Environmental contingency

El Popo covered in snow just before Easter 2016,
gently puffing away...
It’s boiling hot at the moment. There is a saying that it’s always hot at Easter, and it’s true. For a moment we doubted it this year since Easter was really early, and also because of a late cold front that brought snow to the volcanoes, very low temperatures and snow to parts of Northern Mexico, and definitely chilly weather to us here in Cuernavaca. To such an extent that we were all back in boots, sweaters and scarves, again. But now it’s boiling hot, as we would expect, as from last week and with a high today of 33ºC. We have the whole of April and May to get through before the rains start. It’s going to get much hotter, that’s for sure.

There was a time when the highest temperature in the hot months was about 34ºC, but not every day, just now and then. Now the highest temperature is likely to be 36ºC and it may even rise higher. I never used to have ceiling fans in my house but now I do and I used them for the first time at the weekend. We change our clocks this coming weekend so the lighter evenings will be so welcome. Time to really make the most of the pool…

It’s also the time of year when the forest fires start, usually in the forests that cover the mountains that we cross on our way to Mexico City.  99 times out of 100 the fires are caused by some idiot who throws a cigarette stub out of the car window, or who leaves the embers of a bonfire smouldering, or just someone who likes lighting matches… It’s very distressing seeing the smoke curling up into the sky knowing that the ecosystem is struggling, yet again. The forest is called the Bosque del Agua and is enormously important not only to Cuernavaca but also Mexico City in terms of the rainy season being successful or not. 

Mexico City in the grips of an environmental contingency Easter 2016

The last cold front of the year also brought with it big problems. Mexico City sat enveloped in a disgusting capuchino-coloured smog and an environmental contingency was declared. The IMECA points were way up beyond the safe mark (it measures the toxic particles suspended in the air) and people were told to stay at home with the windows closed, to not do any kind of sport or other activity outside, to use masks on their faces when going out, etc. Needless to say the cars get the blame; Mexico City is one of the most congested cities in the world, but that’s because there is nothing that motivates us not to drive there. We have second floors on main streets so we whizz along them for a small fee; the emission verification scheme is so corrupt that you can get your car passed for a very very small fee; the speed bumps are so numerous (quite literally, millions of them) that every time a car slows down even more carbon emissions are spewed into the atmosphere; no one takes any notice of speed restrictions; the public transport is far too limited to offer anyone a serious alternative; the metro buses belch out loads of smoke; all government vehicles, including ambulances, fire engines, police cars and any other type of vehicle are badly maintained; our petrol is of very inferior quality. What else? Ah yes, the scheme introduced over 20 years ago to restrict cars to be used only 4 days a week instead of 5 is now failing badly, there are just too many cars on the road with false verifications. So there was a war of words in the media, all the politicians blaming each other, but everyone knew that since it was Easter the following week the city would empty and all would be well. And that’s exactly how it was. Until the next time…


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