About Me

My photo
Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New year, new possibilities, new challenges

Happy new year! 

It is a rainy new years day here in northern California. I spent the first half of my day enjoying a breakfast banquet at the home of some very close friends. Great food. Excellent company. Persian tea.  The kind of meal that I grew up with in the Mediterranean, where people stay at the table for a few hours at a time, just enjoying the great company!

It is great to start the year surrounded by good friends. Good vibes. Laughter. Positive energy. And to think that I get to keep hanging out with these inspiring people for the whole year ahead! Yes, I like 2011 already!!

There is a lot to look forward to in the year ahead. New business ventures, new friendships with people I have yet to meet, new places to explore. One thing I am learning a lot about lately is tea. Yes, you read that right. You might notice how many times I mention the word in my blog entries. I am a big lover of tea. I love to drink it, to brew it, to inhale its smell...I even went to the library the other day and checked out The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook, by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss. Have only just started reading it, but I will let you know what I think once I am done.

An interesting issue, that brings together my passion for tea and global warming, is how climate change is affecting the flavour of Assam tea, grown in India's northeastern Assam state. Apparently, a steady increase in the region's temperature, has increased rainfall in the region, which results in damp growing conditions. Dampness is not good for productivity, and it creates ideal conditions for insects to attack the tea crop. As a result, the region's tea output is slowly dropping, which leads to higher prices for consumers, and the flavour of the tea that is coming out of Assam, which has traditionally been known to be strong, and full-bodied, is getting weaker. If you are interested, you can read the full Associated Press article that I read this morning, by Wasbir Hussain, here.

Wasbir Hussain also mentions that French vintners have been noticing the flavour and alcohol content of their wines changing as the temperature changes. It makes me wonder how climate change will alter the farming landscape around the world, and how changes in the agricultural landscape will, in turn, affect the our diet, and the types of wildlife living in our rural agricultural landscapes. 

Global climate change is already changing the lives of many of the world's population dramatically. A friend told me today that she was reading an article about an island in the Bay of Bengal that is claimed by both India and Bangladesh. The island, known as New Moore Island to the Indians, and South Talpatti to the Bangladeshis, has been disputed for decades. As a result of climate change and rising water levels, the island is now under water at high tide. As the author of the article points out, it is one of the few stories where climate change may actually be contributing to the easing of conflict! The full article, by Ben Arnoldy, can be read here. Unfortunately, most places being affected by climate change do not have positive stories. The Solomon Islands, The Maldives, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands are a few of the many places facing the very real reality of having to physically relocate their population in order to find solid ground.

As we enter a new year, there are a lot of exciting things to experience and learn more about. There are also many challenges that this world we live on is facing that need our immediate attention. The effect of global climate change is one of these. If we intend to continue inhabiting this planet responsibly, we need to find ways to change how we are living our lives and influencing the world around us. I have always thought that a precautionary approach to how we treat our world sounds like a smart way to go. There may be other habitable planets out there, but the one we are on is amazingly beautiful, and I would be sorry to have to abandon it because of my own lack of willingness to change. Having to find another planet to inhabit may sound far-fetched to some of us who live on enormous continents, but many of the world's island populations are already there.  

No comments:

Post a Comment