search
date/time
Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
frontpagebusinessartscarslifestylefamilytravelsportsscitechnaturewhatson
Christopher Jackson
Features Writer
2:14 AM 9th July 2020
Opinion

'Exstinktion' Rebellion

Nope - no typo! No need for the obligatory editorial (sic).

As I ate my breakfast, having taken my daily Statin and Amlodipine, my medical, and indeed meditative approach to keeping my BP down was, as usual, blown asunder by another dose of nonsense.

Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion
Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion
I read that Extinction Rebellion are to target Parliament and other strategic offices until their demands are met. Well good luck with that! As the country emerges from lockdown, any kale eating, quorn loving, tree hugger stopping daily activity is likely to end in violence.

Ooooer - tree huggers? Kale eaters? A trifle pejorative some might say. Just saying! I respect vegans, but avoid joining them in enclosed spaces.

Just because I’m mocking does not mean I’m anti environmental protection. Far from it! But let’s do a little Socratian deductive reasoning here. Why do these people believe continued economic growth is unrealistic? It’s been going on for millennia. And we can visibly imagine and record it since the Industrial Revolution. They now want to reverse this growth and return to some idyllic pastoral existence; one that never really existed. Well, if you count dying in your thirties, having no dentistry, and with your number two’s thrown into the street as being idyllic, then maybe you are right. But let’s project this forward and run with it. Of course having shown the way, China immediately follows our vanguard movement. Then the whole world retreats to this Panglossian existence. Who are we kidding? If Malthus had been right we would all be extinct by now; each of us cheek by jowl with no room to breath.

Those dark satanic steam driven mills of old generated great wealth, and with it, continued progress, which in turn lead to the discovery and harnessing of technology like electricity. What utter swines Messrs. Edison, Hertz, Tesla et al were. How could they develop such hideous technologies that enabled hospitals to perform miracles; to light our streets; to develop the x-ray; to develop vaccines; for universities to spin off new technologies to enhance our lives? The thoughtless rotters. Did they not know that such progress was bad and would lead to Armageddon?

Wealth aids education, which in turns fuel more innovation and more wealth. So not only can we now perform heart transplants, but through education we can understand mental illness without putting patients in asylums. So Greta - why is this so bad? You can’t cherry pick the progress you like or benefit from. Consider the father of Autism - one Leo Kanner. A Hungarian Jew, he studied medicine in Berlin. He became an expert in Cardiology working with early ECG machines - you know the one developed from electricity. Had he decided to live with the hyperinflation and low living standards in Germany after WW1 he might never have ended up prospering in America, where he published his paper on Autism. In fact, as a Jew, he might not have survived the Third Reich. And now 80 years later, Greta can talk about her autism and even see it as a gift. But her aims are totally at odds with that - she calls for economic retraction, no cars,no flying etc, and zero CO2 emissions in 5 years. So would she also like to go back to the day’s when my grand parents would describe people like Greta as odd, or worse still, ten pence in the shilling. I certainly wouldn’t! A daft leap? - I’d argue not. Progress has lead to the point where we understand her condition; so Greta, why can’t progress solve the climate issue? Just freezing everything and stepping backwards is one dimensional nonsense. Perhaps a winter in a hut by candlelight, making her own clothes might give her a different perspective.

But back to Extinction Rebellion. Where were the protests last week at Bournemouth beach? Not a peep from them about the 42 tons of rubbish left by ignorant day trippers. Not a single protester. But even St Attenborough is not squeaky clean here. Take last year at Glastonbury. Remember it was trumpeting about being a plastic free festival. And the star guest was St Attenborough who closed the festival with a rousing peroration and thank you to the cheering throng. Hours later, the plastic litter plus every other kind, including excrement, amounted to 15,000 bags. Few can enjoy a de haut en bas moment over Sir David, but allow me - why did he not use his media profile to announce his disappointment and disgust at what was left, and his embarrassment to be associated with it? Only he knows, but such behaviour undermines his undoubted goodness does it not.

Wearing their Day of the Dead masks they disrupt the lives of workaday people, spouting sanctimonious drivel, and I suspect be-spoiling the environment with their own litter and detritus. Anyway we will know which day the protests begin, because eco luvvie Emma Thompson will be flying in. After lunch of beef carpaccio she will jump into her artfully weathered dungarees and man the megaphone. And she’s not alone - a coterie of celebs issued a letter of explanation for their seeming hypocrisy which read

"Like you, and everyone else, we are stuck in this fossil-fuel economy and without systemic change, our lifestyles will keep on causing climate and ecological harm."

So that’s alright then. They are locked into their transatlantic lifestyles whilst the Government persist with their approach. It’s just not their fault. Bless.

They have no rubric so their actions just create a condemnatory zeitgeist, which inevitably makes most of us irritated, as if we are uncaring and disinterested. The most obvious riposte is to look for any glimpse of hypocrisy and then call it out. Thus we feel better; the protesters lose heart, and soon the story ends up wrapping fish and chips. Until the next time.

Meanwhile not much changes. Never has the aphorism evolution not revolution been more apposite. But talk of the sixth mass extinction looming large inevitably falls into the extremist nonsense of the daily health scares. I swear if the Daily Mail announced that untrimmed nasal hair caused haemorrhoids, thousands would rush home to grab the tweezers!

Rewiring the brain

I wonder how Gail Bradbrook, ER’s founder, would have felt if I’d glued myself to the aircraft, as one of her acolytes had, when she headed for two weeks holiday in Costa Rica. As the old saying goes, ‘ you couldn’t make it up’. But be fair, on her trip to Costa Rica break she took West African hallucinogenic shrub ibogaine. She claimed it “rewired” her brain, giving her “the codes of social change”. She added, “I lay down and a voice that felt very external to me said, ‘Gail, you create your own reality’.

Environmental concern? or the inane uttering of a space cadet? You decide.

I’m so not Woke darling! In fact I’m quite the opposite, so that must be beyond sleep and actually comatose. A Dinosaur, a back number, a fossil, or as my daughter used to say - a bozo.

Climate change and global warming is a easy concept, but ethereal nonetheless. And whilst it’s now a serious topic, paradoxically we find litter has never been worse. Go figure! Perhaps the more sustainable approach ( to use the language ) is to follow the construct of ‘broken windows’. This began in New York - the idea being that if broken windows are left unfixed then the residents think no one cares and they too act less responsibly. And pretty soon the area degenerates into a ghetto. Applying this simple philosophy had a massive impact on the crime figures, with huge reductions in serious crime.

So shouldn’t we be gripping the litter problem? Seeing beauty spots ruined by fly tipping, hedgerows full of cans and bottles thrown from cars just breaks my heart. From this distressing scene it’s a difficult leap to look upwards and embrace global warming. Sorry to say it, but litter matters more to me. Whilst the country seemingly tolerates litter I can’t get motivated by green targets and zero emissions. ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ wherefore art thou?

Stink is the word!