plan crops and last through hard times when it changes so much?  This is what my job is about.  Helping the Timorese from government levels up to the humble farmers who work hard in their fields.  I’ll be working as a scientist and doing some research as well as developing some posters and info sheets to spread around the country so that farmers will be more informed about their climate.  A part of this is bringing together all the weather data.  Some very nice automatic weather stations have been installed around the country but it seems the people responsible for collecting the data cant find enough money for transport to go out and collect it.  The pic at the top shows a weather station I inspected on the south coast.

 DSCF3480 On a sadder note.  Last Sunday, a worried father came down to the beach looking for his 9 year old boy who’d gone for a swim and didn’t return home.  The father’s sad and wistful voice called out through the night for his son.  Many gathered down by the beach to search for him.  Its common to swim naked here and all his clothes were found on the sand.  The following few days they borrowed our boat with Gomez as the skipper but to no avail – he was not found.  They held a simple memorial service for him at sunset a few days ago.  Its not easy sometimes.


In memory of Simao who died at sea, 1/4/2012.

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