SIR – I have always been somewhat sceptical about climate change and I remain so, unmoved by the impassioned speech made by teenager Greta Thunberg in New York recently.
As a result of this, hordes of teenage activists took to the streets waving placards and shouting slogans. My initial reaction was ‘heaven preserve us from teenage activists’. They should have stayed in school, read some books and, hopefully, learned that reasoned argument is more effective that shouting slogans. But I got their message.
They demand drastic action to be taken. As far as Ireland is concerned they’ve got it. In recent fears wind farms have been springing up everywhere, they spoil the view. Ireland is renowned for the unspoilt beauty of the landscape, I would say its despoilation is about as drastic as you can get. Only slightly drastic are a number of other measures, such as the recycling of plastic bottles.
Rather more drastic is the carbon tax, designed to make life difficult for those of us in rural areas who rely on a petrol driven car as the only means of getting to town. It appears life will be more expensive for those who insist on having a bit of heating in our homes in winter. But all of this is not sufficiently drastic to satisfy our teenage activists. So I have thought up a plan. Greta Thunberg prompted it. She travelled across the Atlantic in a sailing boat and in so doing made a point; get rid of air travel. Here’s the plan; set a period of, say, two years, during which time shipping lines could adapt to the carrying of a large number of passengers. Then, on a certain date, make it illegal to take off from, or land on, all airports and landing strips in Ireland.
There would be an exception for air-sea rescue helicopters and the government jet taking cabinet ministers to important banquets, sorry, meetings in Brussels.
If other countries saw the sense of it and decided to do the same, emissions would be decreased by a considerable percentage and a more leisurely, less stressful, means of transport would have been discovered. The reintroduction of sailing ships would naturally follow.
So, to all teenage activists and to the grown up eco-warriors, anxious to save the environment, you want drastic - there you have it.