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“The grim reality of our impact on nature”

  • by JW

“The grim reality – and it is pretty grim, I’m afraid – is that if you really feel it’s a shame there aren’t as many species living on the planet today as there were, and you feel the need to act, then you need to stop buying stuff.”


The VGS is interested in ‘working towards a sustainable Sidmouth’ – the questions being what exactly is a ‘sustainable Sidmouth’ and how do we get there.

The Champions Awards are inviting local folk to nominate someone who has some good practical projects demonstrating what ‘sustainability’ means and how to achieve it: Enter the Champions Awards 2023 – Sustainable Sidmouth Champion Awards

Another approach is SolarPunk and what it suggests as good practical ways to realise a ‘realistically optimistic’ view of the future: Why Solarpunk? – Sidmouth Solarpunk

In yesterday’s news piece, the views of the Western Morning News editor were considered, as he looked at the responses to the government’s latest announcements on the environment: 

“Why can’t pressure groups at least acknowledge progress has been made and give some credit to ministers for putting together a plan with targets that they are pledging to hit? You cannot trash people’s lives and livelihoods in pursuit of green objectives – there has to be some balance.” Commenting on the government’s new Environment Plan – Vision Group for Sidmouth

In today’s WMN a very different take on how we need to confront what’s happening to the environment was voiced – by regular columnist Anton Coaker.

He is by no means a fan of ‘eco-warriors’ and the ‘woke-brigade’: see how he has been reported on the VGS news pages over the years Burning wood in the countryside – Vision Group for Sidmouth and The ‘rewilding’ debate… – Vision Group for Sidmouth and Running out of food: facing decisions about how to farm – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Here is his archive: The Anton Coaker column thread | Page 8 | The Farming Forum

The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet – Episode: Nature (No. 1) – Picture Shows: KIP OLE POLOS – (C) Studio Silverback – Photographer: screengrab

This is from Anton Coaker’s latest, where, as per usual, he does not mince his words:

The grim reality of our impact on nature

I don’t know about you, but I rather thought the degradation of the natural world was almost wholly down to ‘economic growth’, the endless fixation we have with spending more money and having more stuff. We only have one source of material from which to extract all this ‘stuff’, and it’s the big wobbly ball of molten rock beneath our feet, spinning away as it wings its annual way round a bigger ball of burning hydrogen. And it’s a certainty that just by existing in ever greater numbers, we will deplete resources available to other species. Add in our vast technological exploitation, and the nature of our desires, and the idea that the natural world can prosper while sharing space with us is just a fantasy.

The grim reality – and it is pretty grim, I’m afraid – is that if you really feel it’s a shame there aren’t as many species living on the planet today as there were, and you feel the need to act, then you need to stop buying stuff. You need to stop going on two foreign holidays a year, you need to stop buying the occasional new car, even if it does have a ‘save the whales’ sticker in the window. No more renewing the kitchen or bathroom suites because it ‘looks tired’, or the colour doesn’t match any more. When you see the glossy ads on TV, you need to see the products for the greed and waste they represent, and learn to despise what they stand for. Don’t admire or envy people who have the latest gadget or biggest toys. You need to regard them as stealing your grandchildren’s inheritance. Slowly building a hatred for them is the logical progression.

You see? If you really grasp the problem, and really feel you have to do something, then it quickly gets ugly. Really ugly. Pretending you can stop the destruction by putting aside a couple of acres of green space is futile. Worse than futile, as it condones what’s happening elsewhere.

Myself, I’m a lot more relaxed about all this. Oh, I lament what is being lost, and what’s yet to be lost. But I know we’re not going to stop. I recognise that we don’t have the self-discipline, and we won’t vote for leaders who will make us do what has to be done…

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