The one single biggest change to how we live in our homes was not the television or indoor sanitation but central heating. Before central heating in most homes only one room would be heated – the kitchen where a fire heated food, water and the family. It was to this hearth that all the family members gathered – not necessarily out of fellow-feeling all of the time, but simply to keep warm.
The summer of 2022 will go down in the record books for scorching temperatures across Europe, and the resultant destruction from drought and wild fires. Many people, though, have looked at 40˚Celsius on the thermometer and have been alarmed not by the summer heatwave, but by the thought of the winter to come.
One of the climate shifts we are experiencing is of hotter summers and colder winters. High summer temperatures are certainly dangerous to the vulnerable but not nearly so dangerous as the risks of hypothermia when the mercury plummets. The NHS in England has already flagged up an imminent health crisis when people are unable to keep their homes adequately heated.
This winter the usual practice, for most of us reading this, of turning up the boiler and putting on the gas or electric fire will be less automatic. The rising cost of energy is already biting and…
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