Category Archives: climate change

Summer Rain in Winter

Rain enchants me. Always has. Our firstborn son’s middle name attests to this: Rain. He isn’t named after just any rain, I hasten to add. He’s named after a particular kind of rain, the kind of rain that arrives for the first time in the merry month of May, the kind of rain that power-washes the filthy streets of Montreal in late spring: namely, summer rain.

We pay attention to the things we love. Careful attention. And I love rain. So when it rained today in Montreal, I couldn’t help but notice that something wasn’t right. This wasn’t the winter rain made famous by Guns N’ Roses; it was a summer rain.

I’ve never seen anything like it: a summer rain in February. It was extremely weird. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t beautiful. Because it was beautiful: the sound of it sublime, the smell of it intoxicating. And yet I’m left with a deep sense of foreboding.

—John Faithful Hamer, Blue Notes (2017)

The Great Wall of India

10626817_10152382893102683_6818992889370798341_nIn my dream, the pretty South Asian reporter with a British accent was talking about something called the The Great Wall of India. They had built it, she said, along the north end of the Bay of Bengal, on the southern limit of the continental shelf, about 200km from the vulnerable shoreline shared by India, Bangladesh, and Burma. Composed entirely of materials manufactured out of captured carbon, the seawall continues along the edge of the continental shelf for a staggering 500km.

Part of the Global Marshall Plan Initiative, the original purpose of The Great Wall of India was to protect the most densely populated place on Earth from the worst ravages of climate change; however, quite unexpectedly, it has become an excellent source of habitat for marine life (especially baby fish). As a direct result of The Great Wall of India, fish stocks in the Bay of Bengal (as well as the Indian Ocean) have been bouncing back at an astounding rate. Local fishermen are reporting catches the likes of which have not been seen since the early twentieth century.

Though they had originally hoped to be done by 2032, unforeseen engineering problems delayed completion of The Great Wall of India by a little over seven years. As such, though it was supposed to take 15 years to build it, it ended up taking closer to 22 years. Even so, when construction came to a close six months ago, in the fall of 2039, the citizens of the world beheld it with a kind of divine awe. Paid for completely with worldwide carbon taxes, The Great Wall of India is now (in 2040) the largest human-made structure on Planet Earth. It can be seen clearly from space.

—John Faithful Hamer, The Goldfish (2017)

p.s. It occurs to me now, and only in retrospect, that the reporter in my dream looked a whole lot like my friend Sara Nuzhat Amin (minus the British accent, of course).