Derek – Sunday 10th July 2022

The pond is low, a foot lower than it was in spring. The hot, dry weather is drying it out rapidly. The underwater plants, hornwort and elodea, are crowding the pond, their fronds and runners weaving all through it, growing in the hot weather but with less room for expansion in the falling water level. In our book, Summertime, published in 2018, we documented 60 days of drought that year, and how difficult it was for a garden with no running water to deal with it. Now we have three one-metre cubes but only one of them has any water in it. It is about half full and that is all that remains. We are set up to collect water but can only collect it when it rains.

Our pond exemplifies climate change. In the northern hemisphere lakes and rivers are drying out. The southern hemisphere has a break as it is winter there, a break from heat that is, instead they’ll have floods.

In the UK, it has been predicted that we will have hotter and dryer summers, and wetter winters.  We have known too long this was coming and have done little to change things. Like chain smokers we cannot give up our habit. We fly, we drive, eat too much meat, use gas and oil to heat our houses, buy too many things we don’t need, as if there are no consequences. But climate change is kicking in and we will feel it in every area of our lives. In India the heat and drought has culled half the wheat crop, so none will be exported. Crops in southern Europe will be lower this year due to heat and drought. In Australia, agriculture is becoming increasingly marginal due to drought, wildfires and floods, a very biblical plague following one on another.

The bees at the end of the pond fly here and there. Quite why they suddenly leap into the air, do a circle and return to the pond, is difficult to fathom. Getting away from other bees perhaps. There’s enough for them to drink still. The water irises are 1.5 metres high, growing mightily and draining water in their transpiration.

A pond can get very low and much of its life will still survive. Though if it dries out completely, that will kill the plants, water snails, water boatmen, daphnae, and much else as all life needs water. The larvae maturing on the bottom will die too: those of the damselfly, dragonfly, and crane fly.

Quite a few of the froglets have left the pond. This weather is awful for them. They will crawl into shady woodpiles and leafy heaps to protect themselves from predators and the heat. If the drought goes on, many will succumb. The one advantage of this hot, dry weather is that snails are dormant, neither breeding or eating our plants.

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