It has been another week of appalling flooding and the people of north east Wales have felt the impact more than most.   The city of St. Asaph was turned into a lake overnight and other places such as Ruthin were severely hit. In St. Asaph , 91 year-old Margaret Hughes was drowned in her own home ; another tragedy after those in the West Country, which included a rough-sleeper killed when a tree fell on her.
   What I found terrifying was the footage of the beautiful village of Llanfair Talhaiarn being overcome by the force of the River Elwy at night-time. It was nightmarish : like the subconscious emerging to become reality, with the river bursting its banks and breaking through defences.
   It was saddening to see residents packed into Leisure Centres. Surely in a civilised society they could foot the bill for people to stay in hotels and guest houses? When it comes to war, they soon find the money!
   Ruthin's Glasdir Estate was affected very badly, with 400 evacuated. Built three years ago and marketed before that by the WDA as a prime site, it's no wonder they felt bitter and cheated.
   The whole estate was built on a floodplain, yet they were assured that protection was in place and there was a one in a thousand chance of flooding!
   First Minister Carwyn Jones visited these communities, as did Environment Minister John Griffiths. Jones was the only serving politician I heard mention global warming, yet his own government must take a responsibility.
   The Welsh Assembly Gov. have failed to stop the increasing use of opencast methods of mining coal for power stations like Aberthaw and so are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions which cause global warming.
   The only solution is for Cymru to take complete control of its resources through nationalisation and co-operatives. In that way, our energy policy can be planned and determined and prices kept at reasonable levels.
   As I've argued previously, we need a totally different form of nationalisation, with elected management and decision-making which includes consumer representatives. It must be non-hierarchical and have little resemblance to the old form, which was modelled on autocratic private enterprise.
   We can no longer call these awful floods of winter and summer mere natural disasters : they are all part of a wider environmental demise.
   As the Jet Stream moves southwards with ice-caps melting, sea levels and temperatures rise and we can fully expect these floods to be far more regular and serious.
   There is no power without ownership and just as the purely Nationalist solution fails to take this into account by offering no real socialist alternatives, so the Green one is still based on the delusion that capitalism will somehow deliver if you put pressure on it.
   An Energy Cymru could operate both centrally and in a highly devolved fashion : planning and executing large hydro-electric schemes for instance, while backing solar and wind farms owned and run by local co-operatives.
   Housing ( call it 'council' or 'social') must be a priority; not only with grants for insulation and solar panels, but with new houses built fully insulated and sustainable.
   To built up barriers, bail out the wealthy insurance brokers and then back fossil fuel answers is sheer hypocrisy, and WAG as well as Cameron are guilty of it.

                            ***********************

    For many years, flooding and its aftermath have haunted my imagination.
   When I first came to Merthyr we had one year of extremely bad flooding and one resident of the old Rhydycar cottages (which looked nothing like they do now in St. Fagan's) died as a result. In my first collection 'The Common Land', there's a poem about it.
   However, my latest novella for teenagers 'The Climbing tree' focuses on this issue throughout and ,recently, I used the book as background to write a 'Letter From The Future' for the Sustainable Wales website www.sustainablewales.org.uk
   I was asked to do so by fellow writer and green activist Rob Minhinnick, who is one of the forces behind that organisation.
   We had a short debate about the date of my letter, as he wanted it placed in the next century.
   I decided on 2084. I'm not trying to claim any great comparison with Orwell here, but in my view the events of the recent weeks have borne out my choice. Unless we act urgently....
   I realise now that two songs shaped my imagination when I wrote 'The Climbing Tree' and my short 'Letter' from 2084, though this is retrospective awareness : two very different interpretations of the same theme.
   The first is Randy Newman's 'Louisiana', which was prophetic when you think of what happened in New Orleans many years later.
   It is from the viewpoint of a person caught up in the floods, who has suffered greatly as it 'Rained real hard and it rained for a real long time , / Six feet of water on the streets of Evangeline..' It also shows the cynicism
of the character as he describes the patronising response of President Coolidge.
   Peter Gabriel shares with Newman an uncanny ability to inhabit many different persona and in 'Here Comes The Flood' there's a dystopian world with a flood of almost Biblical proportions.
   The character takes a similar route to my character Oz in the book and 'Letter', though Oz doesn't actually appear in both ; he is revered and spoken about.
   Here, however, he describes the beginning of his strange journey......

                                            OZ'S     TALE

Trudging down valley against the current
but with the gradient, along the ridges
against the tide of flood-refugees.

Is it a kind of madness moves me?
I am no saint. The constant rain
sludging the paths, dragging me down ;

the drench-damp seeps into bones,
hollow pipes ready for bursting,
my head is the only dam.

I meet them : families, couples, singles
who have lost everything, some
who have even lost themselves;

aiming towards Mynydd Gobaith
where they believe there'll be light
and the storms will finally cease.

I always think of my comrades,friends,
those taken to the trees, bird-people
with claw-feet but still no flight.

Ahead, the cities and the towns
(what remains above the rising),
searching for cries and hands in the drowning.




    
   
 


12/27/2012 07:40

We need as many as possible to use solar energy.

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02/25/2013 02:32

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11/05/2013 04:27

Services repairing damage caused by flood

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