Save The Planet; Go Nude… Go Green.
As I write this it is late September, and living in the north of England, the mornings already have a gentle nip in the air. So much for summer, says I, and mull over in my mind, how long will it be before I turn the central heating on.
For some naturists, their naturism doesn’t stop when the leaves turn yellow and the rain is cold; they just move indoors. So for them, central heating is an essential part of life as they continue to cook and clean in the buff. In the past I have been at one with them, taking a bath when I got home from work it was nothing to me to cook and eat my evening meal naked, and even carried out a spot of housework like it, before retiring for the night. Summer or winter, what did it matter? I was comfortably warm. I wasn’t harming anyone.
This habit is about to end I think, and not just because I now live in a ground floor flat.
During 2011 a number of articles, all published by the BBC News website, have caught my attention and perhaps the most alarming was dated 16 September. Sorry if I’m telling you something you already know, but for those that don’t, each summer and winter the Arctic ice waxes and wanes, like the moon. This summer, US scientists measuring the extent of the ice cap found that it had reduced to its second-lowest level since records began. Although it is still massive – at 4.33 million square kilometres – it is 36% below the 1979-2000 average. Just 4% – or 160,000 sq km – above the lowest recorded minimum seen in 2007. The figure announced was a preliminary one and in October the final figure will be published and it could be better, or worse.
By itself, the melting of the ice caps does not signify very much but it is considered a sign that planet Earth is going through a period of Climate Change.
In January 2011, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published a report that looked at the most likely climate conditions for 2080, so well within the lifetimes of your children or grandchildren, and considered how European nations would fair if we were experiencing them now. In the worst-case scenario, it would not surprise anyone that the Mediterranean countries came off worst, projecting a net cost to their economies.
Oddly enough, Ana Iglesias, professor of agricultural economics at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid explained that a larger rise in temperature would be better for us, as it would allow the UK and Ireland to introduce Mediterranean crops or grow some of those we do now, like tomatoes, outside for longer. The report also pointed out that tourism in the UK would increase as Spaniards, Italians and Greeks to spend their summer holidays in our cooler climate. This would lead to an overall net benefit even if wide spread damage expected due to flooding cost almost as much as the gains. If there was only a small temperature rise then we shall be able to continue to grow many of the same crops we do now, but with lower yields because of warmer, drier conditions and not those from the Mediterranean, but as the cost of flooding remained the same, our economy would be in trouble.
It is not only the crops from the land that will change. Those from the sea will change too with fish such as Red Mullet, Hake and Sole becoming more abundant as our coastal waters warm up. While staples like Cod and Haddock will move north. Overall, however, despite the wider species count in our waters and a generally more welcoming climate for the British Isles, the world will not be better off for being warmer. That is why the Governments for the industrial nations have agreed targets for reducing carbon dioxide, one of the main but not the most damaging, greenhouse gases that we pump into the atmosphere.
When the Labour Party came into power in 1997, it set a target of reducing carbon emissions by 20% of the 1990 levels by 2010, along with our EU partners. A target it did not achieve. When the coalition came to power last year it attempted to move the EU to a more ambitious target of 30% of 1990 levels by 2020. However, independent analysis by Cambridge Econometrics says that the UK will narrowly miss its carbon budgets up to 2017 and the gap will grow from then on.
You have just read a considerable number of words to bring you to this point, one that you may already know about or have little interest in, but stay with me. I have a reason and there is a naturist link to it, honest.
Our very name, naturist, suggests a link to the natural world around us and the early pioneers would take to the countryside with the aim of enjoying fresh air and exercise, and sunshine without the encumbrance of clothing. True, this ‘getting back to nature’ wasn’t for the good of the planet but it was an attempt to tap into nature’s strength and purity, wrote Kathy Blanchard for an article in N Magazine, 30 Ways to go Green Naturally. It was perhaps only as central heating grew popular in the UK that thoughts turned to winter, indoor naturism and with our