‘Fewer climate change deniers’ in Rhondda following devastating floods
There are fewer climate change deniers in the Rhondda following devastating floods, it has been claimed.
Storm Dennis wreaked havoc in the valley 18 months ago, and according to environmental campaigner Caspar Harris attitudes towards the climate crisis have changed.
Harris, who helps run the Pete’s Shop wholefoods store in Pontypridd which was flooded when the storm hit, also said that people in the area are living in fear that the same thing will happen again.
He told the Guardian: “The thought that it could happen again – probably will happen again – is always on your mind.
“You get the occasional person still in denial but not that many now. I don’t think enough is being done quickly enough to fight it. I’m sick of governments and councils setting distant goals. We need action now.”
Hayley Richards, co-chair of the town’s Friends of the Earth group, recalled how as part of the global climate strikes in September 2019, young people in Pontypridd had led a march through the town.
She said: “Ponty hadn’t seen anything like that. I remember some shopkeepers telling the children they ought to be in school. A few months later, those same shops were flooded.”
According to Richards her nine-year-old son, Rowan, worried about his future.
She said: “He’s asked me if we need to move to a higher place. He feels climate change is at our door.”
She added: “But we need an honest dialogue,” said Richards. “We can’t survive if society continues to be about making money and exploiting the earth.
“And the government and councils must do more. There’s always something to distract them – Brexit, Covid, whatever.”
Katie Whelan, whose end-of-terrace house in the village of Ynyshir, near Pontypridd, was flooded, said: “I still have nightmares about the river rising again.
“Looking back I can’t believe the water rose so quickly and so violently. I keep sandbags in the back garden for if it happens again. I don’t think I’ll ever relax again.”
Lian Roderick, from the village of Pentre, where 159 homes flooded, had to endure flooding followed by lockdown in a damp terrace house with two teenage children, said the authorities in charge of clearing drains and culverts were directly to blame.
She added: “But I do worry about climate change. We had the flooding and it’s been so hot this year. Now this week it’s been raining heavily again. It’s crazy.
“We’ve got a floodgate now. Back in the winter every time it rained that went up.”
Plaid Cymru MS for South Wales Central Heledd Fychan, said: “Whenever it rains heavily now I get countless messages from people saying, is it going to flood again. People can’t sleep at night, they are traumatised. Nobody feels reassured.”