- Editorial -
Back from the barricades
in Genoa? Or picketing the airport prior to taking your beach holiday
in Spain? I guess you're all pretty busy. So, I'll just say 'Hi ' to
all those folks huddled around a warm fire in the Southern Hemisphere.
We know you are there and appreciate it OK.
We have a
distinct Global feel to Hacks this month. Stuart on his consumer society
bandwagon, Mr X is our industrial spy who went temping for MI5 and came
back with a good secret or two. Dr K is dispensing good advice to travellers
about to hitch around the world and Kinga and Chopin are actually hitching
around the world. Maggy is out there in Spain getting squished by lemmings
and Ian has a nightmare to tell about travel in Morocco for the unwary.
Helen has something to say about the way we live now with mobile phones.
They are here to stay and they are altering out lives quite radically.
British Telecom is removing the London phone boxes. The future is coming
true. In Finland I know they already sue them to display art objects.
It has me thinking about what is happening to those of us left behind
in England this summer?
You only have to
sit in a south-west London garden on a hot night to realise that the
air is full of jets coming and going. (As you would expect from the
worlds busiest airport) The air is also full of poison. Jets spew out
carbon particulates from the jet engines and unspent fuel. We, who live
around airports in a wide radius are exposed to these invisible poisons.
IS anyone doing a study on cancer clusters 20 miles around airports?
Sure that isn't want you want to hear as you jet off to picket another
global conference or EU summit, but the fact is that every backpacker,
every tourist and businessman and protester is contributing to the slow
death of hundreds of thousands of people under the flight paths of the
world. Something to think about surely? It isn't just noise that we
should be afraid of. Invisible pollutants (PM10s) contribute to a rising
tide of asthma sufferers and other reactions. Of course if you stopped
tourism by jet, half the world economy will crash to a halt. So a solution
has to be found to make jet fuel safer. But think of this, when you
arrive in another country, multiplied by thousands of others, you bring
money yes, but you get to exchange diseases, place a burden on a local
environment - exhaust water supplies and despoil a way of life, whether
you intended to or not. The more remote, the more the impact. How do
we go there and not wreck the ecology? How do we go on mass to Greece
or Spain and not affect the way of life of the locals? Impossible. How
could we make it better? Good question.
According to Bjorn Lomborg in his new book 'The
Skeptical Environmentalist' - the panic over the environment
is oversold. London's air is the cleanest it has been since the 16th
Century. But before you set of some fireworks to celebrate, that takes
us back to the era of the Great Stink, when the River was so choked
with excrement people had to move out in summer. It was a time when
there were still outbreaks of plague and cholera. When the air is as
good as it was in 500 AD, then you can begin boasting. He states with
some authority that rare species are not becoming extinct as quickly
as we thought. He states that tropical forests are not being lost at
2-4% per year but (at UN sourced figures) 0.5%. He cites Puerto Rico
where 99% of the primary forest area has been lost over 400 years and
only seven of 60 species of bird has been lost.
He also states (with some justification) that there is as much oil under
the ground as has been already consumed. Nothing is running out and
we are ingenious enough to come up with substitutions if we care to.
Beware of people who say it's all OK, we don't have to panic.That way
lies complacancy. His book, well intended it might be,could be used
as an excuse to do nothing. We all need to think about waste, water
and air purity and what we feed ourselves and our children. If we care
about the planet, it might just get around to caring about us.
It responsible travelling
even possible? Be good to debate this before the likes of ETA kill it
all prematurely. Read James Skinner's article on ETA and the future
of Spain on the front page now.
More thoughts for
a summer day coming but meanwhile, take a look at this months Hackwriters,
enjoy. Fiction, Travel, Lifestyles we have it all. If you are new to
us, explore the archives and differing sections, there is always something
to read. That is why we are here.
Thanks to all the new people who have submitted, we appreciate it.
Good luck and put
another log on the fire mate, keep us warm.
There has been a delay with my book 'Diamonds'. So if you ordered
If you didn't
well, it will be finally available in October.
There are some uncorrected
proofs out there however. I claim no responsibility.
Just got the proofs done, so be patient, these things take time and
it's worth the wait - honest.
UK Amazon link
Available October. It will makes a great present for anyone who needs
a good doorstop.
It's about the 'Great Diamond Rush of 1872' and if you ever saw Butch
well there you go...
all the best
Sam North - managing
letters to editor