Opinion: Finally — the good news

No Planet B

By Peter Matthews

Sitting at my desk, about to pen my last column for the year, I confess I have no clue what I am going to write next.

Except that I do feel it should be something positive.

There’s a challenge: While the planet burns and melts, and the forests and species are disappearing, write something encouraging.

OK, here goes…

Joe Biden has displaced the blight which was Donald Trump, and is promising to reverse a raft of idiotic measures which were themselves reversals of sensible ones. America is back on track and intends to become a leader in the race to beat climate change. Good for them and all (renewable) power to their efforts.

Electric vehicles are becoming mainstream. Despite concerns about the source materials for the batteries and the environmental cost of their extraction from the earth, this is, on balance, a good thing.

UK renewable power output overtook fossil fuels for the first time in February of this year.
Governments around the world are making serious commitments to reduce emissions and become ‘greener’.

I’d like to think most people make an effort in some way to be more environmentally responsible during their daily lives. There are some who make no effort and frankly the planet would be better off without them. I say that not to be inflammatory but merely as a statement of fact: If a person simply consumes and discards without regard for the planet which supports him, the planet would, in fact, be better off without that person.

Science is moving forwards in leaps and bounds towards new ways of generating power, new forms of packaging, new methods of food production, sustainable architecture, transport, and so on.

What it all comes down to is people. Good people do good things. Bad people do bad things. Most of us are somewhere in the middle, trying to do the right thing and generally ending up just on the plus side of the ledger.

So, as we slide towards the end of what has, for most of us, been a difficult year, I guess we should reflect on how we are doing. I believe that, as a country, we are doing very well. Spare a thought for the rest of the world: My son and his girlfriend for example, are locked down in Berlin as they have been for a lot of the year. They were green with envy as I panned the phone camera round the bottom end of Victoria Street in Cambridge on a sunny Saturday morning – just another day in paradise.

And spare a thought for those who, through no fault of their own are victims of war, famine, civil unrest, prejudice, discrimination and the like.

In the light of all the predicaments in which humans find themselves, I think we in the Waipā are doing alright.

These holidays – don’t forget to reduce, re-use, and recycle. It’s not much for the planet to ask of us. Merry Christmas and all the best for 2021.

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