If you thought climate change was a myth, check out the images of desperate tourists running to the sea to escape the bushfires and choking smoke surrounding their Rhodes hotels. Hear the stories of families separated in the middle of the night, walking up to eight hours in the dark to safety. Forced to leave his elderly parents behind because the hotels did not have wheelchairs. Instead of luxury hotels, they sleep on the floors of shops and offices, with nowhere to stay.
These images resemble a war zone. But will they discourage you from booking a summer holiday in the Mediterranean next year?
Are we so desperate for sun and cheap booze that we choose a vacation destination without considering whether it might go down the drain? Seven thousand Britons were on Rhodes when the fires broke out, with many more expected during the peak season.
The Greek prime minister says his country is “at war against fire” as the armed forces battle up to 50 new outbreaks every day. Trying to tame and control the destruction is costing billions – two pilots have lost their lives in the process. Fortunately, there have been no injuries or deaths among the tens of thousands of tourists who have had to leave their hotels and vacation villas.
Trying to tame and control the destruction of wildfires in Rhodes is costing billions
A man puts his hand to his face as fire burns in the Rhodes village of Gennadi on Tuesday.
And Greece is not the only country affected. Out of control fires are currently burning or expected to start across Europe: in Sicily, Sardinia, parts of Spain, south-eastern France, Portugal, Turkey and Cyprus. Temperatures of up to 45 degrees in recent weeks have made the beaches too hot to walk on and sleep without air conditioning impossible. And yet, tourists come out of planes into the blinding sun every day.
There are fires every summer in the Mediterranean and southern Europe, but this year the extreme temperatures and long dry spells have created a perfect “fire weather” with low humidity and strong winds and the scale of the destruction is unprecedented.
An average rise in land temperatures of 1.2 degrees, the highest since the industrial revolution nearly 150 years ago, means that when fires start, they spread more easily and are harder to control. Other countries with increased fire risk include parts of the US and Australia.
Are there more fires now than 100 years ago? Experts disagree, because the data is inaccurate and many fires were not documented. Every year, some fires in the Mediterranean are deliberately set off by terrorists or political activists who oppose tourism or local government. Others are accidents: Sparks from Christmas barbecues and cigarettes are equally to blame. Well-planted forestry with firebreaks can make fires easier to contain, but in poor rural areas that might not be the case.
Tourists queue to board coaches at Gennadi beach in Rhodes on Saturday amid bushfires
Tourists drink water from a hotel pool as they try to extinguish a fire near Lindos on Monday.
The difference between the risks of a wildfire now and 50 years ago is the sheer number of people the fire will affect. Farms and smallholdings have given way to tourist accommodation throughout the Mediterranean. Intense tourism could be seen as another form of environmental pollution. Fire suppression resources and green buffer zones will not always be considered a priority when developing resorts.
Look at the money that mass tourism brings to once-bankrupt countries like Greece that depend on it to support their economies.
You might be tempted to decide that spending your mid-summer holiday in a fire-prone country isn’t worth the risk, but don’t be fooled into thinking that staying in the UK is better for the planet. You may not incur air miles, but the UK has a sorry record when it comes to green issues. Our rivers are flooded with sewage, our water companies continue to dump untreated waste on our best beaches, and yet their bosses are demanding record bonuses.
Beautiful places like the whole Cornish country are packed to the brim. The locals cannot afford to live there, and services like healthcare cannot cope.
Locals prepare to deal with a forest fire approaching the town of Masari in Rhodes on Monday.
We Brits may not have the high temperatures of the Mediterranean, but we excel at sewage. Fourteen miles of coastline around one of our main resorts, Blackpool, is currently polluted by the local water company, and bathing is not recommended. Ideal for working families on their annual vacation. Three Merseyside beaches at Southport and on the Wirral are also polluted by sewage. I’m writing this in Kent, where my local beach sees regular sewage pollution every time it rains. After swimming, my throat usually hurts a day later; it’s more dangerous than running through the M25 Starkers.
In an effort to help curb climate change, Rishi Sunak is trying to set green targets to make the UK Carbon Neutral by 2030, but is it too little too late?
The government had pledged to phase out gas boilers and gasoline and diesel cars by 2030, but with next year’s elections, expect to see any proposals that could cost voters their hard-earned money quietly pushed. or diluted.
Even Keir Starmer is turning pale green, with Labor desperately trying to avoid announcing green commitments that come with expensive price tags. He would like London’s Labor mayor to scrap his new charges for diesel cars entering the city, which has already cost the party an election they should have won in Boris’s old seat.
A man throws water at a burning house in the Tono district of Messina, Sicily, on Wednesday.
Still, it looks like you won’t have to splash out on a plane ticket to Rhodes to experience sweltering heat any time soon: The Met Office has announced that temperatures of 40 degrees are TEN times more likely in the UK in the future, due to climate change.
Last year was the hottest on record since 1659, reaching 40 degrees (the hottest temperature ever recorded in England) in one day. The UK is now 1 degree warmer on average, with our hottest days being 4 degrees warmer. Global warming is changing our weather patterns such that blistering heat waves, like the one that produced last year’s blistering 40 degree heat, will occur every three to four years.
Principals are already complaining about changing weather patterns, begging the government to redesign the school year so parents can take kids on vacation in the cooler summer months, when rates are lower and the sun is less. healthy. risk.
That discussion has been going on for decades, and I don’t see any change in the near future.
The ‘climate damners’ say that it is too late, that we are on the path of death and destruction, and that rising temperatures will never stop.
Three quarters of 16-25 year olds say the future is ‘scary’.
I guess it’s scarier if you force yourself to run out of the beach lounger to avoid getting roasted in a bikini.