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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Arctic scare on Blog Action Day

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 11, and Nell, 8, spent three happy months during summer 2007 travelling around Britain (pic is of a visit to Lapland via a Kent woodland). Now we're home but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint.

Waking up to the radio isn't a good idea. This morning it turns out that the explorers who tramped across the icy Arctic measuring ice cores have worked out that this frozen sea is going to melt very summer from around 2020. That's interesting says the radio voice, so good for shipping having a new route up top. Then a scientist, dispassionately, points out that this will really change the world's climate - instead of a lovely bright white world lid there will be a dark sea-colour shade. I guess the albedo effect sizzles up.

White to black is a big change.

For a moment I imagine frantically painting every roof in the UK white. We're not that far from the Arctic, would it help? And then I get angry, this scientist is Mr Calm. A Dickens' Gradgrind of facts - ironic seeing as it is world blog action day, see here. It's up to those of us able to feel how bad that is, to make a better fuss.

Actually people near where I live make more fuss about car parking, and school dinners, oh yes and dog poo, than this scientist is making about the Arctic's ice crisis.

I specialise in the small: being enery efficient at home; not having a car; helping out a school climate club; finding ways for secondary school students to store wet shoes and coats so it is more practical for them to walk to-and-from school.
My university students (on the odd days that I teach) look perplexed by the amount of green and climate changing examples I can dredge up. They are looking for facts from their tutor, not convictions. They find it odd to be asked to be more passionate in their research, their writing and thinking - especially as some feel quite distant from the course objectives. To try and unfreeze them I've asked the 24-year-old climate activist Tamsin Omond, who set up Climate Rush, to come and talk about what motivates her on tuesday 27 October at the London College of Communication's main lecture theatre (2.30-3.30pm if you want to join us, it's free but consider buying Tamsin's new book Rush: the making of a climate activist) available here.

I felt far more distant from the Arctic when I knew it was solid ice. Knowing it's giong to be a swishy, cold, dark sea gives me a horrible jolt. When my family next plays our travel game - being in the UK while pretending to be somewhere else through geographical, physical or cultural clues - we won't need to visit an ice rink to think Arctic.

We won't need to wait for a cold snap.

We won't need to detour to Kent to a Disneyesque-winter wonderland (see how we did it in the pic above).

We'll just pop out of the door and stand by the reservoir looking at the canoe club. We'll imagine they are the new polar explorers.

My hope is that small changes, the ideas of Friends of the Earth's Big Ask, or Age of Stupid film make Franny Armstrong's 10:10 or suggestions from the Government-backed Energy Saving Trust will help people make some changes to their lives that tackle climate change... and help slow down this predicted Arctic melt.

1 comment:

Arts London News said...

Hi, the Tamsin Omond talk will be covered in this week's print or online version of Arts London News. Didn't quite catch your full name though, is it possible you could email it through (to lucyd_88@hotmail.com), as we'd like to include your quote on why you invited her. Many thanks.