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What a year for news it was!

I have been looking at my diary for the year and was struck by how many natural disasters were reported. It seems as though Mother Nature, (or whichever God you believe in), is saying, “Whatever destruction you bring on yourselves, I can do far worse.”

We have had earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand and Turkey and Spain, floods in Australia, Brazil,Pakistan and Thailand, tornadoes in the southern states of the USA and in the mid west and of course the devastating tsunami in Japan. Not to be outdone another volcano erupted in Iceland. In the Horn of Africa once again they have droughts and the subsequent horror of starvation.

Here in the UK we have had  the hottest March and October days, wettest, windiest, dryest times. Looks like the record book keepers will have a busy time. 

If only those in positions of power would concentrate resources to dealing with these disasters instead of wasting our resources and lives in so many wars. It seems that whenever one part of the world settles into (near)  peace another part erupts into fighting.

The “Arab Spring” is still ongoing with an uneasy peace in Egypt and Tunisia, struggles between tribes, religions and sects in Iraq and Libya and near civil war in Syria. Afghanistan is still claiming too many lives on both sides of the conflict and the relief for the famine in Ethiopia would be so much easier if there was no war around it.

 I would have more confidence in politicians and financial “experts” if I felt they knew what they were doing. When a report was published saying that the top earners pay had increased by 150% and the average pay by 2.9%, it did not inspire me with hope for the future economy!

It has not been a good year for leaders either, Bin Laden and Gaddafi killed, Kim Jong Il died, the presidents of Greece and Italy replaced by unelected financiers! and Arab Spring leaders still to be elected.

I wonder what 2012 has in store for us. I hope that it will be good to all of you and yours.

A belated Happy New Year to one and all.:)

All the hoo hah about renewing Trident set me thinking.

When youngsters argue against the mandatory jail sentence for carrying a knife by saying that they do it for their own protection, not for any aggressive purposes, they are told that to carry a knife invites aggression. Does the same argument  not hold with nuclear weapons?

Do the Scandinavian countries have nuclear weapons? If not who will protect them and other non nuclear states,  against rogue nuclear states?

For much of the second half of the 20th century we were continually scared of nuclear attack by the USSR. I can remember some of the wealthier people building anti nuclear shelters, seeing leaflets giving advice on what to do if we heard the “four minute warning” and my father going on Civil defence exercises in case of attack. We are still here 🙂

Surely even the most roguish and irresponsible state would realise that no one can win a nuclear war. If you are on the receiving end of the bomb you are wiped out, but the radio active dust released could travel anywhere; we only have to see how far dust travels from the Icelandic volcano and remember how far away, and long lasting, the effects of Chernobyl were. I think there is still residual effect in North Wales.  As we have seen in this past week we mere mortals are at the mercy of the wind direction and its constant changes. It could be like the gas attacks in WW1 when the wind blew the gas back at the attackers.

I don’t know the logistics of Trident, and cannot understand how four submarines can be in the right place to prevent the missiles being fired and if they only act after they have been fired then retaliation might satisfy the need for revenge, but would not save the people affected. Maybe I am naive, but this seems a huge cost for revenge.

We are constantly being told that we are at war with terrorism, but Trident is no use in that fight, so wouldn’t the money be better spent equipping the armed forces and security forces properly?

This week we had the final part of our insulation programme  completed when they came to top up the roof insulation, so we are completely wrapped in insulation now, all free,  thanks to the government’s gift to the over 70s!

I am not a scientist so I cannot pronounce on the validity or otherwise on whether climate change is manmade or part of a cyclical process, but it makes sense to me to try to reduce our depletion of the Earth’s finite resources. It also makes financial sense to try to cut our fuel bills, to recycle our rubbish, to make compost and generally cut out wastage!

I have a natural scepticism of expert pronouncements, after all in the 1970s we were warned that we were heading for a new Ice Age, that is until the summer of 1975, which was one of the hottest on record. As someone said, “There is nothing so sad as a perfect scientific theory being disproved by an ugly factual experience!”

That said, I can’t help thinking that there must be a deleterious effect  if we continue to pollute the planet. There are enough natural pollutants, from volcanic activity etc., without us adding needlessly to them. If we can recycle rather than fill the diminishing land space, make compost instead of filling our food stuff with chemicals, surely this can only be a good thing.

