Since December 2019, for all bar the first month of lockdown last year, I’ve been enjoying the sonic fruits of the labour of two large construction sites.
First a purple-hued Premier Inn crunched its way to the skies on our northerly face, an 18-month auditory treat that climaxed with a midnight road resurfacing so stimulating that I simply couldn’t sleep.
As that vast undertaking drew to a close, the ageing hotel to our west decided that what it most needed to get beach body ready was a three-month-and-counting refurbishment, clawing itself clean from the inside out.
It’s 8.30am and I count no fewer than thirty-three vans and trucks parked opposite. Fluorescent tabards flicker in the sunshine, fluttering from flagpole scaffolding. I’m listening to the sound of drilling.
The concrete funnel around us means that the sounds bounce up to the eighth floor with a clarity that sometimes makes me want chip in on workers’ conversations or sing harmonies when they do karaoke.
The rest of the time, I fantasise about the whisper of an electric, zero carbon building site—like this one, in Norway.
On a ‘historic day’ last week (and not just because it was my birthday), the twenty-seven EU countries enshrined in law the target of zero net emissions by 2050, including a 55 percent reduction by 2030.
The UK is not Norway. The UK is not part of the EU. Cyberpunk writer Bill Gibson once said: ‘The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.’
It’s a great line, but misses the kicker. In the jumbled futures of a planetary ecosystem that doesn’t distinguish by nation state or border, the consequences of that inequality are shared.
Let’s do this.