AD536 – The Worst Year to Be Alive!

There’s been some pretty bad years in history, and certainly for many around the world this last 12 months has been up there from a personal point of view. But what about full global events that affect everyone to a far greater degree than Covid? There was 1349 when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe, or 1918 that killed 50 to 100 million with the Great War and the follow up Spanish flu. Look back further and there is recorded far worse. In 536, “the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year,” wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. We all know what happens when the sun don’t shine…..

For a long time no one has known what caused this darkness that actually lasted for at least 18 months according to historical records from different sources, untill recently analysis of a Swiss Glacier by some jokers from the Climate Change Institute of the University of Maine identified ash layers from what must have been a cataclysmic eruption in 536, followed by two other events from the same volcano that spewed so much ash into the atmosphere it effectively closed the curtains to the sun. The repeated blows, followed by plague, plunged Europe into stagnation that lasted until 640, when another signal in the ice—a spike in airborne lead—marks a resurgence of silver mining, which isn’t actually relevant to my story, but interesting. Still later, the ice is a window into another dark period. Lead vanished from the air during the Black Death period from 1349 to 1353, revealing an economy that had again ground to a halt.

The point of this is that as Covid has shown, it’s not beyond the realms of possibly that major #%^$! can happen to us at a global level, and that as a country we shouldn’t give up our golden goose, food production, for trees or anything else, because we never know when we might need all of it. And it may be sooner than we think…read on…

On 16 April 2010, 16,000 of Europe’s usual 28,000 daily scheduled passenger and cargo flights were cancelled due to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption.  For weeks after this air services were severely disrupted. The UK, which had been subsidising their farmers not to farm much of their land, almost ran out of food given its reliance of other countries and air services to supply it. Other eruptions of a bigger scale in the last 200 years would have shut the skies for 6 months or longer. The UK would have run out. Plain and simple. 

And that’s it, my point. We are so keen as a country to lead the charge on climate change policy that we have forgotten the real cause of it, over population, and the fact that countries like us need to be able to supply food to an over populated world, especially when the proverbial hits the fan. Politicians can’t eat trees, even when they’re really hungry! Kill that Golden Goose!