I was recently asked if I had an interest in the environment before I started working for an environmental publisher. The question caught me off guard and I gave a pretty rubbish answer, saying something about having no special interest but an interest nonetheless.
The trouble is I take it for granted that everyone must be interested in the environment. Growing up in the Sussex countryside I was immersed in the changes of each season and became acutely aware of the impacts of climate change on the places I loved. The stream that was knee-deep when I was a child is now just a trickle in winter, and non-existent in summer.
But in cities it is also easy to see environmental issues in action.
I’ve just come back from Vienna, and even there, a city far less overrun by cars and people than London, the cathedral is being blasted to remove thick layers of soot. A bridge over the river in the Stadtpark looks very Venetian, but sadly the river itself was almost dry. Fortunately the Danube is still full, and suddenly meeting the wide body after tearing along the Danube Canal (Donaukanal) on a catamaran was breathtaking.
To say that environmentalists live in the countryside or that climate change deniers have never left the city is clearly wrong then. Even those of us who spend most of our time in office buildings could see the difference that the flight suspensions had on the London skies: clear, bright and fresh, that’s a sight to remember.