Letters: Until we realise economy and environment are not interchangeable, climate change will go on

We must change the way we live, for this and for future generations. Photo: Getty© Getty Images/Westend61

Letters to the Editor

In response to Martin Heneghan’s letter ‘Give us solutions to climate change, not a list of problems’ (May 3), I am perplexed as to how the writer can declare that “scientists never come up with an answer themselves” to prevent climate catastrophe.

Scientists have been proposing solutions to climate change since the beginning of the 20th century.

The dominant answer is: we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This reduction must be unlike anything seen before in human civilisation. We must consume less, utilise what we have more efficiently, and completely alter our current agricultural systems.

This is required by almost every person in every country. That said, we must remember the disproportionate impact the wealthy have on the environment compared to working-class people. Ireland consumes more energy and resources than could be sustained if every country and individual lived like we do.

It should not be the Joe Soaps who have to do all the hard work, but that does not absolve us from action. Where people can, they should reduce their fuel usage, retrofit their homes, take fewer flights, rewild some of their land, and learn to repair their items.

For the wealthy, these changes can have more effect as they fly more, buy more stuff, produce more waste and emissions.

However, populations are unfortunately bound by the economic system they participate in. People are currently forced to commute to work and are not being paid enough to support climate mitigation measures; farmers are not provided with sustainable rewilding payments; and some people cannot afford their own homes so they cannot even begin to think about retrofitting.

Many people living in apartments or renting are bound by whatever fuel source and insulation standards their landlord provides.

To this scientist, until we divorce our economy from the environment and recognise that what we have on Earth cannot be bought nor sold, climate change will thunder onwards.

Criodán Ó Murchú

Peterswell, Galway

Going Back to the Future made me feel young again

The coronation of King Charles is being shown live in some British cinemas today as the big screen continues to reinvent myself.

Here in Ireland, amid all the noise of modern-day living, we were treated to a movie marathon this past week in our local Omniplex, which culminated in the 1985 classic, Back To The Future. To see grown men and women, some proudly wearing the iconic T-shirt, laughing along with their children who would be seeing it for the first time in the medium it was made for, was a joy to behold.

Marty McFly and Doc Brown, in their souped-up DeLorean time machine, reminded us all just how irresistible and fun it is to be a kid again with unbridled imagination, no matter how many years are on the clock.

Michael J Fox said recently he won’t make it to 80 as he battles the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease. Whatever the future holds though we will always be grateful for the sheer magic he brought to the big screen in the original and best time-travel extravaganza ever made.

Tom McElligott

Listowel, Co Kerry

Aisling Moran throwing away a big opportunity

Senan Molony has discovered another Fine Gael public representative who will not be putting their name forward for election again (May 3). He believes it is a blow for the party, the Taoiseach and his party’s central leadership. Laois councillor Aisling Moran said she is leaving Fine Gael because she doesn’t think that it is the party she joined – that it is not listening and it has become more Dublin-focused.

I am in favour of people expressing their political opinions and Ms Moran makes reference to some of the party’s greatest people but I think she is about to make a mistake. She had the privilege of being elected a county councillor, and there are people all over Ireland who would love the opportunity to stand for the party if they were afforded her opportunity.

I have stood at doors myself in good times and bad times for the party, and I am well aware that if the next local elections come before the general election it will be difficult for any government candidate to face people on a doorstep.

But as I always say, when the going gets tough the tough gets going, and I can assure people that the only way to achieve anything worthwhile is to enter government.

Finally, we have always been trying to encourage more women to enter politics and I would ask Ms Moran to reconsider her decision. Who knows...she could follow in the foot steps of Mairead McGuinness, Frances Fitzgerald, Heather Humphreys or Helen McEntee.

There is always heat in politics.

Thomas Garvey

Claremorris, Co Mayo

Zelensky should recall Russia’s role in history

There is a grain of common sense in your Editorial of May 4. Donald Trump has been derided and subject to plenty of ridicule – but as we also know, we are dependent on Foreign Direct Investment. Thus, Trump’s good will could matter following the next US presidential election, if he wins.

Who knows? He might also bring some sense to the current Ukrainian conflict by speaking to Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky.

Steven Derix’s biography of Zelensky makes for an interesting study of the man before the war. At that stage he was dressed in a white shirt and tie. In speaking to various assemblies, he ditched the formal wear and donned his now-familiar T-shirt. He knew how to strike the right note. He echoed Winston Churchill’s World War II speech when he told the UK parliament “we will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets”.

When addressing Indonesian diplomats, he reminded them of colonialism. To the Spanish parliament he brought up Guernica and to the US Congress, he drew a comparison between the Russian invasion and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. And finally, to the EU parliament, he said: “Prove that you are with us. Prove that you will not abandon us and prove that you in this parliament are Europeans.”

It is worth noting, though perhaps not surprising, that not once did he acknowledge the debt Europe and the US owe to Russia for its efforts in World War II.

The critical point is that Zelensky conflates Putin with Russia. But he should also remember how former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev helped Ukraine gain its freedom.

Hugh Duffy

Cleggan, Co Galway

Beano can help children turn over the pages of life

Gerard O’Regan’s column (‘Beano is barely hanging on, but can still inspire children’ – Irish Independent,May 4) brought me back to my youth.

No week was complete without my weekly read through The Beano, The Dandy, Roy of the Rovers and others.

We looked forward with great anticipation to the weekly exploits, of Dennis the Menace, Roger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx and of course the outrageous Bash Street Kids.

These stories, with relevant pictures, helped us to develop our imagination and invigorate our young minds, while also instilling in us a love of reading that prevails to the present day.

With the onset of modern technology the children of today have many more options for entertainment, but many parents like to see their younger children in particular getting pleasure from reading some kind of picture book.

Youthful engagement with the printed word is uniquely interactive with the way it makes children think.

Many parents of today’s young children are deeply uneasy about the power and addictive nature of what young kids can consume on the internet.

But back to what this old comic has to offer the children of the present day.

It has that great sense of wonderment and awe that will only enhance, improve and expand their young minds, before they move on to the next stage of their youthful existence, and into adulthood, which will present the many challenges of life.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo