I have good news – and I have bad news. Let us deal with the bad news first, and you may find the good news somewhere further down the page … tangled up with all the other rubbish.
Sticking with bad; first of all, the weather: This Summer has been an unmitigated disaster weather wise. Nonetheless, the topic of weather has been dislodged as the number one leading conversation in Ireland. ‘Strange times we live in’, is now the number one conversation opener. Brexit and climate change has been demoted to the heading of ‘any other business.’
The Earth’s climate has become increasingly erratic. Climate change deniers are either fools, fossil fuels traders, or the president of the United States of America. The change is temperature is already having an astonishingly negative impact on Mother Earth. Every day more living species are becoming extinct and it is getting worse. I read somewhere recently that as much as a quarter of all present animal and vegetable life could be lost over the next fifty years.
At this point, I know you need an injection of good news – or at least something from the ‘better news department.’
This column believes that, as all other plant and animal life gradually disappears, man will be the last man standing. This is because humans are the most adaptable species on earth. Man (and you know who is behind every successful man!) has the greatest ability to adjust readily to extremely different conditions and situations. The human animal is the most adaptable living creature, due to our higher intelligence over other creatures. (Ah …. Lads, please … this is not up for debate!)
Human intelligence has allowed us to live in every sort of climate and every sort of environment. We feed ourselves on the most diverse diets – depending on where we live and what food is available. The range of what we eat is probably mankind’s strongest survival card.
Take this humble scribe. I have survived in temperatures of more than ‘forty below’ in northern Canada and felt equally at home at ‘forty above’ in Spain. Polar bears lived up there in the arctic cold, but a polar bear would not survive long in Spain. Man has found ways to survive anywhere in the world, and if he cannot adapt to a changing environment, he will find a way to adapt the environment to suit his needs. I was reared on bacon and cabbage, but always find it ridiculously easy to enjoy the diverse traditional dishes of a couple of dozen far-flung countries. You are no different, my friends – we can all do this. When I was a young boy I hated girls but as I …. Oh, let’s leave that one be!
Not since Eve persuaded the innocent Adam to sink his molars into the apple, has mankind been called upon to adapt to changes which transgress the entire earth. I am of course mainly referring to Covid-19. ‘Lockdown’ has, and is, posing a terrible burden on families and communities.
Who would ever have believed a year ago that 90 per cent of the people we meet on the footpath would have their face covered with a mask. Spain turned me into a hugger, kisser, and perpetual hand-shaker – but now once more I have to learn to readapt, leave two metres between me and any random I meet and only touch elbows with friends.
I started growing a beard a month into lockdown. (Another first for me) After about three months the total lockdown was lifted and I shaved the beard the day we opened that gates. (More adaptability!)
The most difficult thing to adapt to is not being able to visit family at will. We can travel to Westport to see Olga, Conor, Jack, Trudy and Ciara there – but I miss not seeing Ian, Lynne, Finn, Ruari, and Cillian in Spain. (Now … didn’t I tell you I would give you all a mention someday?)
This is the longest period in well over twenty years that I have been out of Spain. As well as family, I have some great friends I meet over there and I miss this pleasure greatly. But you see, Pamela and I are still getting by nicely – just because mankind is so adaptable!