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Jack Tame: It really puts our other problems in perspective

Jack Tame,
Publish Date
Sat, 29 Jul 2023, 9:42AM
Photo / AP
Photo / AP

Jack Tame: It really puts our other problems in perspective

Jack Tame,
Publish Date
Sat, 29 Jul 2023, 9:42AM

Have you ever been to the Hanmer hotpools?

They were my first hotpool experience. North Canterbury. And they hold a bit of a special place in my heart. 

What about Polynesian Spa in Rotorua?

Think about how it feels to walk into the hot pools. You dip a toe or a foot, you kind of brace yourself as you wait to adjust to the heat. And then, how you ease yourself in. How you move slowly, you find a spot to sit down and slip beneath the warm water. They gently do their thing, easing and relaxing your muscles. For some people the warm water gets a bit much. Maybe it’s my ice-cold heart, but I can only last so long in those hot pools before I start sweating, and I need to jump out and refresh.

The hot pools at Polynesian Spa range from 36C to 42C. Hanmer is similar.

And so is the ocean, off Miami.

Yeah... the ocean. Preliminary data this week recorded the ocean temperature off Florida as a little over 38C. That’s a full 10C warming than the ocean temperature in Fiji in the heart of summer. 

No wonder the U.N. Secretary General says we’ve reached a Global Boiling Point.

That does sound bad. I’m sure there will still be many people who dismiss the words as alarmist or hyperbole, but those affected by the extreme weather in the northern summer this month might beg to differ. 

July was certainly the hottest month globally since records began. Climate scientists reckon it was probably also the hottest month in the history of human civilisation. 100-to-120 thousand years. 

Wildfires in North America, heatwaves across Europe. How crazy were the pictures from Rhodes in Greece? This week saw the largest evacuation in the country’s modern history.

I think my favourite – if that’s the right word – extreme weather event of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, was the insane hailstorm which struck Northern Itay, just outside of Milan. The region had been sweltering in an oppressive heatwave, when black skies brought with them hailstones as large as tennis balls. As they started to melt in the warm air, the little cobbled Italian village streets were turned into rivers of melting ice. It was crazy.


I don’t know about you, but much of the time I find I subconsciously put the climate issue to the back of my mind. Or if not the back, at least the side. I make a few measly sacrifices. I ride my bike. I try to limit how much meat I consume. But honestly, a lot of the time life just gets in the way and a lot of my thoughts are consumed by other things.

But then a week like this will snap me back at attention.

The hottest month in human civilisation. I don’t mean to dismiss inflation or crime, the state of our education system, or the Football Ferns’ chances of making the playoffs.

But you’ve gotta say, it really puts our other problems in perspective.

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