Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Sonia Price
Features Writer
4:33 AM 14th August 2021

Let’s Please Keep The Lights On Planet Earth

Image by Jeyaratnam Caniceus
Image by Jeyaratnam Caniceus
Weighing the economic imperatives against ensuring that our planet is a habitable place for our forebears has got to be the greatest conundrum in our history. Or is it? Surely there is no decision to be made. Planet earth is my home for now thanks, and I vote that we save it and worry about picking up the cheque later. But what do I know?

Don’t worry, I am not going to bore you with my lay person’s grasp on economics, politics, or the environment. It’s just that with our experience thus far of Covid and the latest climate warming report, I am praying that we get a globally cohesive formula right in time. These challenges definitely do not call for “Just in Time Management.”

Perhaps because I work from home and have LBC radio station humming in the background from noon until late in the evening, debates around managing Covid, climate change and saving the economy are wall-to-wall. For those who don’t know LBC its slogan is Leading Britain’s Conversation. There is no music, but the schedule is, mercifully, top and tailed by some very funny early morning and late night presenters.

Image by Gerd Altmann
Image by Gerd Altmann
I try to aim at a balanced perspective and to not be alarmist, but I have to admit the climate change sceptics worry me. In the June 2021 edition of The Dalesman magazine, the BBC meteorologist Paul Hudson says: “Certainly there is overwhelming evidence that man is altering the climate and we are reaching the point of no return. The extremes we have now are remarkable.
“February 2019 was the hottest on record, followed by the following February which was the wettest. The weather is getting more extreme of that there is no doubt.”

I take little comfort from those who say that, despite all the scaremongering, our planet is going to be in its orbit for billions of years. That may be so, I just worry what place we will have on it if the global powers fail to reach a workable modus vivendi. It looks like the world has a decade or so to get its house in order. If we don’t manage this, we can forget about our low-energy dishwashers and zero-carbon cars. I am one of life’s worriers, but I am also optimistic. I do have faith in clever and good people, but that isn’t to say that I haven’t had many fitful nights’ sleep envisioning what could happen years - who knows how many - from now.

Image by Gerd Altmann
Image by Gerd Altmann
Could there be a day when the moneyed men and women in the south of England, those who can afford to up-sticks and move north when Joshua’s study has flooded one too many times, and the carpets and tax returns have floated into the Thames, and despite having five million in some obscure crypto currency, they cannot for the life of them find a house to buy up north.

This might be when Chelsea-mum has to break it to young Tristan that because we can’t get hold of an estate agent in the north, it might have to be Mars: “I don’t know what the schools will be like on Mars Tristan, or how my roses will flourish or whether your father will be able to get a decent steak. Problems, problems.”

Seriously though despite the Biblical injunction - Genesis 1.28, “…replenish the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over …. every living thing” I think if we are to apply this message to where we are now it should be taken to mean have careful stewardship over our planet, its resources and its ecosystems. This surely is not a time for camp capitalism and camp climate to be slugging it out.

Whitney Houston sang “I believe our children are our future.” We must remember this. We really don’t want to come to a point when our great, great, great, grandchild has to say to his daughter: “That’s it Perpetua, you will not be living up to your name I am afraid. I strongly counsel you not to have any children as the planet will not be able to sustain them. You are last of the line I am afraid. Remember to turn the lights out when you are finished here. It was good whilst it lasted.”

The Government could be accused of being behind the curve on addressing these 21st century ‘challenges’ - euphemisms fall like rain these days, don’t they? I know there is nothing humorous to be found in this situation but isn’t there something just a tad laughable about the tones that some experts have when they talk or write in vexed terms about just what the tab is going to be for the privilege of future generations to continue to exist on this planet? Quite a lot I should think, especially on top of the dizzying cost of Covid. It will take generations but so did funding the Second World War. This is earth, the one planet I can be comfortably persuaded will be habitable for ages to come with respect and care. We are not talking about whether we can afford to send Tristan to Eton.

Image by Hakan german from Pixabay
Image by Hakan german from Pixabay
Another thing I can find to worry about is the news that many youngsters don’t see getting vaccinated as a priority with uptake reduced on sunny days and when England played in the Euro football tournament. This is despite experts saying that vaccinating the young is important as a significant number of this group have fallen very ill with Covid.

All this speaks of a worrying degree of political engagement.

Right now, we need to be seeing more of, and hearing more from Boris Johnson. We are, after all, looking to him for leadership. Surely this is the time to capitalise on the benefits of an expensive classical education, take a leaf out of Winston Churchill’s book and deploy those sorely underused skills of oratory before our nation becomes apathetic and wearied. This is the time for carefully crafted messages, delivered with authority to assure Britain’s people that someone is in charge.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’d like to see much more of and hear more from our Prime Minister.