Sunday, 8 February 2009

UK Independence?

The UK Independence Party wrote to the Bracknell News on 29 January but I think UK Independence just won't work. Our nation is just one part of our planet that has several huge problems. These must be solved by world politicians working together.

For example global warming must be halted. Our grandchildren will not have a full life if too much of the Arctic permafrost melts. Diseases from Africa are moving north as the bugs thrive in our warmer climate (blue tongue disease arrived in UK in 2007 and malaria is following). Expansion of warmer seas and the melting of glaciers and ice caps lead to rising sea levels which will mean some cities and low land going under water.

We need trade with other nations. We get much of our natural gas from Norway, oil from all over the world, food and electricity comes from Europe. UK Independence means energy deficiencies and we'd be eating lots of carrots, turnips and mangelwurzels.

David Young
The Green Party General Election candidate for

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Global Warming is a fact

A letter in the Bracknell Standard of 15 January accepts that global warming is a fact but claims that human beings are not to blame for the sharp rise in temperature (one degree centigrade in the last 100 years including a half degree rise in the last 30 years, an increase far greater than anything in the known past). Unfortunately all the scientific evidence shows that it is the burning of fossil fuels in increasing amounts over the last 150 years that has caused this huge risk to the continuance of human life as we know it on the planet. The result is now a carbon dioxide level in our atmosphere of 387 parts per million compared with the range of 180 to 280 before 1860, as shown from to ice cores going back 800,000 years.

Science tells us that the earth’s temperature should in fact be cooling as the cyclical changes in the planet’s movement (angle of obliquity, precession, the shape of our orbit around the sun, the Milankovitch cycles) show we should be moving slowly towards a colder period. The fact that the atmosphere is getting warmer (and the many resulting effects) is down to the burning of fossil fuels. There is no other scientific explanation. The Earth’s atmosphere is highly complex and its delicate balance has been disturbed.

We know the effect this has already had. The warmer atmosphere has caused an increased number of killer storms. Diseases from Africa are moving north as the bugs thrive in our warmer climate (blue tongue disease arrived here for the first time in 2007, malaria is following and there is disease in UK bee population – bees are needed to pollinate crops). Our wildlife is changing as the seasons alter. Water shortages in some parts of the world (e.g. Australia) are caused by rainstorms being fewer in number but torrential when they come. They also cause flooding. Hot temperatures mean less efficient food production leading to higher prices. We are using more fossil-fuel energy to keep cool in summer. Expansion of warmer seas and the melting of glaciers and icecaps will cause rising sea levels which will mean some cities and low land going under water.

Unfortunately it takes time for the temperature of the atmosphere to catch up with the greenhouse gases we humans have put there so far. So even if we use no more gas or oil, the temperature will still rise by a further half a degree centigrade in the next fifty years. To avoid runaway climate change, we must start now to cut back our carbon emissions. It will make a difference if we all help in lots of tiny ways and not build a third runway at Heathrow.

On another point, your correspondent claims that the holes in the earth’s ozone layer were reduced by nature. In fact it was the international banning of CFCs at the Montreal conference which was responsible for protecting the planet over that issue. Now the politicians must have another international meeting to stop the risk of runaway global warming immediately, not by 2050.

But politicians in Westminster have a short term goal of winning the next election. They ignore the long term peril of the human race. They ignore the threat that increased warming will to lead to such catastrophes as the melting of the permafrost. This could release into the air a maximum of 900 gigatonnes of carbon currently held inside the rotting frozen Arctic soil. This is more than is in our atmosphere already. If even a small proportion is released, runaway global warming will mean our grandchildren will not live normal lives.

The climate is like being in a cage with an angry tiger that the human race is permanently poking with a stick; a very bad idea.

David Young is the Green Party General Election candidate for Bracknell.

Friday, 26 December 2008

A letter in the Bracknell Standard of 4 December asked how we all know that global warming is a fact. Well all the independent scientific studies over the last 20 years say so (the latest, last week, was about the melting of the glaciers in
Switzerland). Even David Bellamy has now stopped being a denier and his strange opinion in the past was never scientifically supportable.

The scientific studies, including the UN International Panel on Climate Change, base their evidence on measurement. For example: ice-core records show the variation in yearly temperatures, most glaciers on the planet are now shorter than before, the width of tree rings (including those that have been long dead and preserved in peaty bogs), corals (which like trees grow a new ring every year, bigger in warmer years than colder ones) and most strangely the pollen count of dead vegetation in mud at the bottom of lakes.

The really detailed measurements, however, have been made of the change in maximum and minimum temperatures at the same places all over the world every day for very many years. Readers will be familiar with the white slatted boxes standing four feet off the ground called Stevenson screens. These were designed 150 years ago and the instruments they contain provide daily readings of temperature and humidity. These prove it is getting hotter much too quickly.

The scientific community has been unanimous in its pessimism. They say it will soon be too late to prevent the removal of most human life on the planet. The key conference is in a year’s time in Copenhagen. The politicians of the world must take action to prevent runaway global warming for the sake of future generations.

