The force of nature in a changing climate

Walking through Millhouses Park yesterday left me in awe of the force of nature as I watched the torrent of water flooding the banks of the River Sheaf.

Monday, 21st February 2022, 6:41 am
The River Sheaf in Millhouses Park
The River Sheaf in Millhouses Park

The river was very near to completely bursting its banks and paths were submerged as tonnes of water flooded down from the hills above Sheffield towards the city centre.

One dog walker told me he had driven back from Manchester Airport to Sheffield yesterday and many of the roads through the Peak District had been flooded or were becoming impassable.

“It makes you wonder how people can say climate change doesn’t exist when you see this,” he said as the torrent of water rushed past.

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Of course, this is nothing new. Millhouses Park has flooded many times in the past, most tragically in June 2007 when teenager Ryan Parry lost his life in the waters.

Ryan and his friends walked home from King Ecgbert’s School in Dore when buses were cancelled and stopped off at Millhouses Park en-route, where he fell into the deep, fast-flowing water in the swollen river.

It’s on days like yesterday Ryan’s family must relive that terrible time nearly 15 years ago and my heart goes out to them.

You cannot imagine what it must be like for them every time there is the threat of flooding, especially at Millhouses.

But the number of storms which now batter our towns, cities and coastlines – sometimes in constant succession like this week – must make us consider how the climate is changing, not just in faraway places and islands but right here in Sheffield, right now.

Sheffield, along with other local authorities and groups across the country has declared a climate emergency and is working towards the city becoming zero-carbon.

It’s a difficult process, especially when you try to take everyone along with you. But it feels like too little, too late.

We are going to see more and more adverse weather conditions and much will be due to how the industrialised world has treated the planet.

Thankfully there might still be chance to make a difference so we must lobby our council, our MPs and the Government – and we must do all we can to make a change ourselves.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​