“With the deepest respect…” – Footprints/Schmutzprints

Am I the only person about ready to pull their hair out after this week of media bombardment on climate change? I feel like I have been listening to a group of six-year olds trying to explain human reproduction. Some of it makes sense, they seem to have the vague general idea but yet you just know in your heart that so much of it is way, way off base. And you also know that if they go about ‘solving the problem’ in the way they are describing they stand about as much chance of success as the six year olds who believe’ if you do it standing up you won’t get pregnant’.

First of all what exactly is it that they are trying to accomplish? Fix the world? Turn back the hands of time? Errrrrmmmmmm I don’t think so. Richard Branson is offering $25 million to a scientist who can save the planet. That sanctimonious twit that is David Milliband is flapping about tut-tutting for England. A cleric has said he isn’t flying anywhere for a year (whupp-di-do ) and we’ve been told that if we buy leeks from Llanduono rather than kale from Kenya that it will all be ok.

There are some questions in this world that do not have easy answers. How do you solve poverty? Eradicate racism. Fix the NHS – cut taxes while improving services. How can we make sure all our children get an equal education and our older folks live out their days in comfort and security? And what is under Joan Collins’ wig? Well forget all that for now we all have to get cracking on Saving the Planet. The spinmeisters have been at work overtime and we are all taking notes so we can get au fait with ‘carbon footprints’ ‘green crimes’ ‘carbon dioxide emissions’ and all the other terms to describe what is wrong with the planet and what we as individuals need to change to make it all right.

This is a big problem – I am not denying that. But first we need to use the tried and true method for successful problemsolving:

[Properly Identify What the (HELL) the Problem Is]. And in practical terms. No more ‘we are disrespecting our environment in such a fashion that within 60 years the world will no longer resemble…blah-blah-blah’. A few simple, clear-cut statements geared towards the general public not scientists, marketing gurus and politicians.

[Come Up With Workable Solutions That We All Can Affect]
We have known for many years that we needed to change a lot of our habits. Cut down on packaging. Cut down on rubbish. Recycle. More fuel efficient cars. Alternative energy sources etc.etc.etc. Make the changes practical; cut the issue down into bitesize, practical activities that everyone can do.

[The Solutions Need to Be Fair to All]
“With the deepest respect, the farmers in the villages where I come from don’t have televisions, they don’t have refrigerators, they don’t have even one car, let alone two, they don’t have motorbikes, they’ve never even been to our country’s capital let alone flown all over the world on holiday — so don’t ask those farmers to pick up the cost of environmental problems you in the industrialized West have caused.” This was recently said by a gentleman named John Kanjangaile who represents a Tanzanian group called the Kagera Cooperative Union. And truer words were never spoken.

This entire situation reminds me of the 20-stone woman who decides in March that she needs to be bikini-beeyootiful by June. Years of abusing of resources, disregarding of warnings, ignoring of the facts brought her to that place. But somehow she is expecting that somewhere there is a magic wand and a fairy godmother. Against all odds a wand is going to be waved and all will be well in the kingdom.

$25,000,000 is not going to create a miracle. Neither are most of the other ‘solutions’ being bandied about so far. We have to keep in mind that there are economic repercussions for us turning our back on the farmers of sub-Sahara Africa. Over a million lives will be immediately affected if we do that. We also need to be aware that the facts behind this issue are not always as simple as they might seem. There are instances (apparently) where products from Africa might have a smaller carbon footprint (keep up with the lingo J ) than something that we commercially produce in this country or Europe. So let’s be careful when we are being sensible more than virtuous. In Morag’s opinion there seems to be an awful lot of sanctimonious twaddle being bandied about and maybe we need to get to the bottom of it before jumping on the bandwagon – oh and make sure the bandwagon isn’t a 4 x 4.

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22 Comments

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22 responses to ““With the deepest respect…” – Footprints/Schmutzprints

  1. Bel

    Well said, Morag, but I have to disagree with one thing. It is only a tangential point.

    You imply that there isn’t an easy answer to the NHS, as though it were not easy to cut taxes, yet improve services.

    That statement is based on the premise that more money is the answer to better services. Not necessarily.

    That statement is also based on the premise that all, or almost all, tax revenue is used properly. Not so.

    We can afford good tax cuts by first cutting wasteful spending. We can improve health services by other efficiency measures that have nothing to do with money. I generally find that the further politicians are kept away from such matters, the better.

  2. Bel

    On the issue of climate change, I remain sceptical.

    I was on the DEFRA website the other day, and there was a press release with the words ‘The debate is over’, now it is time for action, or some such.

    No, I disagree. The debate is NOT over. Forgive me for not accepting the Stern Report and the IPCC report as gospel, while there are scientists openly disputing the conclusions of these reports.

