Don’t despair. There is hope for the Earth | Letters


Letters: don’t despair. There is hope for the Earth

When faced with climate catastrophe, pessimism is understandable. But the momentum for change is building
Climate change activists on the global day of Action for Climate Justice in Glasgow last weekend.

I have huge respect for Kenan Malik, whose thoughtful articles have often opened my eyes to new perspectives, and would agree that pessimism with regard to climate change can be enormously debilitating and counter-productive (“Want to change the world? Then you’d better give up on self-defeating pessimism“, Comment).

I wonder if he has come across Global Optimism, an organisation set up by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, and their podcasts Outrage + Optimism? And has he heard about the international Active Hope courses (based on Joanna Macy’s work) that are run far and wide? Though I hadn’t heard the alarming words he quotes from Roger Hallam of Extinction Rebellion, I can report that at every XR meeting I have attended the overriding emotional tone has been of respect, integrity, inclusiveness and most of all love… love for humanity and the world.

Last Saturday, I marched for Global Climate Justice, as did hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, and with my daughter and granddaughter experienced a sense of hope and optimism that at last the momentum for positive change is building. From this perspective, it does not feel as if “pessimism and misanthropy have come to colonise much of the left”.
Marianne Tissandier
South Brent, Devon

After reading the article “Lightbulb moments: why stately homes have turned to illuminations” (News), it seems that the message about climate change has not sunk in. Illuminated events should be decreasing, not increasing, and organisations such as English Heritage and the National Trust should be showing a lead in this area if we are to take tackling climate change seriously.
Andrew Hudson
Ulverston, Cumbria

Treat drugs like cigarettes

The illegality of drugs causes many deaths because it stops us from controlling the drugs’ strength and purity, it makes it harder for addicts to seek help, and it hands over the trade to criminals, leading to shootings on our streets (“You’ll never have a drug-free society, expert warns UK“, News). We should treat drugs as we now very successfully treat cigarettes, and should tax them to fund treatment programmes. The police and courts would have more resources to tackle other crimes.
Richard Mountford
Hildenborough, Kent

Bring back the Thame Gazette

I agree with last week’s letter bemoaning the lack of “a proper local newspaper that includes obituaries, club news and civil announcements” (“We need a local paper“). Covid has increased loneliness and isolation, particularly for elderly people. At a recent meeting of local residents, many of us were surprised and saddened to hear of the deaths of people we knew. A chorus of “bring back the Thame Gazette” ensued.
Shirley Denny
Thame, Oxfordshire

Clapping was a cynical ploy

As chief executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green clearly comes at the relationship between health and social care from a particular angle (“Care boss blasts ministers for treating NHS as ‘favoured child‘”), but his comments helpfully open up a conversation about the government’s publicity about the NHS.

I never clapped for the NHS on the doorstep. I thought it was insulting to stressed-out NHS workers. A national clap comes cheap, requiring the services of a limited number of government media officers. This was used to blur the distinction between valuing the services of dedicated staff and the protection of the NHS as an institution, while drawing attention away from failings of ministers in their handling of a worldwide health crisis in the UK. I would like to think that when the public inquiry gets underway next year, it will shine light on this cynical ploy – but I’m not holding my breath.
Geoff Reid

Perhaps the solution to the complaints made by the social care boss is to take care homes back under public control, with local authorities as the provider and employer of care workers, who should be paid at least a living wage and properly valued and trained.

Privatised care homes are run as profit centres, not as a social service. Some of the profits are held in offshore tax havens. The Labour party should be raising this as an issue which increasingly affects an ageing population.
Ann Bliss
Bromley, London

Excellent evisceration

David Mitchell’s brutal evisceration of Liz Truss and his championing of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (“It’s Liz Truss’s moment to do the right thing“, the New Review) put him right up there with Marina Hyde and John Crace – brilliant journalists who can raise a smile even as they make us weep. Thank you for helping to keep us sane in these desperate times.
Jill Salisbury-Hughes
Winton, Shropshire

Ferry unreasonable

Correspondent Laraine Thompson believes that Seamas O’Reilly should take a ferry from England to Northern Ireland with his young son, instead of flying (“Too many flying visits“, Letters). I believe that, from London, the nearest port with ferries to Northern Ireland is Birkenhead. To reach Birkenhead from London would require a train journey and this would be followed by about eight hours on the ferry, an interesting experience with a young child. On arrival in Belfast, Seamas would then have to travel to Derry by some means. The return journey would take a similar length of time. Thank goodness that the junior O’Reilly has been spared this and that he has such a loving relationship with his extended family. Zoom and telephones do not replace physical closeness.
Jean Fenemore
Croston, Lancashire

Badge of opulence

I enjoyed your piece on Anne Boleyn’s badge (“This old bird? Well, actually it’s the long-lost crest of Anne Boleyn“, News). The black area of the falcon’s body is so well demarcated from the remaining gilding that it is not soot. When antique silvering paint ages it blackens, just as household silver tarnishes. Her falcon in the original badge was silver. Gold and silver are usually avoided together in heraldry for modesty. The rich emblem was poor Anne’s fleeting opulence.
Khwan Phusrisom
Shildon, County Durham


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