Welcome to Issue 46

Well we have been blessed with a super summer of sunshine to accompany all of the fantastic events in our town (except for the Community Beach Clean which was a washout and the Bike Event). Furthermore, the forecast is for the next four years, at least, to be even hotter than this one. Cause for celebration perhaps?

It would be a lot easier to enjoy the good weather if it wasn’t linked to a far greater and more serious phenomenon. The forest fires from Sweden to Greece, from Canada to California and the floods in Kerala are just the latest consequences of the Earth heating up to unprecedented levels. Faced with such striking evidence it is astonishing to me that so many people, including the world’s most powerful man, still claim that Global Warming is a sinister conspiracy plot dreamt up by the world’s scientists. Many, I’m sure, accept that the planet is warming but cling to the argument that this is a natural process that we can do nothing about as a way of justifying business as usual. (Unfortunately, the science tells us that the burning of trillions of tonnes of fossil fuels is causing temperatures to soar ‘unnaturally’ – see page 21.) Or perhaps it is their way of coping with a prospect too frightening to think about. Certainly, those of us who accept that man-made Global Warming is real are faced with a difficult dilemma. Do we ‘make hay while the sun shines’, try not to think about it and trust that the politicians will sort it all out for us, or do we try to do something about it? Given the scale of the problem it is not surprising that the vast majority of people feel powerless to change it and opt for the former strategy. Perhaps this is the only sane option…

I have just read a book called ‘Going Sane’ by Adam Phillips in which he outlines the difficulties of trying to define sanity, particularly in the modern era which is ever more complex. The Climate Change issue provides a perfect illustration of this. We (in the ‘Rich World’) have designed a lifestyle for ourselves which is causing devastation around the globe, with mass extinctions (1000 times faster than the norm) and endangering even our own species. Is it sane for us to continue on that trajectory? Is it sane to believe the politicians who tell us that we need more economic growth, requiring more energy, more resources and more destruction of our planet?

In my view our current lifestyles and dependence on endless growth belong to the category of madness. To give our grandchildren any chance of a future we in Europe, need to reduce our impact on the Earth by at least two thirds (Americans even more). This may seem impossible to many but there are now guidelines to help us measure our carbon footprint and I personally have no problem in living within sustainable limits. What I do have a problem with is that I appear to be virtually the only person I know who is doing so! Taking sustainable options such as eating local and organic food and not driving or flying, seems to put me at odds with everyone around me. It feels as though I am heading in the opposite direction to everyone else, which of course, leads me to question my own sanity. Am I (a) a sane person in a mad world, (b) a mad person in a sane world or (c) a mad person in a mad world? Answers on a postcard please.

If anyone believes that option (a) is the correct answer please get in touch and we’ll discuss ways of helping our community to lower its carbon footprint or, failing that, setting up our own asylum!

Enjoy the rest the rest of the summer if you can.

Ed