Ham&High letters: Climate emergency, 5G and Brexit

PUBLISHED: 16:30 03 October 2019

Climate assembly at Belsize Community Library. Picture: MYRA NEWMAN

Climate assembly at Belsize Community Library. Picture: MYRA NEWMAN


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

Climate emergency through poetry

Myra Newman, Friends of Belsize Library, writes:

What a fantastic evening at Belsize Community Library!

Many thanks to the library team for hosting an engaging, inter-generational public assembly for the whole community recently with support from Tom Selwyn (SOAS), Caroline Chan (musician), Andrew Thornton (Budgens), Extinction Rebellion's Martin Nelson (singer, actor and environmentalist).

Included in the public assembly was a performance in her own words of Time Has Run Out by 10-year old Lucia Camrass who attends a Camden Primary School and a poetry reading of The Climate It Is A-Changin by Robert Ilson, a local poet.

Time Has Run Out by Lucia Camrass - aged 10

You are probably bored of hearing words like melting ice

But we will keep using them until you change

Nothing is different except awareness

People are waking to our problem, but lots of you are not changing, not acting

I am the future and it's me and my generation

Who will inherit this crisis

This is my call for action, my plea for open eyes

We must change now and if we don't humanity dies

The Climate It Is A-Changin' by Robert Ilson

I do not want to leave my cave today

Outside's too bright, too hot; too hot, too bright

The looming sand-dunes give me such a fright

I long for "trees" - but what and where are they?

Yet leave I must: my canteen's nearly dry

So dodging water-thieves I'll try to find

At least one last moist puddle left behind

For me by fleeing Nature lest I die.

They say once there were"rivers" fleshed with "fish"

Places called "parks" or "gardens" rich in "flowers"

(Whatever they were) where one could spend hours

Being alive. Oh if I had my wish I'd live back then; I hope those that did so

Loved what they had before they let it go

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Climate proposals to be revealed

Cllr Adam Harrison, cabinet member for a sustainable Camden, writes:

This summer, 50 Camden citizens came together over two hot July evenings and one Saturday to consider the climate emergency facing the world and make recommendations for Camden Council and residents of Camden.

Next Monday, October 7, at 7pm, members of the country's first Climate and Ecological Emergency Citizens' Assembly will present their 17 proposals to the full council at the Crowndale Centre.

These range from encouraging us all to switch to low-carbon dietary choices, to trialling car-free zones and introducing segregated cycle lanes, to mobilising community groups to tackle the crisis.

Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting and listen to the debates, and I invite Ham & High readers to join us. Councillors will also be voting on a formal motion to recognise the emergency; all four parties represented in Camden are supporting the motion.

Back in 2010, the council set itself the goal of achieving a 40 per cent reduction in carbon by 2020, based on 2005 levels. We are on track to meet this, supported by the rapid decarbonisation of the electricity grid as well as action to insulate our homes better, generate electricity from solar — such as we now do at Swiss Cottage Library — and introduce new forms of low-carbon heating, like the 500 homes that benefit from the Somers Town Energy project. Other recent moves include replacing our street lighting with more efficient LED lamps and creating the Camden Climate Fund for residents, community groups, and businesses to apply to for renewable energy project funding.

The whole world needs to go much further and much faster if we are to have any hope of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The next stage of this challenge will involve greater, more noticeable changes — such as the Camden Climate Assembly members have identified, from what we eat to how we travel. The task may seem daunting but the goal of a habitable planet for generations to come can only be worth it.

Treat evolution of 5G with caution

Lesley Stevas, Hampstead, full address supplied, writes:

I read Jessica Learmond-Criqui's article with great interest.

I found it very helpful and alarming at the same time however there are a lot of truths in what she says. Jessica is not alone in asking for the roll out of 5G to be stopped, there are 155,062 signatories from 208 nations and territories as of September 26, 2019 on an appeal Stop 5G on earth and in space

Hundreds of doctors and scientists, environmental organisations and citizens have signed the appeal.

On the one hand technology can be used for the good of mankind. For example my knee replacement was performed with the use of a robot. Robot's are 500 per cent more accurate in helping to perform such an operation than a human.

