ABSTRACT

When I was an undergraduate in England in the late eighties and early nineties, the glaciers were more substantial than they are today. Few laypeople had heard the term “climate change”—indeed, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had only just been founded in 1988. We were still worrying about holes in the ozone layer and lead in our gasoline. Studying English literature and philosophy of religion, I was exploring timeless ideas, thrilled by how insights from minds so distant in time and space had such resonance and wisdom. I was reading Romantic poetry. Geological time and the cyclical rhythms of nature it celebrated gave a comforting sense of perspective, showing the folly of being consumed by everyday stresses. They provided a backdrop of certainty, a refuge.