Thursday 30 August 2007

Where have we come from? Where are we going to? - # 215

This isn't smoke (it's an amazing rain cloud I snapped in May - and yes, I got a bit wet).

But, it could have been smoke. Growing up in the 1950s I actually remember smoking chimneys, the smell of coal, the heavy pong of low grade petrol in the air (which I rather liked!) and the Great Smog of December 1952 which led to the introduction of the Clean Air Act. Following that Act the levels of sunlight registered in our industrial cities leapt by 20% - if my memory is correct.

My father, if alive, would have become 100yrs old last week. I've been thinking about him and reflecting on what has changed and what has not. The attached URL indicates that the Meteorological Office, set up in 1900, immediately started to examine the problem, but it took 52 years before "somebody did something" - the problem being that until then we did not have the technology. At this point I remember that Britain was the first country in the world to build a nuclear power station, with engineers saying "energy would be so cheap we would not need to meter it"! And of course the energy was CLEAN.


  1. My first visits to UK was also in the late 50's and it's sure that there is a difference. When you walk around London today, you feel that it's really clean, houses are not black any more...

    Nuclear power for free. That would be nice, especially in a country like France where we have so much of it. I wonder how the relative energy costs have changed? Today, compared to a century ago?

  2. I remember when our sky was always a grey green in color and the art of getting your breath was reserved for young teens and the rest of us sucked smog. I flew to Victoria in British Columbia in 1976 to soeak at a college and was stunned to see a perfectly blue sky with white clouds. I realized then that I had actually forgotten what a sky is supposed to look like. Since our prevailing winds brought us the pollution big cities like Chicago and Indianapolis generated, we had grey green skys. Now, today, we have beautiful blue skies.

    Enjoyed your post today.

  3. Victoria!! Wonderful place and island!