The Thames Flood Barrier is just down the road from where I live and I regularly cycle past it.
Its a constant reminder of the possible / probable consequences of global warming for London.
Last time I cycled past it the barrier was up for its regular testing. "Gates" slide up from the river bed between these "towers", forming a solid barrier - 30 metres tall at the highest point. It looked eerie and portentous - a wall across the river.
I can't help being glad that I live on the "right" side of the barrier, and also up a hill.
I'm not proud of that fact (the being glad, rather than living the right side....).
I found it sobering though not surprising that James Lovelock - one of the early prophets of the green movement - thinks that we have left it all too late.
I also sometimes wonder if our concern with ecology isn't ultimately self-centred and self-absorbed, another symptom of our anthropocentrism - we care about the consequences of our actions because they affect us not because they affect the earth. The earth will not be bothered if we expire from those consequences. The earth will adapt, and survive, and continue without us.
I enjoyed very much Margaret Atwood's book Oryx and Crake which presents some interesting projections about our use and abuse of science and the environment. Some of the ideas and images have stayed with me. I plan to read the "sequel" (-ish, not quite apparently) Year of the Flood.
Not so long ago I confessed my button habit - one of my favourite collections.
Another favourite is stones. I cannot CANNOT walk on a beach without picking up stones and I still have stones which I collected on family holidays as a teenager. I have a chunk of marble and pyrite which I remember picking up and carrying on a long hike up Ben Lomond and back down again, in Scotland .... (sorry short of time, otherwise I'd post a photo of it, it is particularly beautiful)
Some of my stones lie in little places around the house
But most of them now have found a home in the garden
The granite stones with marble stripes and patterns mostly come from Jersey, the Channel Islands. Though some of the marbley ones come from childhood holidays in the Lake District. I could tell you which are which too.... Memory is bizarre sometimes.
The stones with holes in them come from beaches on the East and South Coast of England - especially Bexhill and Brighton.
The girl shed is looking a little autumnal and slightly neglected now and I've not seen any frogs in the frog pool for weeks.
But the stones will be there all winter, being lovely.