Protesting & public transport

August 6th, 2019

Hello readers!

After conversations with friends, apparently I actually have a few readers now…

The first subject I’d like to return to this week is Bristol Airport. Getting straight to the point, there is a huge expansion plan still being considered.

It’s worse than I thought when I originally discovered and objected – as not only do they plan to expand operations, therefore of course adding to carbon emissions, they want to increase car parking areas. And apparently a new fleet of on-site buses, running on diesel, is already transporting staff – these buses only exist because of new car parks sited far from the central buildings…

Very concerning too is that the planning application seems to be designed to get permission through before the more restrictive emissions targets become law.

Why can’t CEO of Bristol Airport Dave Lees look beyond short-term profit and realise the long-term effect of damaging the environment is something we’ll all have to deal with?

Please, as many of you as possible, register your objections, as individuals, using the link here, as soon as possible –

Still on the subject of planes, I’ve been noticing various summer strikes planned – I think the BA pilots one might still be going ahead, but a Heathrow staff strike has just been called off – over staff pay, not climate change issues! (I must admit I was hoping for some environmentally conscious strikes – likely in the near future, I imagine.)

Of course millions of people have been looking forward to their summer holidays all year and were relieved to be on board planes taking them to their destinations, including some of our family this week.

But I do wonder when things might change…(I’m sending a handwritten letter to KLM this week, hoping that might get a response – see previous blog…)

‘Flight shaming’ , or flyg-skam in Swedish, is encouraged by Greta Thunberg. It’s such a tricky area. I’ve heard such attitudes described as ‘green fascism’; and I do worry about becoming/seeming too ‘militant’ …

But then I go too much the other way – feeling too timid to say anything. How to influence people without being heavy-handed or seeming judgemental….?

I was heartened by a conversation with Andrew Duffin yesterday. He’s the director of Light Group Holdings (renewable solutions for residential and commercial use). He sent a drone & camera up to assess the suitability of our roof for solar panels. He encouraged me to talk with people about my/our climate change concerns – people are more receptive to considering the whole topic these days, he reckons.

We started discussing it all because he’d visited Whaley Bridge recently – we actually have friends who live there too. I can’t believe that, in all the media coverage about the potential flooding, there has hardly been any mention of climate change – surely the source of the incredibly heavy rain that filled the reservoir so quickly. All the attention seems to be on whether the reservoir had been maintained properly – of course that is an important issue, but isn’t a ‘wake up call’ to tackling climate change important too?

The Siberian forest fires, spreading to the Arctic (so unimaginable…), in an area the size of Belgium, is a horrific example of how bad things have become.

I’m going to briefly return to vehicles now. The UK’s car industry is in decline at the moment, though one bright spot is the continued acceleration of sales of battery electric vehicles. However, despite the government’s claim that electric vehicles are the future of the industry they still represent only 1% of total car sales.

To my surprise, I was quite interested in a recent television programme about the history of the car, in the series Revolutions: Ideas that changed the World, presented by Jim Al-Khalili. It ended with an intriguing and optimistic section about an amazingly versatile, powerful material, graphine (related to the ‘lead’/graphite in pencils) – this has the potential to be made into batteries, possibly to power cars in the future. There are definitely negative issues around lithium and other chemicals used in current car batteries, so an alternative component would be very welcome…..

And, still with cars, I love this statistic: the number of annual travel passes for public transport in Vienna exceeds the number of registered cars in that city. Vienna’s public transport is efficient, affordable and used by 2.6 million people a day.

Let’s learn something from that!

Finally, a little sad note (sorry) – a senior lecturer at UWE in Bristol has been fined for his part in the Extinction Rebellion protests in April across London. He sounds such a lovely man, previously advising the government on eco-towns – he began crying in court saying that current action against climate change is ‘not enough, it’s not working’. He’s right, and why should he be punished for having the courage to break the law in a bid to change things for the better?…

Today, one of the letters I’ve written has been to Cressida Dick at the Metropolitan Police asking for  leniency during the September & October protests – we’ll see!

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