Commercial exploitation of green issues
BACK in the 1970s, a brilliant album cover for the band Caravan featured adog holding up a sign saying: "The world is going to the humans". How horribly true that complaint seems today.
BACK in the 1970s, a brilliant album cover for the band Caravan featured a
dog holding up a sign saying: "The world is going to the humans". How horribly true that complaint seems today.
Global warming is no longer a theory, it's a fact. We may not know too much
about the causes, or the ultimate effects: by the time we do, it may well be too late to prevent them.
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But all the gathering evidence suggests humanity is going to hell in a handcart - with GW Bush's America providing engine-power.
For every organic vegetable I eat, every can I recycle, every cup of Fair Trade coffee I brew, I feel the might of Esso and McDonald's pushing the other way. But you do what you can, don't you?
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The new blockbuster movie The Day After Tomorrow depicts the end of the
world as we know it. Does this mean we are finally waking up to the possibility of global catastrophe of our own making?
Or does it simply mean Hollywood, as ever, has an eye on the entertainment
and money-making possibilities of popular fear?
The film's been accused of poor characterisation, but when were disaster
movies ever about the acting? The special effects are, of course, startling, and that's the point.
Equally inevitably, the science is apparently pretty poor. One climatologist
reckoned Batman And Robin, with Arnie Schwarzenegger as the demented Mr
Freeze, was more believable.
But at least The Day After Tomorrow, in which melting polar caps plunge the
world suddenly into a new Ice Age, brings the subject into public awareness. If nothing else, it provides a platform for more serious discussion.
And there certainly is a serious side.
n In Europe the last decade was the hottest in 500 years.
n Wildfire, drought and flooding have devastated communities.
n Near-record temperatures have hit Canada, the US, China and Russia.
n Polar ice is melting, ice shelves splintering, and sea levels rising.
It really does make sense if you're buying a house in East Anglia to
consider the height of the land. Too close to current sea level, and your
home could be under water before you've paid off the mortgage.
The fact that oil is running out - some experts give it only 30 years or so
- may trigger more wars like the one in Iraq. But it could also be the saving of the planet, as oil-burning is a huge factor in the greenhouse effect.
In fact, the pros and cons of oil, and our huge reliance on it, will probably be the biggest political, economic and environmental issue of our lifetimes.
But don't take my word for it - I'm no more a scientist than I am a movie
producer. If you want help sorting fact from science fiction, visit the
excellent website www.thedayaftertomorrow.org and be prepared for a few real shocks.
A PARTICULARLY foul piece of literature dropped through my letterbox this
week, and straight into the recycling bin.
Now, I'm not normally in favour of censorship: the stifling of free speech
seems to me a worse danger than that of occasionally letting idiots spout
forth. But this hate-filled leaflet from the BNP must have sailed pretty
close to the legal wind.
Of course, they claim - even on this very election leaflet - not to be
racist. How they can get away with that on the same page as a catalogue of
vile lies and insinuation about immigrants and asylum-seekers is beyond me.
Is there no law that says statements made in election communications should
If they can't be done under race relations law, why not the Trade
They also claim to be democrats. For the time being they are. Hitler and
Mussolini only cancelled democracy after using it to gain power.
The punchline on the leaflet is a rather poor joke. "Ordinary people like
you", it says, "voting BNP".
Ordinary people like me have too much sense and decency to do that.
I hope you will vote in next Thursday's elections. Vote for anyone - Green,
Lib-Dem, Respect, UKIP, Independent, Labour or Tory - anyone but the
Brutish and Nasty Party.