Posts Tagged With: politics

Why I’m Walking for Wildlife

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It’s a waste bin, it’s the Earth – go on, guess the symbolic meaning…

I promise this will be my almost probably last post about my sponsored walk! On 28th April 2018, I will walking from Aberaeron (in West Wales, UK) to Lampeter (er, still in West Wales, UK). I thought you should know why (apart from the obvious “because he’s totally bonkers” reason).

Wildlife worldwide is in crisis and it isn’t just cute furry animals, pretty flowers, or the other living things lucky enough to have come under Sir David Attenborough’s scrutiny. There is pretty much no order of life that hasn’t been negatively affected by human activities. One of the problems that humans appear to have is why the loss of an ape, a snail, a frog, a tiny water-borne flea or a mammoth elephant might matter.

When I say every living thing is connected to every other living thing, some of you will roll your eyes and zone out, probably thinking I am a lost hippy from the 60s. OK, feel free to do that. It doesn’t change the fact that every living thing is connected to every other living thing. So what you do to stuff affects everything else, and vice versa.

Places like Denmark Farm provide a sanctuary for wildlife, a place where nature happens, despite human activities. If it were to close, it wouldn’t be too long before another native habitat of a pile of British flora and fauna would disappear forever.

It seems no government ever really cares enough about the global environment to protect its native wildlife. It gives huge grants to companies to build infrastructure deemed “essential” whilst failing to see anything other than political and financial gain. Conservation Centres like Denmark Farm struggle on, feeding the rural economy and maintaining the precious ecosystem as best it can. Without that most unnatural of things, money, it simply cannot survive just like the short-tailed bumblebee (declared extinct in 2000).

Here’s the bottom line: destroy the flora and fauna and you cease to have a viable planet to live on. Unless there is some infrastructure company about to build us a new one (where are the Magratheans when you need them?*) then being able to travel from Leeds to London in an hour or so will be utterly, utterly pointless.

That is why I am Walking for Wildlife, for Denmark Farm and the Planet Earth.

Please give generously at: https://localgiving.org/fundraising/21miles4denmarkfarm/

THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH!

 

oOo

  • Legendary planet builders, according to Douglas Adams.
Categories: bees, birds, insect, Sustainable Stuff, Universe, wildlife | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

A Small Blue thing

Pale blue dot image with a wider field of view to show more background

We are here… for now (Images courtesy of NASA, Public Domain)

“Today, I am

A Small Blue Thing.

Like a marble

Or an eye.”

Small Blue Thing by Suzanne Vega

When Suzanne Vega sang these words, I don’t think she had the picture in mind. I’m sure she didn’t, in fact, but somehow the words resonate both with the picture’s title and its subject.

Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a distance of 3.7 billion miles. The scientist Carl Sagan requested that NASA turn Voyager round to photograph Earth one last time, before this human-made object headed into the space between the space. It has now travelled the furthest from its origin than any human-crafted object has, and is currently still communicating with us at a distance of 13 billion miles.

We did that. As a species, we did that. In doing so, we have helped us all to understand our place, both physical and metaphysical, in the Universe.

“As we begin to comprehend that the earth itself is a kind of manned spaceship hurtling through the infinity of space — it will seem increasingly absurd that we have not better organized the life of the human family.”

— Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice President of the United States, speech at San Fernando Valley State College, 26 September 1966.

“Oddly enough the overriding sensation I got looking at the Earth was, my god that little thing is so fragile out there.”

— Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut, interview for the 2007 movie In the Shadow of the Moon.

“If somebody’d said before the flight, “Are you going to get carried away looking at the Earth from the moon?” I would have say, “No, no way.” But yet when I first looked back at the Earth, standing on the moon, I cried.”

— Alan Shepard

Perhaps the first group of people on those much-hyped commercial space flights shouldn’t be a random collection of wealthy individuals. It should be the leaders of every nation on the planet. They should see what it is that they, collectively, represent.* Maybe they can stay up there until all of them can prove they understand what it is to affect the future of A Small Blue Thing.

