Friday, January 16, 2009

May 2007

This was my attempt at poking fun at, well, I'm not sure. The environment? Environmentalists? Climate change sceptics?

It's a little unfocused. For what it's worth, I'm a big green softie.

May 2007

May has arrived. Which, given that odds are you are reading this in the month of May, shouldn’t come as a horrific surprise. If it does, you are Pete Doherty, and Kate is looking for you. Assuming that you aren’t in fact an overpaid junkie with some unfathomable stranglehold on the tabloids, it’s probably fair to say that your thoughts, like so many others, are turning to holidays.

There are two ways that you can approach time off in this fabulously advanced age of ours: you can quote long and painfully earnest passages on the damage that air travel is doing to our fragile earth, and cycle to Cavan for your holidays, or you can listen to someone quote all that, nod appreciatively, and board an incredibly cheap flight to somewhere hot and economically depressed (i.e. you can buy a bottle of wine for three buttons and a piece of string). We could argue the point, but I think it’s fair to say that all the advertising is on my side, and either way, it’s hard to have an argument when your opponent is on another continent, marveling at how these clever natives managed to put so much alcohol into a coconut, never mind the aesthetic beauty of the pink umbrella and yellow straws.

But let us not underestimate the importance of our planet and the stranglehold it has over our lives. It may shock you to realise this, but the Earth controls life or death for everyone on the planet. Does anyone else find this statistic shocking? What is worse is the lack of brave journalists willing to take a stand against this ‘Sphere of Evil’. Surely there must be reams of paper devoted to this insidious threat to humankind, this cancer, if you will, on freedom. But no. I have investigated every one of Michael Moore’s books, even going so far as opening some of them, but as yet no sign of a passionate yet witty polemic on the increasingly aggressive planet that seems hellbent on drowning us in floods, baking us at horrendous temperatures or boring us to tears with ‘World Music’.

Clearly there is only one solution (well, there may be two, but the other relies on all the science fiction movies I’ve ever seen being true, and given that half of those involve a grown man in a furry suit or incredibly threatening red lights, the second is probably not a runner): We must strike first. We need to stop looking at airlines as an industry which is irreparably damaging the environment and is only getting worse due to the false perception of cheap flights created by heavy tax breaks and subsidies, and instead recognize them as modern knights on a crusade. It may help if you can imagine an Englishman in chain mail wielding a sword in the cockpit of whatever cheap flight you’ve got to Eastern Europe. On the other hand, it may not. Either way, the important thing is that we all take a stand once and for all against the sort of woolly thinking that leads us to feel guilty about such holidays. Or if people could stop trying to make me feel guilty about it. That would be good.

Eoin Cunningham is going on holiday, and will be doing so in a massively unsustainable and quite possibly legally incriminating way. See if he cares.

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Welcome to my blog. I'm a freelance writer/journalist/researcher/editor. I write about education and ideas I've had for the Irish Times. I also research, write and edit for writers, publications and websites. Here I put things that tend not to fit anywhere else. Enjoy.

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