When every other headline tells us the economy and planet are crumbling, when all concerns pale next to the demise of Mammon, how do we keep biodiversity, if not at the forefront of, at least somewhere in people’s minds?
Biodiversity is the poor relation of environmental concerns – a fringe concern isolated at the edge of the anthropocentric interests of the majority; the biodiversity sector a small band of altruists, whose passion marks us out as oddities amongst a nation of consumers.
“Why does biodiversity matter?”
“It just does!”
We sustain this fantasy at the cost of our cause. Altruism is dead. It’s time to admit our preference for one species above another, to recount with joy those minor and mind-altering stories of personal encounters with wildlife, to acknowledge the economic value of the natural world and join the rest of the world in unashamedly embracing our selfish gene.
After two weeks religiously stirring my wee olives, changing their water daily, I have replaced a pyrex bowl of small reddish brown balls with a much more glamorous jar stuffed with almost edible olives and other ingredients of gorgeousness. Although, given my limited crop, the olives are in the minority.
Google offered so many different methods for curing the little blighters, I couldn’t decide which approach to chose. So, I’ve adopted a combination of three techniques all of which appealed to me. Having soaked them for almost two weeks in cold water, they were transformed from hard black blobs into slightly larger, paler and squishier blobs. It’s surprising how much colour seems to leach out of them. Every time I changed the water, more of their glossy blackness was washed away.
So, the government has committed the UK to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by the middle of the century. And we thought we were having a tough time reaching 60%. I’ll try to withhold judgment until I see how they propose to achieve this laudable target, but it does appear contradictory to the plans announced last week for expansion at Stanstead Airport.
I fear they may be putting all their eggs in a nuclear-powered egg basket. My childhood years spent marching through the street of London with CND and trudging the perimeter fence of Greenham Common with a “Hamsters Against the Bomb” banner have ingrained a mistrust of nuclear power deep in my psyche. I cannot countenance the idea of an ever-more nuclear Britain.
I come from a family of nomads; the daughter of immigrants from a country of immigrants. As a London child, when asked about my family’s origins, I knew the answer. My family was my parents. My parents came from New Zealand. It was a source of pride. My mother was from Waiheke, my father from Wellington.
Waiheke? Where’s that?
It’s an island.
No one asked, so neither did I.
Had I been there?
I flew through two nights to arrive at an airport of glass and steel and walked out into the humid green scent of a New Zealand summer.
When I booked my flight to New Zealand, almost a year ago, it was with several purposes in mind. I wanted to explore the country and family history further, to set time aside to do some work of my own, and to catch up with family and friends. My timing for the trip was driven by a very English motive – the weather.
The thought of another British winter made me twitch. It’s not the cold. I can take the mild extremes of London temperature quite happily. It’s not even the day length – at least not that alone. It’s the quality of light in British winters that drives me nuts.
I know this sounds ridiculously obvious, but I simply cannot see in the dark.