Why are we so obsessed with everything being done on a giant scale? Factory ships with their indiscriminate huge nets are ruining the ecology of the oceans, farms run by large corporations, instead of the families who have often farmed that land  for generations, grubbing out hedges and creating huge fields to accomodate their giant machinery, putting nothing back but chemicals,  huge floating villages depositing 5,000 passengers at each port of call, larger and larger schools and hospitals, bigger and bigger corporations gobbling up smaller businesses.

 Is it all in the name of economy? I can’t help thinking about the way the relatively few huge banks managed to cripple the world economy.

What has all this to do with our roof insulation, you may ask? I just think that if everyone could reduce their fuel consumption, even by a little, it would all add up. We would have smaller bills, there would be less pollution and we would be less dependent on foreign powers for our fuel—in recent times we have seen how one country can hold another to ransom in the supplying of fuel.

Writing these posts on my cruise life has awakened many memories and I realised how lucky I was to visit these beautiful islands, and meet the friendly people, while they were still relatively unspoilt. Now many of them have links with the outside world by the increase in air travel and world wide travel by many more ordinary people. This has undoubtedly increased the wealth of the islands, but the simple way of life which was so charming to the visitor has gone forever. 

Today on  BBC radio 4 I listened to “From our own correspondent” (the item is about 19 minutes into the programme)  and, coincidentally, there was a piece on Polynesia, in particular Raratonga, about the commercialisation of the South Pacific by the fishing fleets from many nations. whilst this has brought in much needed revenue from the issue of fishing licences, some countries are trying to avoid paying for the licences and try fishing illegally. Green Peace have a ship in the harbour at Raratonga which is helping to police the fishing.

 These huge factory ships are using giant trawling nets which scoop out all the livestock, which is causing great concern to the ecologically minded. It is not only the tuna stocks which are becoming dangerously low. I couldn’t help thinking of the islanders going out in  their simple dugout canoes and sailing rafts, taking just enough to feed themselves and their neighbours.

They are also talking about mining for minerals in that area, which could cause further damage to that environment. 

I realise that  there have to be changes, that has been the way of the world since Captain Cook first explored this Ocean, but I still feel incredibly privileged to have visited before the changes happened.

If you would like to send your friends a free St Patrick’s Day card and help the planet click here. 

 The Care2 organisation is an on-line community of people around the world making a difference in healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare. For each free card sent you save 1 square foot of rainforest. They have a wide selection of cards for every occasion and they are very easy to send. (Even this technophobe can do it. It is that easy 🙂

I was tagged to list 6 things which make me happy, so here goes.

1) My family of course. It is said that you are given your family but choose your friends, well my family are the friends I would choose anyway. My husband of 35+ years has always been there for me and supported me in whatever I do however much I must have exasperated him over the years! My lovely daughter  helps me, giggles with me and stops me feeling old. Her husband GG sorts out my digital equipment and helps to drag me into the 21st century and they have given us two lively and gorgeous grandsons, who think I am the fount of all knowledge because I watch Dr Who and understand about Cybermen and Daleks etc.

2) I love opening my Christmas cards and finding a letter inside from one of my far flung family or friends reminding me of the fortunate life I have had. A secure and happy childhood provided by loving parents, a protective beloved elder brother and large extended family. Happy schooldays, a fulfilling and varied career in nursing, several years in Norway, and happy years as a wife and Mum.

3) It makes me happy when I buy a sad looking plant from the bargain bin at the nursery and see it flourish into a magnificent specimen.

4) I am happy whenone of  my favourite authors publishes a new book, especially when it is an ongoing saga or features characters that I have become familiar over the years.

5) I get very happy when I discover another ancestor for the family tree I have been working on in the past few years, or a third or fourth cousin gets in touch with me and fills in another gap or two.

6) I feel happy and peaceful looking up at the night sky in the country, away from city lights. This was even more magical when I lived in a mountain village in Norway and stood in the snow looking up at the vast universe.

You can help to save the rainforests in a fun way for free.

Care2 cards will send free E cards (most occasions-the latest is for Halloween) and every card sent will generate a free donation to save 1 square foot of rainforest

Just click on the link in the sidebar to use this facility.