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The canon of Tewkesbury Abbey claims that the recent severe floods in the UK are a clear indication of the country's urgent climate crisis.
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The canon of Tewkesbury Abbey claims that the recent severe floods in the UK are a clear indication of the country’s urgent climate crisis.

The Rev Canon Nick Davies is currently at the peak of Tewkesbury Abbey tower, discussing the flood.

This is not a religious lecture; the priest is not reciting from the Book of Genesis. Instead, he is addressing the flood waters that are visibly surrounding the medieval market town once more.

Although Davies typically shares the teachings of God, on Friday he aimed to communicate a different message: he wanted to address the urgent issue of climate change.

“Tewksbury has experienced flooding since the time of the Romans,” he remarks, surveying the widespread inundation that has submerged numerous residences, as well as the cricket field, recreational area, and parking lot.

However, with the current climate change, we are noticing an increase in the frequency of these severe weather occurrences. The rise in global temperatures allows clouds to contain more water vapor, resulting in quicker and heavier rainfall in various locations, including here. This is evident in our current weather patterns.

For me, this is not solely about the floods in Tewkesbury. It serves as a reminder for the entire nation. We can’t continue to be caught off guard every time a storm causes this kind of damage.

“The discussion centers around our impact on the environment through carbon emissions, efficient use of land, and avoiding development on flood-prone areas. It requires a coordinated approach across the Severn river basin to prevent repeating these issues in the near future.”

Tewkesbury is synonymous with flooding, reinforced by the striking image of its famous Norman abbey towering above the overflowing Severn and Avon rivers. In 2007, the town of 15,000 was one of the worst-hit in some of the most severe flooding experienced in the UK in decades.

Although some residents of Tewkesbury may feel a sense of familiarity and perhaps even resignation, this is not the sentiment shared by Davies. He assumed his position in September and is enthusiastic about addressing the urgent issue of climate change.

The speaker expresses frustration with Tewkesbury constantly being associated with flooding. He acknowledges that the floodplains serve their purpose, but emphasizes the need to address the effects of climate change on our planet and weather.

Davies discusses potential reactions to the crisis, examining the necessity of air travel for individuals and exploring options for reducing carbon emissions in transportation.

The Rev Nick Davies, pictured here on the tower of Tewkesbury Abbey, with the flood waters behind him

He asked, “What are we doing individually to reduce our carbon footprint? And how are we advocating for legislation, engaging in national discussions, and furthering international agreements?”

“We must increase our pace in addressing climate change. We cannot continue to be caught off guard and must acknowledge the reality of the situation. These images being shared globally can serve as a wake-up call and allow us to have important discussions about our planet’s future.”

A line of historical houses on Gloucester Road, located near the abbey, experienced a breach overnight, resulting in their ground floors being submerged in at least two feet of water.

Sarah Rosser, who is 49 years old, has resided in one of the residences for a span of three years along with her spouse and two adolescent children. This is the initial occurrence of a flood that she has encountered as a resident. Her in-laws have occupied the house four houses away for a period of 44 years, thus she was cognizant of the potential hazard.

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She explains that they were aware of the agreement. They have a lovely home and, to be straightforward, without the possibility of a flood, they wouldn’t be able to afford it. The advantages are greater than the risks for her. However, she expresses that it is incredibly sad and distressing.

Tewkesbury Abbey, surrounded by flood water

After they were forced to leave their home on Thursday afternoon, Rosser and her family, including her husband, in-laws, and one son, stayed overnight at the Bell hotel, which was conveniently located only 100m away on Gloucester Road.

“I have not had restful sleep for the past two nights,” she states. “What I am most anxious about is the duration of this situation. We have six months ahead of us with the downstairs area being a complete mess.”

Matthew Bloodworth, aged 41 and residing just a few houses away, purchased his house three years ago with his wife, Caroline Price. They, too, are encountering flooding for the first time.

He had stayed in a room above the local Wetherspoon’s pub for the night and upon his return, discovered that the ground floor of their house had been destroyed. The laminate flooring was lifted, all the appliances were missing, and the paint had peeled. Fortunately, they were able to salvage the piano.

Bloodworth was informed about the potential for flooding prior to purchasing the property, but was taken aback by the extent of the damage. According to them, the previous owners had mentioned that the garden gets flooded once or twice a year, but in the two and a half years since they moved in, it has never happened.

He states that he makes an effort to focus on the positive. On Friday morning, he made the choice to purchase his initial set of wellies and visited Mountain Warehouse on Tewkesbury High Street, where there was only one pair remaining in a size 12. “And I happen to wear a size 12,” he exclaims.

Source: theguardian.com