Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Rave On

Even as a grumpy old git, I have no desire to belittle people's attempts to adopt the right environmental strategies but my recent varied exposures to media seem to underline the fact that these people are battling against folk doing the opposite with potentially much greater impacts. It was initially encouraging to note on BBC's Countryfile that a trust is developing Heartwood forest by planting thousands of native saplings (https://newslanes.com/2019/07/01/countryfile-ellie-harrison-crushed-over-co-stars-drops-devastating-confession/) but this is more than countered by news that the Amazon rainforest is being bulldozed to create more agricultural land to accommodate methane-producing cattle (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48827490?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/c77jz3mdq2pt/amazon-rainforest&link_location=live-reporting-story ). A new temperate forest in the UK is a nice idea but a) it will take a lot of time to get established; b) it simply doesn't fix anything like the amount of carbon that the rainforest manages and c) the Amazon currently generates circa 20% of the oxygen liberated by plants by photosynthesis (so, it's a bit more central to our survival).
In a similar vein it was also initially heart-warming to note that some people are largely giving up air travel in an attempt to reduce the generation of 'greenhouse gases' (https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/may/22/could-you-give-up-flying-meet-the-no-plane-pioneers ). This is immediately countered by news that Heathrow airport is to get a third runway to increase its capacity for largely holiday flights (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7156001/Heathrows-14bn-plan-runway-cause-30-years-mayhem-campaigners-say.html ) and Cornwall has been ear-marked as a potential site for a UK spaceport to allow the Virgin Orbit company to blast people around the planet more quickly (90 minutes to Australia?)(https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/9407811/cornwall-europe-first-spaceport-tourist-space-flight/ ). Amazingly, the planners  (along with a number of traditional airlines) are jockeying to talk up the 'green' potentials of flights and claiming all sorts of potential imminent efficiency improvements.

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