    A lot of this climate change hysteria is down to the Government’s desire to grab more tax revenue. This is just a convenient way of doing so, and if they can throw in a little emotional blackmail as well, all the better.

  3. dolbyn

    If in 60 years time england has the weather currently enjoyed by the mediteranian, if in 60 years america is to busy fighting huricanes and flooding to wage war in iraq, if in 60 years time some less classy areas of london are under water, if in 60 years time i can set up a vinyard in the back garden if in 60 years time women wear bikinis 12 months of the year , wheres the harm in a little global warmimg?

    🙂

  4. I think sensible steps that people can integrate into their lives are good first steps. Massive upheaval to societies to address worst case scenarios may be a good way to induce a worldwide recession. Serious thinking required, but cautious sensible steps required.

  5. Oh Bel………as usual you have spun rings around me 😦 I agree with you on everything that you’ve said about taxes and in my cack-handed way I thought that was what I was saying as well. Oh dear – well everyone please read Bel’s comment on taxes and know that is exactly what I believe as well 🙂

  6. Dolbyn —- Trust you to somehow bring bikinis into the issue 😦 Well you’d best get your fan ready as you’re going to need it on the Naughty Step.

  7. Dolbyn —- As usual you manage to introduce a positive spin on a big issue. Maybe a letter to Mr. Branson is in order? Trust you to somehow bring bikinis into the issue 😦 Well you’d best get your fan ready as you’re going to need it on the Naughty Step.

  8. Colin, why is no one mentioning this worldwide recession issue?

  9. Bel

    My dear Morag, as far as taxes are concerned, I know your heart is in the right place. 🙂

  10. dolbyn

    Hey provided the naughty step has a good view of the beach and the babes thats cool 🙂

    But to divert my attention from bikinis i think the problmen is people dont see global warming as thier problem. If people change their behaviour who will see a difference – maybe todays children or their children, its like saving for a pension, all that investment and the payoff seems all that way in the future. There are people in the world that care about the next generation or the one after that but most people care more about themselves. So if you want chnage you have two ways of doing it carrot and stick. You can pour money into the problem as bransonlike bribes or you can tax the living daylights out carbon footprints. And if you want to do the latter and not get voted out of office then you have to try and change public opinion, or at least start debate. So maybe though iritating and patronising the medias push on green issues is the first step. Much like the medias push on bb and racism if it gets people to think and open their eyes doesnt that in itself justify the existance of the media – that and zoo magazine.

  11. dolbyn

    As for taxes, its easier and maybe safer to attach industry than individuals. Stop making buisness flights something you can put on expences, tax buisnesses on the amount they dont recycle, give tax breaks to companies that allow workers to work from home rather than comute. Buisness will adapt and if people dont see it as direct taxation on individuals maybe they will give you a second term.

  12. I wish I could do smileys. I like the original post. What we have is an issue and before the gov’t starts haring off telling us to live in the forest they need to go through the usual project planning steps. I wouldn’t put any of the handwringers or environmental tub-thumpers in charge of any other projects, so I find it irritating to feel obliged to listen to them on these issues.

  13. Liz

    “And truer words were never spoken.”

    Absolutely.

    I’m as guilty as anyone. I know what I should do, but somehow – no, not somehow – I’m just too lazy or idle or mean to do it.

    A little global warming round here does sound kind of nice but the consequences for other parts of the world are potentially horrendous.

  14. The essential problem with climate change is that it has :

    1] been hijacked to serve a new world agenda of curtailed freedoms;
    2] been endorsed by corrupt organizations who have trotted out amateurs to support it;
    3] caused the blogosphere in particular to savage it.

    And yet it is happening. No one here diputes that because it can be seen with our own eyes over a long period of time. Let alone the overwhelming scientific evidence.

  15. The problem is that the agenda’s been hijacked but despite that, the phenomenon is still occurring.

  16. Well said, Morag! How refreshing.

  17. Morag, thanks for dropping me a line – how about sending me that stuff you mentioned – it sounds excellent.

  18. Dear Praguetory – You are soooooooooo right about the calibre of people who are flitting about this issue and definitely shouldn’t be within a mile of it.

  19. Liz – You mention the consequences around the world – that is one of the things that worries me the most. That we come up with solutions which have not been properly thought through and end up doing more economic damage than anything else to nations who don’t have the resources that we do to help themselves. And that some of our misguided and ill-informed ‘solutions’ backfire.

  20. Dear James – But is it such a phenomenon? When you look back at the history of the earth is this that different than so much that has happened before. We say that it is worse because we are causing it. But maybe it is because we have become so full of ourselves that we have forgotten who the real boss is – ‘it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature’…………

  21. Dear WL – Yes but not as refreshing as a dish of zabaglione and raspberries would be right about now……..

  22. Dear TD – Yes. In a bit of a dark tunnel with the light currently extinguished but as soon as I can find these bloody matches I’ll get back to you 🙂

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