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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What does it take to make people change? Further correspodence in response to letters in the Gloucester Echo

Dear Councillors,

I am copying you in on a letter that I have sent to the Gloucester Echo. It concerns worrying attitudes and perceptions that are being evidenced in the letter pages of the Echo. Despite the overwhelming evidence of global warming and its immediate and devastating consequences on our door step, we are still faced with the incredible position where people still are not able or not willing to reconcile cause and effect. Floods and storms of the nature that we have seen are not a surprise. They have long been predicted as a consequence of global warming. Whilst one would have hoped that the flooding disaster would finally be a wake up call that would bring people out on the street to demand action on global warming, it has actually become an event that people are using to rationalise the continuation of damaging and self centred ways. As well as the comments below praising 4x4s and Staverton airport, we have also seen the ridiculous spectacle of 10 million people flying abroad for better weather.

I trust that in your position as councillors you will fulfil your responsibilities by heeding the warnings that we have received from the flooding and oppose the expansion of Staverton Airport.

Furthermore, I have deemed it necessary to copy this letter directly to yourselves as recent correspondence from myself and Philip Booth to the Gloucester Citizen was not published.



Dear Editor,

The recent letters that you have published extolling the virtues of 4x4s and Staverton Airport’s basing of helicopters during the flooding indicate worrying attitudes towards the floods and global warming in general.

Ms. Currie writes that she hopes that 4x4 are not priced of the road, as we will need them more frequently due to the possibility of other extreme future extreme flooding events. Mr. West writes that those opposing the Staverton Airport extension are NIBY’s, effectively arguing because it was useful in the floods we should not be challenging its future development.

Let me say that I am glad these facilities were useful in alleviating personal problems in the floods. However, the positions of your letter writers need considerably more thought. Firstly, there is little doubt that the floods are a result of global warming. It has long been proven and acknowledged that warming the environment allows more moisture to be carried in the air, which will lead to extreme rain events and storms. In fact, the moisture in the air acts as a further green house gas, accelerating global warming even further and studies of this phenomena have concluded that there is in no safe increased level of CO2. It is beyond doubt that Staverton and 4x4s will cause considerable additional CO2 emissions into an environment that is already under intense pressure and is now effectively saturated with greenhouse gases. It is vital that 4x4s and Staverton Airport are opposed.

Secondly, the flooding disaster that we have experienced in recent weeks is but one of several disasters happening simultaneously around the world. In fact our disaster is benign when compared to the forest fires of the Mediterranean, the droughts of the American Midwest and Australia and the extreme flooding of South East Asia. An immediate consequence of the cumulative effect of these disasters is that food shortages are inevitable this winter, in both this country and many others around the world. All the 4x4s and helicopters in the world will not be able to help in any significant way with this emerging crisis.

All the evidence suggests that the flooding we have experienced is likely to be a minor foretaste of worse climatic disasters to come in future years. It is therefore highly concerning that despite a crisis of the magnitude of our floods, people are not still not yet demanding a more positive response to tackling global warming and in fact using it as an excuse to justify existing damaging lifestyles. We need to ask if we have become a society that is too selfish and self obsessed for our own good and future survival?

Kevin Lister,
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