David Young

The Green Party General Election candidate for Bracknell.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Morning After Pill

I refer to the letter from the Pro Life Alliance in the Bracknell News of 11 December. This condemned the use of the morning-after pill. Now I accept that many people have religious views on this and I have no wish to criticise them, merely to point out that the useof the pill is legally allowed by Parliament.

The world's population increases by one and a half million every week, that's births less deaths. Throughout their lives, all these extra people will be using up resources of fossil-fuel energy that are irreplacable. How are all these extra mouths to be fed? And of course we must avoid runaway global warming. There are lots of questions to be asked, and few answers available.

The population of the planet has tripled in my lifetime. It just cannot go on like this. Preventing unwanted embryos turning into unwanted children can only be a good thing for the planet and its occupants. Surely we have a duty to future generations not to leave a devastated world behind us.

David Young
The Green Party General Election candidate for Bracknell.

VAT cut?

I am shocked that so many businesses and local shops have chosen not to pass on to customers the recent VAT cut of 2.5%. They have decided to increase their prices instead. Of course purchasers don't notice but as taxpayers we will all have to meet the cost of the increased profit by the enterprises concerned. The Government will receive less revenue and so, in time, we will all have to find the balance through increased taxes.

I call for publicity for local organisations that have reduced their prices to benefit their customers and UK taxpayers.

David Young
The Green Party General Election candidate for Bracknell.

Climate Change and the Empathy Defecit

Roman Krznaric argues for a revolution in empathy to tackle climate change.

‘We seem to be suffering from an empathy deficit – our ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, to see the world through those who are different from us.’ – Barack Obama

Occasionally – just occasionally – a mainstream politician says something that is both original and useful. This is the case with Barack Obama’s views on empathy. In a thousand speeches, and in his book The Audacity of Hope, he has put cultivating empathy – learning to see the world from the perspective of others – at the centre of his moral and political vision.

Read more here:

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Bracknell Bandstand: 13th December 2008

From Bracknell Friends of the Earth...

Dear Local FOE Activist Friends,

As you know we are booked to be on the bandstand in Bracknell on the 13th from 10am to at least 2pm weather permitting.

I suggest we aim to start setting up at 9.00. If all goes well with good public interest we may stay longer, weather permitting.

I spoke to Nick Mercer of fame on Friday, and confirmed that he will come with his pedal generators, and hopefully Anita as an assistant, although as usual we must be expected to help them set up, supervise the machinery with them now and then ,and help them pack up.

The basic aim is to engage the public on the subject of Climate Change, and Renewable Energy in particular- as a major main part of the solution, by way of the usual familiar Christmas themes.

Unless anyone has any better ideas, the basic plan is to have a real Christmas tree in a pot with LED lights on it driven by one pedal generator, another pedal generator to power a music machine which will produce Christmas carols, and another generator for whatever the kids try out - but particularly to power at least one appropriate bin liner monster.

The Recyclops one we have is less appropriate for the basic theme, so we wont use that.

The Climate Change one sure is on message still - and it can be used.
But I think John said he wont be available on the day, since it is a Saturday (It would be great if you could be there John, even just for the morning!!) and so he has volunteered to make us up a new monster based on the renewables theme. John, I don't know if you can get large yellow bin bags for the basic material but that would be good since it is the colour of the sun, and all it needs is a suitable big happy face stuck on it and some labels like WIND, WAVE, SOLAR PANELS, BIOFUELS, CSP, CCS etc or whatever you fancy. I have seen white bags.and silver bags but not yellow though. I wonder of we could actually make up a round sun shaped monster in yellow somehow if we can just get some yellow polythene sheeting?
Do have a look at our website John - I dont think you have seen our bin liner monsters in action have you? See picture at bottom of home page.

If you pop round to see Nick I am sure he can blow one up to show you how they work.

Silvia is painting the rest of the plywood wall I made up with red bricks and varnishing them so that it will take graffiti and be weatherproof.
Siliva has suggested re-running the biofuels free-entry competition from the big day out in July and I do think that is appropriate and would be an added attraction, so I assume she will also try and organise some sponsors for the prizes again.

I will supply and bring the Christmas tree and the pot, and bring the usual table an FOE tablecloth and appropriate FOE literature etc., since I am the only one with large enough transport.

(Nick has a enough on his plate with the pedal generators! I trust he can provide lights and some carol music on a music cassette or something.)
Finally, I promised you some green wigs or hats to brighten up our Black "prophets of doom" FOE cagoules!

Just leave that up to me. I will hand them out on the day. Do please wear your cream FOE T-shirts under your cagoule to display now and then if it is not too cold to give people a quick flash of the green FOE logo & creamy colour!

Bright green stockings might be a good idea on the ladies?

Bright green trousers on the boys?

I have some green waterproof overtrousers and may need them anyway if it rains a lot!!

I can't find any green noses. Red ones would do to pick up on the "Rudolph" aspect of Christmas I guess!

Or yellow to pick up on the renewable energy theme of the sun?

These noses are pretty uncomfortable things to wear anyway, so this is an optional extra, if you want to provide and wear your own.

You can also do your own thing to attract attention with a mask and face paints etc if you want. I can get face paints and make up cheap or even for free from my wife's shop.

Just let me know!.

All best
Bill Dowling