The march of progress comes with global warming price tag – Helen Martin

DEALING with global warming, pollution and the necessary protection of the environment, are especially high priorities for youngsters. They can imagine their lives and those of their children being savagely affected as the world degrades before their eyes. Oldies, on the other hand, will probably pass on before the Earth bites the dust.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 4th March 2019, 5:00 am
School pupils stage a protest outside the Scottish Parliament calling for action on climate change. Picture: Greg Macvean
School pupils stage a protest outside the Scottish Parliament calling for action on climate change. Picture: Greg Macvean

Back in the day when heavy industry employed millions, and when domestic, as well as industrial, chimneys spewed out burned coal and wood creating smog, blackening buildings and challenging breathing, pollution was rife in cities.

In rural areas, the atmosphere was very different. Cattle and other stock in smaller farms were still breaking wind but generally the air was clear, trees were abundant and nature ruled. Even suburban areas seemed quite fresh. But everything cleaned up when coal and wood fires were banned in cities, smog became a part of history and heavy, smoky industry declined.

The difficulty dealing with pollution and global warming today, is that we all contribute to it with causes, practices and behaviour that have become essential to us and are considered normal.

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Many families now have not just one but two or three cars. In times past, one annual holiday about a few hours away by train or car, was standard, as opposed to two, three or four family holidays abroad by air travel through congested sky routes in the 21st century.

Foodstuff in the 50s or 60s was mostly produced in the UK. Potatoes, carrots, onions, turnip, cabbage and peas were typical veg supplies, from local greengrocers (in paper bags). Fruit was seasonal. There were no avocados, tri-colour peppers, garlic bulbs, courgettes, aubergines, or huge supermarkets displaying all-year-round fruit and veg from around the world, transported here in vast containers by cargo ships or planes and millions of haulage vehicles.

When women were housewives and men bread-winners, manual housework from laundry to cooking and cleaning was an exhaustive, full-time job.

Family homes now depend on massive fuel supplies to run dishwashers, central heating, multiple TVs, computers and laptops, toasters, electric kettles, extractor fans and dozens of other items that didn’t even exist 50 or 60 years ago.

All energy contributes to global warming and pollution, as do discarded computers containing metals and dangerous chemicals, or other frequently ditched household equipment that isn’t built to last or is replaced with a “next generation”.

Huge workplace offices used to have staff working with notebooks, landline phones and typewriters, rather than hundreds or thousands of computers in air-conditioned multi-storeys.

World War I lasted for four years, and WWII for six. But now wars and terrorism are continuously running around the world with air raids, bombs, explosions and battle technology polluting land and sky.

World peace, travelling by horse and cart, limited diets and ingredients, farewell to technology, rare sunshine holidays, the return of the washing board and mangle. . . well, that’s never going to happen.

But it is worthwhile younger people realise pollution and global warming is not just down to plastic and cars. It has very gradually built up with aspects of life we all now depend on and that cannot be reversed. It’s the toughest challenge any generation has ever faced.

Time to call a halt to Orange Walks

THE Scottish Government is under pressure to deal with sectarianism in the country, and not just when it comes to tribal football matches.

It’s something (Northern Ireland “lite”) that has survived, lingered, and been “accepted” in Lanarkshire, longer than most other areas.

It wasn’t surprising that Bradley Wallace, who was jailed for spitting on a priest in Glasgow, hailed from Uddingston. And he did that while among thousands taking part in an Orange Order parade. Freedom of speech and public protest is one thing. But if that isn’t permitted regarding racism, why should it be allowed or “accepted” with sectarianism?

Surely there is legal justification for the government to ban Orange Order marches – and any Catholic anti-Protestant marches too. And to create a special anti-sectarian force of officers, teachers and social workers to stamp it out in well-known Lanarkshire.

Don’t tie GPs’ hands over use of antibiotics

THE NHS strategy of pressing GPs to limit prescribing antibiotics is understandable as bugs become resistant to them. But the Royal College of GPs said they know a prescription could be a matter of life or death.

Recent research has now revealed that elderly patients with infection are eight times more likely to get potentially fatal sepsis if they aen’t given antibiotics.

Senior managers or eminent medics may believe they should make the rules, but it’s the GP who knows the patient and their history, carries out the examination and is the only one in a position to make that decision. Even if the senior partner has to approve the ’script, GPs shouldn’t be “reined in”.

Labour must come clean on anti-Semitism

MARGARET Hodge, a (Jewish) Labour MP, has made it clear that she believes Jewish people should have a nation state, but that she (like Jeremy Corbyn) consistently criticises past and present Israeli governments over their treatment of Palestinians. She’s absolutely right – and brave.

But she also despairs over Labour’s anti-Semitism. I believe her. But the public only have woolly Corbynistic “hints” and no specific accusations.

It’s high time each of these anti-Semitic acts, statements and insults were honestly documented and revealed to us all rather than kept secret within the ranks, presumably to preserve the party.