On the other hand technology such as the 5G has not been tested. 5G technology uses millimeter waves, it is used by the US and the Israeli government for crowd control, by emitting pulses which cause a stinging sensation on the skin, according to the former president of Microsoft Canada.

Yes, we need technology for it's benefits but we need safe technology and 5G is not safe technology.

Brexit remainers commit 'treason'

J M Wober PhD, Lancaster Grove, Belsize Park, writes:

Catherine West MP provides an insensitive rallying cry towards an intensification and prolongation of the UK's current difficulties (We must challenge 'reckless' Johnson).

The terms "crash out" and "mess" are part of a half-baked and self-defeating rhetoric, perpetuated daily by a transparently "remainist" BBC.

The prime minister has most recently been accused of demeaning women and of over-heating the stress in the commons, using the words "surrender" and even "treason". Apparently, the first charge has not in the past few days been made to stick.

As to the second, a wiki definition of treason is: "The crime of betraying one's own country. An act of treachery, betrayal of trust or confidence". Since the referendum of 2016 and the recent election to the EU parliament it has been unexpected, but clear, and confirmed, that a majority in the UK prefer to bow out of the EU. Certainly, individual constituencies (such as Ms West's) wish to stay in the EU, but they should not have the option of frustrating the country as a whole, and those who do serve this game come close to earning or do deserve the term described above.

Ms West suggests that the prime minister's "own government predicts ...shortages, the return of a hard border with Ireland and a meltdown at ports..." The faulty word there is "predicts". If the administration, at long last, has begun to tackle difficulties which could occur in a transition, that is not the same as saying they will happen - on the contrary, it is an effort to ensure that such difficulties will not happen. Those foot-draggers who in the past two years have pretended to seek a "deal" have given the current parliamentary opposition their encouragement, deeply against the twice expressed wishes of the country in referendum and EU election.

A major element of a departure from the EU is to increase the scope and authority of the Westminster parliament, now subservient to the EU Commission with its incessant flow of "directives" which are enforced by the European Court of Justice. Until we leave that cabal we will not be free, a feeling that is clearly perceptible in the population outside London. Parliament's current misbehaviour is tragically dysfunctional, delaying the final arrangements and cutting off its own nose claiming to save its own face. As reported by the Bloomberg news service, "the Port boss Jean-Marc Puissesseau said that Calais had been preparing for Brexit for a year and would be ready to cope when the UK leaves the EU on March 29". We should not keep him waiting.

Real Brexit debate takes place here

Phil Thornton, Lisburne Road, Belsize Park, writes:

Your letters page last week showed that with just four weeks to go until our country might crash out of the European Union without a deal that debate is fully engaged in Camden.

It was interesting, therefore, that a news camera crew descended on Hampstead's South End Green on Saturday to make a documentary about Brexit. But it wasn't the BBC, ITN or Channel4 News - they think that the only story about Brexit takes place in Westminster between the party leaders and MPs.

Ironically perhaps, it was a German documentary channel ARTE which clearly saw that the real story is being played out on our streets. They came to film the People's Vote campaign group advertising a mass march on parliament on October 19 to call for a referendum on a no-deal Brexit. It was clear that ARTE knew where the real power lies in Britain and they were rewarded by earnest debates between the stakeholders and passers-by. And before anyone thinks that they were only interested in the Remain faction, they told me they had just come from Kent (which is a strongly Leave county) and were going on to Doncaster (which is split down the middle with one MP on each of the the pro and anti side of the debate).

Sadly it will not be shown in the UK but only in France and Germany. The good news is that the millions of Anglophiles on the continent, who have watched the shenanigans in the House of Commons with dismay, will see that a sensible debate is taking place locally. With just a month to go until October 31 when PM Boris Johnson insists that the UK will leave the EU "do or die", we can still have a rational and reasonable debate in Camden, even if our MPs can only resort to dog-whistle rhetoric and anger. Your letters page shows we can. There are so many important issues at stake that we can debate while the politicians bicker.

Wouldn't it wonderful if Camden and Hampstead, with its vibrant local media and its well-informed citizens, could show Westminster how to discuss the issues, perhaps through public fora or a package of opinion pieces in local newspapers?

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