From New York to Germany and China, the uncanny reality of the climate crisis is impinging on more and more lives
In the depths of winter, at the pandemic’s height, an idea of this summer took hold. It would, we told ourselves, be the summer of outdoors, particularly for children, who had been shut inside on screens for too long. Travelling abroad might be out, but that was fine. If the past year had taught us anything, it was the value of small pleasures, closer to home. On freezing March days, I warmed myself with an image of July and August in Central Park. I would read and commune with nature while camp counsellors forced my kids to spend eight hours a day playing rounders.
As it turns out, this isn’t really happening. We’re almost halfway through the absurdly long school holidays – New York state schools let out in June and don’t go back until 13 September, a closure of almost 11 weeks – and for the first time, our summer schedule is being influenced less by cost, work or babysitting, than by something to which I’ve never given serious consideration: weather.