***

As I started gathering quotes for this post, the so-called “Doomsday Clock” (not, as the BBC article was at pains to point out, a real timepiece) was advanced by 30 seconds, largely because of the expected problems caused by one individual, living on that pale blue dot.

For Humans, that dot disappearing would be apocalyptic. For the Universe, not so much. It really is time we all remembered that.

oOo

* Plus there could be a TV show public vote to decide who we allow back to terra firma.

Categories: News, Universe | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Turn up, Turn out, Turn in, Turnip

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Those regular readers of thesnailofhappiness.com will know that she was unhappy after the elections we had here in Britain because of the low turnout. I wasn’t exactly pleased myself and not only because once more I felt that my writing “Buy my book!” on the ballot paper in crayon had gone unheeded.

It seems that democracy and the process that goes with it has lost its appeal across most of Europe, and in other countries too. I decided to see how true this assertion was, if only because it meant I could play with Excel and graphs. After my last post, I was going to plot the graph of Turnout on my kitchen cupboards but decided against it on the grounds that I would only have to clean it off afterwards.

The good news is that the UK weren’t the most apathetic country in Europe (and don’t think that Italy, France or Ireland were, it’s just their turnout percentages weren’t quoted on the BBC website from whence I extracted these figures). Look at Slovakia – now find a ruler and measure the figure off the y-axis. See? 13.1%. Now that’s voter apathy!

I suppose we could let them off because they are newbies to the whole EU massive-waste-of-money-unless-you-happen-to-be-on-the-gravy-train, er, Parliament election process. In fact, if you are going to be kind then I guess all the countries up to Romania can be ‘let off’ for a similar reason. So, really the first country that should hang its collective democratic head in shame is…Portugal. You thought I was going to put the UK, didn’t you? Well, I nearly did because we’re next.

In fact, if democracy requires a majority of people to vote for someone or something, then really any election needs more than 50% of the eligible voters to actually get off their backsides and put a cross in a box. So, a big shoutout (I believe that is the kids’ hippy-hop street talk term) for Sweden (just), Denmark, Greece, Malta, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The last two merit a huge parade with beer and flags – their turnout was 90%. Perhaps voting is compulsory in those countries, or perhaps the BBC put the decimal point in the wrong place.

So I wondered, as a world of Excel graphs beckoned, are there any common factors that could predict turnout in each of these countries? I took a serious, well-considered approach and multiplied numbers with other numbers to create a graph that fits on the page. I chose factors that are likely to influence voter turnout (or that I could find figures for in a quick Google search). Rulers at the ready (and possibly a magnifying glass):

Proof if proof were needed...

Proof if proof were needed…

I am pretty sure that with some analysis, that a combination of chocolate consumption and Eurovision wins will reliably predict the turnout of the next election.

My ideas for ensuring a good turnout? I’m glad you asked.

  1. Make voting compulsory. People not voting will be forced to watch ALL party political broadcasts at one sitting. Plus they won’t be entitled to the free chocolate and wine that people who DO vote will be allowed
  2. Actually, there should be an age range which if you fall into, you have to vote. Set it from 15 to 70, and I won’t tell their parents if the 15 year-olds drink some wine afterwards. If you are older than 70, you don’t have to vote unless you want to as you have most likely earned the day off, what with paying taxes, being unpaid carers for your children’s children and all that sort of stuff.
  3. Have bouncy castles, picnic sites and bands playing at polling stations so that families can make a day of it.
  4. Have a box to tick on the ballot form marked “None of the above. Please select some more candidates for me to choose from.” If a majority of voters tick that box, start again with different candidates. But I’m not sure what to do about the wine and stuff – it might be used as an excuse to have another day out with free choccy and the like. Perhaps THAT could be an issue that people could stand for.
  5. Link the number of seats available in the European Parliament for each country to its number of Eurovision wins. Or chocolate consumption. Or both.

Right, that’s that sorted. Now to deal with climate change and making nuts in chocolate illegal…

oOo

 

 

 

Categories: General silliness, News | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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