Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Dear Mr Attenborough

Thank you for your response to the Newsreader's question on the television news this evening. He had introduced the subject of global warming saying we are all to blame. We all have to do something about it. I said to the television: it's not our fault. He asked you what can be done. You answered: it starts with governments and agreements.

Thank you. I think that too.

You went on to say we; all of us, every single one of us, democratically, have to do something about it. I agree.

But first, so that I don't start to feel at fault that there has seemingly been no change in the last decade, can I ask, not you specifically, but generally: how ?

Can we, by democratic means, make the water companies stop the leaks, when it is easier to impose drought orders ?
Can we, by democratic means, ensure that all people dependent on disabilitiy benefits, have access to cheap renewable fuels, to heat our homes adequately, to fuel our wheelchair adapted cars, charge our batteries, and to lighten our darkness and wash our laundry.

Can I ask my elected representatives to local, district and county councils, and central government, to do something about it.
Can they do something about it.
Can they ask government ministers to do something.
Positive. Far reaching. Brave.
Vote loosing. Taxes raising. Bush offending.

In the meantime, on the home front, I am having trouble recycling all my household waste, due to the packaging insisted on by the supermarkets. I know it is to ensure food is managed during the long transit from field to table. I don't buy green beans from Kenya, but I cannot grow my own food, or shop locally from local producers, because home helps don't dig, sow, harvest. They are just allowed time to go to Tesco.

In the meantime, I am not warm enough during the winter. Heating oil prices have risen from 10.4p per litre in 1996 to 36.9p per litre now. Plus tax. I buy 1,000 litres at a time. Petrol was 85.9p per litre in May last year, I had to pay Tesco 96.9p per litre last time. My budget for petrol is restricted, so I spend much the same on petrol as I did last year, I just don't go out as much now. My disability income has not kept pace with price rises of fossil fuels.

I don't want to think that my brothers and sisters, cousins, sons and daughters, future childrens' partners, future grandchildren, will be fighting wars in oil producing countries to maintain things the way they are. Whatever that may be.

I am in my fifth decade, and getting more tired, more ill. When I am in my six decade, will democracy have made any difference. When I am in my seventh decade, will we have turned the corner. When I am no longer here, will the next generation find it more possible to change the world democratically than I have ?

Thank you Mr Attenborough, for using your enthusiasm, the respect people have for your views on ecology, to make me question something again.

I don't know what the Democracy that is within my reach, can do.



Blogger spotted elephant said...

I once read something that said individual actions meant nothing, that we'd either survive or die off based on the actions of governments and corporations.

Now, I think that might be a little too extreme, :) as individual actions matter at least a little, but your points are valid. Corporations won't worry about waste as long as the price gets passed to the customer. And governments won't do anything until their fanny's held to the fire. Maybe the most important individual action is to let the govt's and corporations know we mean business, so that real steps are taken. Thanks for a very thought-provoking post.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006 at 04:41:00 BST  
Blogger Eddie said...

Hi there, just wandering the blogosphere and I found your blog. I really enjoy how this all works.

This is one to watch.

Many thanks,

www birding

Wednesday, 24 May 2006 at 12:26:00 BST  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Hi Sally, thank you for a valuable and interesting post, as usual.

I have to say that I think things have got a bit beyond the control of any government, now, democratic or not, and thus we, the ordinary citizens, should not be made to feel guilty or responsible.

I am sure that nice Mr Bliar and his cronies are very unhappy about the state of energy prices and recycling issues and water shortages; the scandal is likely to cast him some votes and bugger up his projected Budgets; however, Shell, Tesco et al are now huge multinational corporations quite outside the power of any individual government or its citizens to control.

They can behave with the casual arogance of occupying armies and so they do.

They announce swingeing price increases and huge profits in the same breath.

They increase the wastefulness with which they inflict unrecyclable packaging on us.

They fight drought orders and ignore the advice (for it is allowed to be nothing more) of the statutory body, the Environment Agency, charged with overseeing their activities.

I am getting extremely tired of the "we're all guilty" game. It is nothing more than self-indulgence to accept blame for something over which one has no control, either in the commission of a wrong or in the reparation to be made.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006 at 14:11:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thank you Spotted Elephant, your first statement I agree and that is what is so frightening in that we truly have little control. My local paper has stories and letters on individual and group actions to conserve and protect, which detail huge effort, but have little effect on a global scale.

Dear Charles, sorry I spelt his name wrong didn't I: should be Mr Bliar. Your comments I agree - yes, yes yes and yes ! But what can we democratically do ?

Wednesday, 24 May 2006 at 16:29:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Hi Sally, very thought provoking post. I think it is a bit of both. We should feel responsible for our own environment, even if that means more work or spending more money. On the other hand, we cannot be made responsible for the failures of governments and the big business.
But sometimes people and their thoughtlessness and egoism is just striking and someone should yell at them that THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE!! Germany invented a pledge on drinks in cans, the so called Dosenpfand, which was driving translators at the EU crazy, because no language had a proper word for it. It simply means that you have to pay more for cans and then have to carry them back to the shop to get your money back. No great deal, one should think. In Germany, however, people are too lazy to do that and hundreds of thousands of people travel to Denmark, Poland, Czech Republik, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Belgium and the Netherlands, all countries without a Dosenpfand, to buy enormous amounts of cans and then stock them at home. JUST to be able to put them in a litter bin and to avoid having to carry them back to the shop. The idea was to reduce the use of cans for environmental reasons and now we have more cans around than ever before. That's beyond me, to be honest.

Thursday, 25 May 2006 at 21:50:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thank you Bloggingmone
Dosenpfand - how utterly frustrating !
But maybe the government is ducking responsibility; for writing legislation with no loopholes, taking the vote loosing consequences of tight legislation and holding onto that until the dust settles and everyone sees it is for the benefit of all; and those that don't see it like that, more democratic legislation to ensure they do.
Easily said from the comfort of the reclining chair I know.
Thanks for your comment.

I think the comment from 'Eddie' above must have come from my Ruddy Ducks posting.

Charles and Goldfish and others, I am drafting a post answering the comments on 'guilt' and where we should stick it !

Saturday, 27 May 2006 at 14:27:00 BST  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

You can never tell how a conservation measure will work till you try it.

In Eire they have compelled supermarkets to charge a stiff price for their plastic bags, instead of giving them away, to try to cut down on landfill. Apparently it has been a great success.

Saturday, 27 May 2006 at 15:10:00 BST  

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment ... all comments are moderated and will be published soon.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home