It's been a hectic week here at Talk-a-Lot Towers. I've really struggled to get back into my normal routine. It's amazing how three weeks off seem to have lobotomised me to the point where I can't remember which day Emi needs his gym kit, when I need to put the recycling out and what time we have to be at swim club ... .
But, looking on the bright side, the sun has been shining, the sky has been blue and, everything looks fresh and green in its new spring finery.
Did you celebrate Earth Day?
I had grand plans to go for a walk in a bluebell wood with the Wonder Dog, but I ended up having to stay indoors to catch up on some work ... so boring ... . Maybe I'll sneak out to see those bluebells later today. I'm meeting one of my very best friends for lunch and she's always amenable to a spot of bluebell ringing, so let's see how we get along ... .
I think it's great that there is an Earth Day to get us to focus on the big environmental issues, such as climate change, that will probably affect us all over the course of our lives, and may well haunt the generations that are to come. I know there are a lot of folk out there who think that it's all a load of old hooey, and who question whether the science justifies the conclusions. I'm not a climate scientist, and I don't have an 'ology degree, but, just as a matter of common sense, I'd have thought that the consequences of getting it wrong are too great for us to gamble the future by not taking care of our environment today.
I wouldn't give Emi, my nine year-old son, a box of matches to play with, so it seems rash to play fast and loose with the levers that could control global warming, and are liable to destroy the planet for him and the children of the future.
And by the same token it's sad that we're on course to pass on a world in which so many species will, over the course of our lifetimes, get pushed over the precipice and into extinction.
Emi has always been a big fan of the wildlife programmes on television, which we watch enthusiastically together. These days when we see the lion prides in Africa or the bison herds on the Great Plains of America he asks me in a small, concerned voice whether the wonderful creatures on the screen are on the list of endangered species. It's sad to think of how he might not be able to watch many them in the future with his own children. He's very keen on the Natural History Museum, but I find all those dead, stuffed animals depressing. It's sad to think of how many of these wonderful, dynamic creatures might only be represented in the dusty halls of such museums in the future.
Last Saturday I went to my nephew's first Holy Communion in Barcelona. I didn't understand a lot of what was going on as the service was performed in Catalan, a language in which I'm not fluent. So I whiled away the time dreaming about all the people who'd sat there in the past ... perhaps not quite concentrating on what the Padre was saying either ... . I thought of how the local folk had gone to that same little church and sat listening to Mass on those same pews throughout the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorship that followed.
Barcelona was, for the most part, a Republican city, strongly opposed to Franco and the fascists, and for the generation of parents who'd sat where we were sitting during those dark days the future must have looked pretty bleak.
Each generation faces its own challenges. But it seems to me that if our grandparents' generation were able to defeat fascism, then surely our generation ought to be able to clean up its act and not pass on a world in which the very future itself has been ransomed for the profit of a few. We are, after all, talking about housekeeping rather than taking up arms to fight a World War.
I've seen great civic change in my own homeland, Northern Ireland, where a transformative generation have stepped away from sectarian violence and chosen to live together in peace and to work together to build a better future for all their children. There's no doubt in my mind that when we all pull together we can move mountains and change the world. The popular response to Earth Day leaves me with hope that there are enough of us out there who are prepared to make a difference.
So a belated Happy Earth Day and all the best for now,