It's been a tough week. Elder daughter Bella had gastroenteritis, which meant sleepless nights, crying, and a whole lot of sick. I mean, wow... wouldn't have thought one small girl could produce all that. We had to keep younger daughter Evie at the far end of the room to avoid contamination, bleached everything twice a day up to about quarter of a mile away, and somehow got through it. Bella's better now, she's eating and putting on weight, and best of all her tummy is not emptying itself every two minutes.
All in all, not a great week.
Better than for most people in Cuba, Florida, St Martin and all the rest, though. Better than for millions caught up in the South Asia floods, too. People are crying out about global warming again, but the floods in Asia are due almost wholly to overuse of the land - too much forest clearance, too many buildings, drainage of wetlands and so on. In short, they're due to population pressure. We're at a point where the Colorado river often runs dry before it reaches the sea, and the Yangtze brings down so much silt that it blocks its own channel. Orangutan habitats are so damaged by clearance that the species could soon vanish. Meanwhile forest clearance in West Africa has reduced evaporation, so the winds which flow east to the Ethiopian massif carry less water and the Horn of Africa suffers terrible droughts.
David Attenborough says that when he started to make wildlife documentaries, there were 2.5 billion people on Earth. Now there are 7.5 billion, and they all need food and water, they need a place to live, a job, maybe a car. That all impacts on the land. We clear more forest so we can grow enough food, drain rivers so we have enough water. We use billions of tonnes of sand every year for concrete and that can never be replaced. Our impact on the world is enormous and almost entirely negative.
Writers have used this theme before - remember the Matrix, when Agent Smith describes humankind as a virus? He's not far wrong, but hopefully there are more subtle ways to reflect our destructive behaviour back at ourselves. I have an idea myself (don't I always, squirrels?). Unfortunately I need to write at least three full novels, and probably four, before I reach the point in my story at which the idea becomes applicable.
That's a pain, but the concept for that series is a really great one, and as far as I know it's original. I've never read anything that comes close to its central theme. So I'm going to throw everything else over the side for the moment and run with that idea. Volume one is already done, two through four are blocked out and ready to go, and I have the outlines for volumes five through ten. Quite a big project, eh?
But as they say, if your project doesn't frighten you then it's not big enough... and as I say, God hates a coward.