Comment: The heat is on in a fragile environment

Comment: The heat is on in a fragile environment

The weather is truly splendid, one of our favourite topics of conversation, and indeed for many elevated to the level of a pastime.

Finding ourselves smack bang in the middle of a heat wave generates a somewhat different kind of a discourse, but in many ways it bears many similarities to other extreme events, which have grown more commonplace in recent years.

Anyone old enough to remember the late 1970s or have memories of long ago summers will tell you that yes the summers were better once upon a time.

Now a new generation is getting a glimpse of this, and the joys of a hot Irish summer are manifest for all to see, not least in a tourism spike as many opt to travel at home, and a general feeling of well being.

Of course it's not all purely sunshine.

The good weather does also highlight our relationship with the environment, an environment which seems to be growing ever more fragile as the effects of climate change become more pronounced.

The pressure on water resources is a case in point. A hose pipe ban is likely to be extended to more parts of the country as the dry spell continues.

The curse of the Ancient Mariner - 'Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink' is hardly an unprecedented phenomenon.

Our usage and reliance on water is something that we do take for granted, and little heed is taken of the pressures on the system from an expanding population which has been weaned to a large extent on first world services.

Similarly at national level the evidence clearly suggests that we are meeting none of the set targets on climate change, with a very low compliance rate.

It's ironic for a country in which the weather and climate plays such a major part of the national consciousness that this should be so.

No one can deny the realities of climate change any longer, as the frequence of extreme weather events has gathered pace.

However, hubris has marked our approach to the issue to date. This is perhaps one of the greatest long term issues facing us all, one that needs long term vision and planning to counter it.

Let's enjoy the continued good weather, but let's realise that its time for more proactive action on the environment front, at both local and national level.