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January, 2008


Can't we all contribute to improving the environment this year?

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  Although we are inclined to think that there is something special about the new year there isn't really. It's just another sequence of yesterdays, todays and tomorrows just like 2007 was. That doesn't mean that important changes won't come to pass. They will, just as they did last year. Some will be for the good and some will be bad, even unthinkably atrocious. Some events are, and will be, caused by natural phenomena or accidents beyond our control. These are likely to include the most momentous but logically, since we cannot influence them, forget about them for now. There's no point in worrying about an asteroid hitting the earth in the near future. It's most unlikely to happen and with our present technology our best bet would be to call up Bruce Willis.
    Of the good things in the recent past the one that we choose to proclaim is the national and partly international recognition that the climate is changing due to man's behaviour and that we should do something about it. Amongst the bad are the declining standards of behaviour and selfish dishonesty. If these are moral judgements they are not tied to religion; a lie told to better one's wealth or status, at the expense of others, is bad by any standards. We predicted last year that our government would waste lots of money on IT projects. They did that with a vengeance and showed an incompetence beyond many people's comprehension. To be fair making that prediction was like taking candy from the proverbial baby. Amongst events that were atrocious we would quote the loss of life, limb and mind perpetrated in Iraq, Darfur and Kenya. All these good, bad and atrocious events are simply a few examples of non-natural phenomena which are man-made and therefore within the control of mankind.
    There is a grey area now being created where man is able, for the first time, to create 'natural' phenomena which can cause terrible consequences. There is evidence of it happening right now. For example, undoubtedly polar glaciers are melting due to man's effect on global temperatures and this will lead to the extinction of local species and also, more notably, the international consequences which will follow the inevitable rise in sea levels. Another example is the thawing of the arctic tundra which is not only upsetting the local eco system but will probably release vast amounts of methane which in turn will contribute to further planetary heating in a positive feedback mode.
    OK, so what can you and we do as members of this 'superior' homo-sapiens species? It is tempting to think that, as individuals, we are powerless and therefore we shouldn't bother. Nothing could be further from the truth, we should all reduce our carbon footprint, and persuade others to do the same. Admittedly we don't appear to have the power of Tony Blair, George W Bush or even Gordon Brown but make no mistake, they (and their ilk) can be influenced and are dispensable. If Galileo were here he would likely say that none of them is the centre of the universe. It is we individuals who are causing the problem and it is in our hands to take steps to ameliorate a global catastrophe of the magnitude never seen by man.
If we ourselves didn't think that we could nudge some people (however few) towards protecting our wonderful environment we wouldn't bother to run this site.
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Originated: 18 December , 2007,  Last amended: 7 May, 2013