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Archive for October 3rd, 2007

With super storms brewing earlier each year, floods and droughts becoming common as mud and dust, and just about everywhere tossing some sort of difference in climate conditions at the inhabiting plants and animals, I thought some might be interested in my totally unscientific take on how Seychelles is being impacted by global warming.

When I first came here in the early ’90s, it was pretty much guaranteed that at least a few weeks a couple of times a year would have people lining the streets at odd hours of the day and night waiting for a water truck to chug into dispensing range to fill a wide variety of receptacles … buckets, barrels, pots, bottles, jerry cans — you name it … that would then be carefully toted back to houses with bone-dry taps and toilet tanks for judicious use until the next time water could be driven within reach.

The dry seasons were correctly defined as such. Brushfires often grew out of control as the bush went crispy and the oil in the cinnamon leaves that cover much of this island made for aromatic conflagrations.

Small rivers all but dried up, so the roadside ‘car washes’, small turnouts near streams that attracted taxi drivers who kept buckets in the boot of their car … okay, that’s ‘trunk’ in the old language … and others who’d want to spiff up the coupe for an island drive-around, were out of luck and driving dirty.

People with jobs, but no water tanks at home (and very few had water tanks at home, for some reason I’ve yet to figure), had to stagger schedules so that someone could manage to be near the house and roadside when the bowser passed and poured. Anyone that didn’t or couldn’t was out of luck water-wise until the next day when the same problem would present.

We spent a couple of years doing the water bucket dance before building a 30,000 liter tank that would allow us, with some prudence, to go about three months without new water coming in. Since the usual dry spell was about two months, we were covered … and clean.

Sometime after we built our tank, the government installed two desalination plants, to the tune of somewhere around $24 million.

About that time, the weather began to changed in earnest.

Seychelles no longer has dry seasons. We have marginally less wet seasons, but sometimes those end up being wetter than the wet seasons. Because of this, things are much greener around here and fires don’t tend to go anywhere but the smoldery little pile of garden refuse that’s refusing to burn.

Water comes from taps, for the most part, and when it doesn’t it’s because there’s a broken pipe somewhere spewing an Old Faithful all over a road.

We do have more mosquitos now, and an extra mosquito-borne disease that wasn’t here a few years ago, an unpleasant agony called chikungunya that migrated up from Mauritius after hopping across from East Africa. We also have dengue, but still, so far, no malaria.

So, there’s good and bad in our local version of climate change, and seeing as there’s not much that can still be done to avert whatever consequences the world shall suffer because of human idiocy and greed, I’m happy enough being in one of the places that’s getting wetter, rather than dryer.

Of course, the sea level rises that are certainly coming will cause problems here, and I’m glad we live a good distance uphill, especially since high tides and rough seas already have water going many places it never used to go.

I sure do wonder, though, about the wisdom that has companies building multi-million dollar projects on beaches, but that habit seems to be continuing all over the world.

Oh well. Maybe they know something I don’t.

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