A look back at environmentalism in 2012

As Wednesday night’s heavy rainfall threatened a return to the disastrous floods of two weeks ago, it underlined just how much of an unpredictable and dangerous year it has been for the climate.

Even sleepy Durham couldn't escape the terrible flooding

Even sleepy Durham couldn’t escape the terrible flooding

The Guardian Environment team has produced a cracking reflection on extreme weather, environmentalism and nature over the last twelve months with an insight from each of its correspondents. From Superstorm Sandy to droughts across America, from this winter’s UK flooding to ash dieback across Europe, it has been quite a year. What is striking is how prominently the likes of conservation concerns and climate politics have featured in not just environmental news, but on national front pages as well.

Have a read of the article: it certainly shook me out of almost forgetting that all these phenomena and developments had occurred in just one year. Additionally, this video from US-based Climate Desk, included in the article, provides a shocking visual account of disasters across the Atlantic.

One thing I think the Guardian contributors have missed is the steady rise of the Green Party in British politics. Jenny Jones, the Green candidate in the London mayoral election, sneaked past the Lib Dem Brian Paddick into third place with 4.48% of the first preference votes. Of course the mayoral election represents something more of a personality contest than a General Election, but the result remains an encouraging step forward for Green politics in the UK. In the autumn, Natalie Bennett’s election as the party’s new leader gave the Green’s some useful media coverage as she placed winning seats in local government at the top of her priorities.

As the weather appears to become increasingly unpredictable, with events such as we have seen in 2012, at least steady growth in green politics offers some encouragement for the year ahead.

Photograph: Matt Lee (Palatinate)


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