In the coming month the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns will be revving up into top gear as the referendum on the European Union approaches. Both will be telling us that this could be one of the most historic and momentous decisions we are likely to make in our lifetimes. So is this really the most pressing and important issue of the moment? According to the polls it would seem that many believe that immigration is central to the European debate and that the arrival on our shores of people fleeing war and poverty is a major cause of our troubles. Many view membership of the EU as a surrender of our wealth and sovereignty to foreign powers. Depending on our circumstances and perspectives many of us would argue that there are far more important issues such as the cancer and heart disease epidemics, the crises in our Health Care and Education systems, poverty, social justice, nuclear disarmament or even world peace. I would suggest, however, that there is one issue which dwarfs all of these and about which we should hold an election NOW!
‘Plexit’- The departure of Homo Sapiens from this planet.
The ‘Plexit’ campaign began in earnest with the Industrial Revolution but has seen staggering growth, particularly in the last 30 years or so and is gathering ever greater momentum. At the current trajectory it is set to meet its objective of rendering the planet virtually uninhabitable within the next century. The manifesto of the ‘Plexit’ campaign can be summarised as follows. Hold ‘one helluva party’ with an orgy of consumption in which we burn all of the fossil fuels available to us, destroy most of the world’s rainforests and natural woodlands, kill and poison most of our soils to expand the deserts, fill our rivers and oceans with toxic chemicals, plastics and nuclear waste, contaminate the air in our cities with noxious gases, melt the ice caps and cause wide scale flooding and other extreme weather conditions. The great strength of the ‘Plexit’ campaign is that nearly all of us either choose to deny that it is happening or see it as something too big, complex and beyond our control and so try to ignore it. We focus on trying to enjoy the party and hope that the ‘powers that be’ will sort it all out.
The ‘RRRemain’ campaign believes that this planet is too magical and beautiful for us to trash it and leave it lifeless. It would like our grandchildren and their offspring as well as other endangered species to be here to enjoy it. The ‘RRRemain’ campaign also believes that rather than relying on the ‘powers that be’ (who are often the main drivers of the ‘Plexit’ Campaign) we need to recognise that we are all in this together and have a role to play. It believes that we have all the necessary solutions at our fingertips if we can summon the collective will to reach out and use them.
Reduce, Renew, Replace
These three words summarise the manifesto of the ‘RRRemain’ campaign. The first step is probably the most difficult as it leaves us open to accusations of being party poopers but the RRRemain campaign plans to throw an alternative party where we dance to the rhythm of the Cosmos. Those of us who have grown up in the rich world in this age of abundance have to learn to make choices which reduce our impact on the Earth, to be resourceful and to take only what we need. It is about coming together to share our resources and recognising that there are plenty of lifestyle choices which not only help us to live lightly on the Earth but also increase our chances of being happy. The second step – the transition to a renewable future – is slowly gathering pace, despite huge resistance from the fossil fuel lobby. We could help speed up the process further by investing in individual and community owned renewable energy schemes to secure our future energy supplies. This step is also about using, re-using and recycling materials that are produced and renewed naturally. The third step is the one for which I believe this town could become a pioneer and a model to inspire other towns and cities to follow suit and create a spiral effect around the world. In Issue 17 I wrote about the wonderful benefits of trees. Not only do they provide food, fuel, shelter and other resources in abundance for humans and wildlife, they also feed our soils, mitigate the effects of flooding and other extreme weather. Most crucially, they have the capacity to reverse some of the effects of our carbon emissions if we can replace a significant number of the world’s forests that we have destroyed.
Bring Back the Trees!
As I travel around our town and villages with the papers, I see plenty of spare land that could be enhanced by the planting of trees (despite the best efforts of developers to fill every space with bricks and mortar). With the collective will we could become the first town in Britain to launch a major tree planting campaign. Starting in our schools we could encourage all of our children to plant and take responsibility for at least one tree, explaining why their lives literally depend on them and inspiring them to respect and nurture them. By planting fruit and nut trees we could help to secure a healthy food supply well into the future. We could impress upon our farmers and land owners the considerable practical and economic benefits of giving trees a central role on their land. With collective consciousness businesses and individuals would be willing to offset their carbon emissions by investing in trees. It could be a win – win scenario, providing a massive boost to the town as visitors would arrive from far and wide to see our beautiful tree and fruit laden town and countryside.
The Real Election
As always this paper endeavours to remain politically neutral and will leave you to make your own mind up about Europe. What we do unequivocally stand for, however, is the future of this town, this planet and its inhabitants. We would like to issue a rallying call to all those who wish for a safe and happy future for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. VOTE RRRemain! Let’s get together and Bring Back the Trees! This, I believe is the real burning issue of our times. Will you choose to support the ‘Plexit’ campaign or join the party of the great tree revolution? I await the results of your election. If there is sufficient support for the idea I pledge to organise a meeting to discuss how we can begin the adventure! Tel 0795 829 8365 email: [email protected] Ed