This summer the trees in our retreat center in France were turning brown by early August. When the wind blew, sucked up by soaring thermals in the searing heat, leaves scattered across the field in a whirling mass. Temperatures rose steadily until they peaked at 42 degrees [108F] in the shade and stayed there for two weeks. Everywhere the landscape was shriveled and bleached. Trees stood, branches bare. The drought had lasted all spring and the countryside was feeling its effects.
Watching the slow decay of woodlands and hedgerows in the surrounding countryside, the reality of climate change hit me in a way it hadn’t before. If this weather pattern were to continue, great swathes of forest would simply die. Agriculture would struggle and, in many cases, fail. The countryside as we know it would change beyond recognition.