Reported on the BBC Today Programme, on July 1st, the North American Space Agency (NASA), the clever chaps behind sending people into outer space and bringing them home safely, are reporting some good news on the hole in the ozone layer, it is getting smaller. Having shrunk in size, by an amount equal to the size of India, it appears that efforts by the global community in reversing the trend are having a positive effect. So is global warming sorted? Not yet we are told, and not for some time to come, but it is a step in the right direction. Apparently abandoning the use of CFC’s under the Montreal Protocol (1987) has had the desired effect. The chemical composition of CFC’s, used in dry cleaning machines, refrigerators and aerosol cans, was largely responsible for causing the hole causing much of the reported global warming as a consequence. Felling forests across the globe did not help. CFC’s are no longer used in dry cleaning machines, refrigerators, or aerosol cans.
Reforestation throughout the North East, and the wider world, is surely a breath of fresh air, literally. In restoring woodlands in the City and County by means of employing sensible tree management these magnificent and often ancient plants are being given a new lease of life. It is widely understood that trees draw in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, we would not survive long without trees. These are plants that live longer than almost any other species, indeed there are many trees amongst us that have been there since long before the Battle of the Somme whose centenary is being acknowledged presently.
Forests provide wonderful opportunities for getting out in the fresh air where people can walk and talk and relax. Hamsterley Forrest, for example, is such a resource. Hamsterley Forest is only eleven miles away from Durham City centre, close to Bishop Auckland, and easily accessible. There is much to do, with cycle trails, walking trails and a Gruffalo Experience for the little ones.
There are many other fabulous places to go, just walking through Durham with its tree lined riverside is a fine experience, plus the newly restored Wharton Park is right on our doorstep, and these places all have lovely scenery and a breathing space in our busy lives.
On a global scale it is pleasing that defensive strategies are working, indeed it is a life saver for peoples living close to the edge, a sea level rise of a couple of meters (or yards) would submerge many island communities. More locally it is pleasing and good for the soul to see how the country and more specifically Durham City and County is looking so bonny. As for global warming, at the risk of being glib, I for one would be pleased if our Summer would warm up a bit. Rain, rain go away, come again another day, a few hot sunny days would not go amiss.
Now, wellies on, raincoat at the ready, rain proof hat sorted, and it is time for some fresh air…