Whatever happened to acid rain? No seriously, what happened there? I can’t be the only person who, as a child, was bombarded with tales of doom concerning this deadly sounding substance falling from the sky and melting Lincoln Cathedral (which I didn’t live anywhere near and have never visited, but for some reason it, and it’s imp, are stuck in my head as being part of the acid rain story). Just hearing about it for the first time was enough to stop an entire class full of children from running around trying to collect as much rain water as they could in their mouths – it was the northwest of England, they made us play outside in anything barring the heaviest downpours.
Now this was the time of the Rio summit, a time when global warming and the like was trendy, was cool, wasn’t being caused by widescreen plasma TVs on standby, office computers left on overnight, or China. Nope, back then it was caused by cathode ray TVs left on standby, CFC filled fridges, or America. To be fair the latter is still largely to blame now. We’re talking early 1990s, and acid rain was going to melt our heritage and our faces.
Which is why I cannot work out where it’s gone.
Now this isn’t a climate change denial train of thought. I’ve seen the difference the last 15 years has made, and the weather ain’t what it used to be. Obviously for the deathly pale like me this has meant increased suntan lotion costs (and duck me (quack), have you seen how expensive it is?!) but it’s definitely noticeable. You can get as many as three whole days of sunshine in the northwest of England, which leads me to suspect the next generation might not be so blase about getting rained on solidly for 50 minutes whilst their teachers sit indoors, laughing.
But nowadays, as I, ahem, I mean, we obsessively turn everything off after use, there’s no fear of anything being melted. Stonehenge, Big Ben, Lincoln Cathderal, they are all safe and secure (hopefully, unless the Cutty Sark was merely the first of many historical objects to be targetted by a mad anti-history arsonist). This leads to the following possibilities:
1) We beat acid rain. It’s safe to play ‘collect as much water as you can in your mouth at break time’ again. But this does not address how we did this. I’d like to know, if only so I can feel good about the human ability to, sometimes, not break everything they are given to play with.
2) We didn’t beat acid rain, it’s still there but we’ve lost interest because we all care more about Jose Mourinho’s dog. Or worse, we beat it here but it’s still in foreign places which means the British media won’t care until it melts a British consulate or something. This would be depressing.
3) It never existed in the first place. It’s not completely unlikely.
I’m not a scientist. Maybe a scientist can tell me. Maybe they don’t know either. Maybe I’ll never go to Lincoln. Oh well…