LETTER: Did we bring this on ourselves?
A reader questions our disregard for the planet.
Listening to the news over the last few weeks, you would think the climate and ecological crisis was over, or less important, with hardly a mention. Serious though the global pandemic is, and tragic for so many, we have undoubtedly brought it upon ourselves with our reckless and selfish behaviour as a species and disregard for our planet.
Recent research from universities in both California and Brazil have revealed that when wildlife is threatened on all sides, from climate change, poaching, habitat destruction and trading in endangered species, it creates a ‘spillover’ effect of viruses into other populations, including humans. Viral infections are then carried to all parts of the globe by the many millions of people flying all over the world for pleasure, not only spreading the virus but adding to the atmospheric load of CO2 and accelerating climate change; a loop which then increases habitat destruction.
Flying is the most damaging form of personal transportation and it has taken Covid-19 to bring this profligate expansion of the airlines to a halt. It has also given people time and head space to reconsider our whole treatment of this precious planet and we cannot go back to the same behaviours. Frequent flyer levies must be brought in, Heathrow’s third runway and airport expansion halted and no taxpayer's money used to prop up an industry which clearly is not sustainable. Knowing that we have a government which will not make these changes until it too late (familiar?) it is up to individuals to pledge not to fly unless absolutely essential and, instead, enjoy the huge range of scenery and cultures we have within our own precious islands.
Without urgent behavioural change this planet is heading for runaway climate change and ecological catastrophe, and only then will some people understand the real meaning of the word crisis.
Mr D Luckhurst, Lydbury North