What will Britain look like in 2100? Marek Kohn confronts a warmer future
Marek Kohn is a British science writer who has written about topics including evolution and drug use. In his latest book, Turned Out Nice: How the British Isles will Change as the World Heats Up, Kohn takes on the topic of climate change and how Britain and Ireland might turn out after a century of global warming.
A review in the Independent summarizes Kohn’s vision of London 2100′s:
His account of London is sobering. The best guess is that the metropolis will become as much of a meteorological as a cultural hotspot, with summer temperatures regularly in the 40s. Parks will become largely denuded of grass and all remaining green space will be zealously conserved, while vigilant thermal surveillance satellites hunt down illegal air-conditioning plants.
An excerpt from Turned Out Nice describing summertime London 90 years into the future can also be read in Sunday’s Independent. The city is 7C hotter with crowded parks, spongy water-absorbent pavements and ‘climate ghettos’ populated by the refugees of global warming. In 2100, climate change has not just influenced physical conditions like weather and infrastructure, but has put its mark on the UK’s social, political, economic and cultural norms:
While they are nowadays diffident about politics in general, citizens are often ardent in their devotion to civic duties on their own doorsteps. Having accepted that environmental responsibility demands self-sacrifice, they watch their neighbours like hawks for signs of slacking or self-indulgence. Believing also that in crowded communities, harmony depends on the suppression of disturbance or inconvenience, they are ever ready to explain this to neighbours who have left toys in their front gardens or music playing with windows open. New arrivals from overseas receive extensive guidance about local customs, to which they rapidly learn to conform.
Back in the present, British climate change books are not as hot as the future Marek Kohn presents. Though Ian McEwan’s latest novel, Solar, recently won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, a Guardian report from the festival describes novelists as often reluctant to politicize their art. This is understandable – creating a good novel gets that much harder when you have an agenda that has to be backed up by up-to-date scientific research. This makes readable science books all the more important.
by Graham Land