L E T T E R S
Letters to the Editors
VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY Vandana Shiva’s eloquent article Choosing Simplicity (Issue 273) details all that is wrong with the present world economic model and the desire to consume, regardless of the natural world’s inability to deliver more of its precious and irreplaceable gifts.
Unfortunately, the Western world remains on a course of self-destruction, ignorant of the greatest of all human illusions – progress.
In a world where industrialists and politicians cannot perceive of a time without expansion and development, this dream of unending growth has finally burst in a nightmare of such awfulness that only a return to voluntary simplicity will finally reveal the truth and save the human species.
That truth is already known by many: that we are but one species among billions here on Earth, each dependent on the others, in the magical dance of life. David Harvey Wiltshire
HUMAN BEHAVIOUR Jonathon Porritt’s article The Elephant in the Room (Issue 274) is surely confirmation of what many people have known for a long time.
Two important additions to the global population issue need highlighting. The first is the cultural change necessary to popularise a ‘single child’ policy. Family, as an institution, remains sacred, unassailable. You only have to listen to the words of jubilation, from parents, grandparents, the media, at the birth of a child today to realise the depth of this. Think of the associations: new life, personal creation, continuance of genealogy, the ‘right’ to have children, faith in the future of our species… They may be a chimera, but emotions drive human behaviour.
The second point concerns other organisations, such as the Optimum Population Trust, of which Jonathon Porritt is himself a patron, joined by celebrities David Attenborough, James Lovelock, Aubrey Manning, Jane Goodall and Chris Packham. In the interests of getting real, social networking and seeing a fuller picture, they too deserve a mention. Ann Palmer by email
VEGAN LIFESTYLE As a vegan of many years’ standing I am disappointed (but not surprised) at the very negative responses to Animals: A New Ethics (Issue 271). Mark Measures (Letters, Issue 274) seems to be saying that a slaughterhouse where stock is accompanied by the farmer throughout would ensure the wellbeing of the animals. Surely there can be no such thing as a humane slaughterhouse? Animals are sensitive to the sounds and scents of death and this causes them considerable distress before they come anywhere near the stun guns or the knives. And this takes no account of transportation to the killing sites.
The point about grassland that is not suitable for cultivation seems valid but takes no account of the fact that much arable land is currently used for grazing. If everyone were vegan, existing arable land could well feed the whole world, and any truly unproductive land could sometimes be used for housing or could be left to develop its own flora and fauna; we would then once again have the benefit of wilderness areas and more space for recreational purposes.
However much people may disagree with the vegan lifestyle, I do beg that it’s not condemned as impractical. There are plenty of us out here who can prove that an alternative lifestyle is possible, enjoyable and even desirable. Given the current concerns about climate change, land degradation and over-population, it may become necessary. Wendy Waller by email
ENERGY DISPERSAL Having just had seven 240W solar panels installed on my workshop roof, I am heavily into monitoring and thinking about our use of electricity.
So I woke up the other day convinced that the answer to energy storage lies in ‘dispersal’. As we regularly charge up our laptops and iPads and what-have-you, so we should have batteries in every domestic electrical appliance, set to charge up when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. How much power-station electricity would that save, nationally? Globally?
And that was before I read Oliver Tickell’s article this morning. Why is this not being done already, when Germany now apparently has so many solar installations that they produce more electricity on a sunny day than the supply companies can use, but still have to pay out for? Percy Mark Hertfordshire
Update: September/October 2012 – Isue 274 To contact Charles Secrett regarding his article Building a Movement, his email is email@example.com
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