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Water and Fire

Thoughts on Post-Covid Environmentalism

Joe Cornish

Joe Cornish

Professional landscape photographer. His personal website is www.joecornishphotographer.com/



Water and Fire succeed The Town, the pasture and the weed. Little Gidding, from the Four Quartets, TS Eliot.

It certainly won’t have been missed by most On Landscape readers that this summer in the northern hemisphere has brought yet another round of terrifying climate extremes. Admittedly, with the climate crisis a firmly established item in the news agenda, we should always treat hyped-up headlines with caution. But the floods in central Europe, heatwaves in the Mediterranean, and (especially) in Canada and the American West Coast, and continuing wildfires in northern Siberia, the Amazon and elsewhere are clear symptoms of rising global temperatures. That these rising temperatures are anthropogenically caused is no longer a matter of debate among scientists.

It certainly won’t have been missed by most On Landscape readers that this summer in the northern hemisphere has brought yet another round of terrifying climate extremes.

Oakinhillfog 20 08 13

Local knowledge brought me back to this oak tree in a thick fog. No other lighting could simplify the dynamic yet complex forms sufficiently for it to work.

It seems inevitable that this is leading many to feel anxious and even a sense of despair at our apparent inability to do anything to help. I’ve had many worrying conversations which often end with the response (paraphrased), “Why should I do anything when China/India/Russia (name your preferred-industrial-superstate-of-choice) are still building coal-fired power stations…what’s the point?” Apathy, disconnect and a defeatist sense of impotence worries me almost as much as the climate crisis itself.



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