Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bagpuss and Global Warming

Also, some time ago, I posted some images which linked the Clangers and Ivor the Engine with the issue of Global Warming.
The link here is Oliver Postgate who, along with Peter Firmin produced some of the most memorable TV programmes in the 1960's and beyond, including Bagpuss, the programs above and one of my personal favourites: Noggin the Nog.
A few weeks ago, he took out a full page ad in The Times to point out the errors of our ways, and the need to change if we were to avoid the problems of Global Warming.
This is a Greenpeace posting about the article.
And I am grateful to another new blog find: ONE LESS CAR, for posting the text of the article from Oliver:
“I am walking along the path behind the cliff and I see, over the fence, that a small child, not more than two years old, is blithely toddling straight towards the brink of the cliff. Now the ground inside the fence is private property, with stern notices, so I have no right to enter on to it. But all the same, I have a duty to jump over the fence, run across, pick her up and carry her, bawling blue murder, to safety.”

Human society is that child, that happy, greedy, outraged moppet, totally self-centred and lovable, but it too has no grasp of its situation and now it is also toddling towards the brink.

Is this our fault?

Not particularly. In our civilisation, in which a nation’s economic success is measured by its “growth”, consumer-spending is a vital component. It is a competitive commercial world in which, for the economic health of our nation, we are honour-bound to over-eat, over-spend and over-waste. As units of consumption that is our function.
The side-effect of this function – global warming, was recognised long ago, and successive governments have worked hard to avoid coming to terms with the inconvenient fact that our “conspicuous consumption” has been slowly poisoning the whole climate of the world.
Now we have run out of time. Global warming is on the brink of becoming irreversible!
If the human race is to avoid having to face slow, irreversible extinction in a disaster torn world, it must, as a race, take immediate draconian action to reduce carbon emissions to a level which will not only eliminate the green house effect but also cause the planet to cool away the vast heat charge it has already received during the years of neglect.
Personal economy is necessary and can help, but the bulk of carbon emissions come from larger sources which only government legislation can deal with.
The present government has been making a show of tackling this, but the task it has given to its scientists is not simply to find a way to end global warming – they could do that at once – but to do so “without cutting either our economic growth or our living standards”.
As these are the two main causes of global warming, this task does, as they say: “present some difficulties” in that, from among the many different speculative predictions on offer, the scientists are being expected to seek and select, as definitive, the most “politically practical”.
To do that is potentially suicidal. As nobody can pretend to know for certain what is going to happen to the climate, the only safe and sensible thing to do is to deal with it now. So GLOBAL WARMING IS A GLOBAL EMERGENCY – Our duty is to see that it is fully dealt with, now.
Thankyou,
Oliver Postgate
October 2006.

http://www.turnuptheheat.org/ - new George Monbiot site which supports his new book, which I bought at Edinburgh Airport the other day...

Also, on Friday morning, I set the Sky+ box to record an excellent pair of programmes which were produced in consultation with 2 friends of mine. They were produced by BBC Scotland, who still seem capable of producing interesting programmes whereas south of the border they still apparently think Brazil 2000 sounds up-to-date...
The programs were on River landscapes: 2 x 20 minutes which looked at 2 contrasting rivers: the first is the River Devon in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, and the second is the River Cuckmere in the SE (see picture below)

A good job by Val Vannet and Dave Rayner, the 2 Geography consultants on the programmes. If you have Sky, you can see BBC Scotland.

Speaking of TV, coming up in March or so next year will probably be the Class Clips programme with the Geography of Happiness clips which we filmed in Dublin.

And finally, Tony Cassidy should be posting again soon following a trip to Berlin.
Off to hunt out the fireguard and poker: cold weather is finally arriving and it's time to get the open fires going and turn down the gas central heating.
Interesting question: which costs less / has the least environmental impact ??

Updates: the Rivers video listed above now has a companion website which is HERE
It has some flash elements to test knowledge of hydrographs and the drainage basin system.
Some good material here.
Also the Class Clips Programme referred to above is shown in late February. The Happiness materials didn't make the programme however...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,
We're delighted that you enjoyed BBC Scotland's River Landscapes programmes. Please check out the website which accompanies the series.
Clare Little

http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/education/int/geog/rivers/

GeoBlogs said...

Thanks Clare - the website looks rather good as well.
The videos are certainly something I shall use next year with my Year 10 group.