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  • iaindryden1

A bright thinker

There in the Kenyan bush, he got it, although amongst teachers, it is said to be one of the hardest things to teach in geography, perhaps because three concepts need to spin together to make it clear. Today my wife, who has never totally grasped it, asked and, as it is that time of the year when everything is getting darker for us in the northern hemisphere, I picked up an orange and a satsuma. I know, we shouldn’t have bought these items which require transporting many miles from Southern Europe, but there we go, we are as bad as anyone. Our CO2 footprint is generally boosted by bananas, oranges, dates, nuts and the occasional bottle of wine, almost no meat, little fish. Oh, gas heats this house… plus a little petrol as the car is hardly used.

How many people would dare link all these concepts in so few concurrent sentences? Only those desperate that COP26 is about to unfold with a lack of intelligent commitment from many governments who are more concerned about the short term (being re-elected), than the fate of the ENTIRE planet.

And so today I’ll point readers towards the excellent BBC which has done a series of programmes about our current predicament and imparts insights in innovative and entertaining ways. For those of you who live on the far side of the globe, you easily can find ways to access the BBC. I won’t bore you with a long list but Radio4’s ’39 Ways to Save The Planet’ and BBC TV’s ‘Earth Shot’ series are a good start.

Oh, and if you are that reader who once asked: ‘Who are you to talk about the environment’, I was surprised one of my ideas was mentioned in ‘Earth Shot’ 1.1 (about minute-37, I think) Set in Kenya, this world respected project had, in 1996, used my 1992 Eco-Tourism paper (which was mocked by some at the time) as its blueprint. Many, many people have long been concerned about humanity’s rash behaviour towards nature. In about 1994 I interviewed a man in the Himalayas who, to help deter Climate Change, had got his entire valley to plant thousands of tree saplings they had grown from locally collected seeds. And, in 1991, I met some of the hundreds of women in Kenya were planting hardy trees to stop the desert from spreading south.

Why then are our leaders STILL arguing about Climate Change!

Badger them as best you can.

Time REALLY is short.

So what was I teaching Camilla this morning? She is a quick learner, so had it in seconds, which shows-up her school teacher. One sunrise, when walking through the dry scrublands of Kenya’s mid-north, my tribesman companion asked, “Why is your wife still asleep. She should now be fetching water from the well.”

I explained that there was a 3 hour time difference between Britain and Kenya. But I stopped myself. I didn’t want to disrupt his flat-earth thinking.

“Go on, tell me,” he insisted.

I knew that to have fudged it would have made me dishonest, hence not one to trust or like, so, reluctantly, telling him this was only my way of seeing things, not his, in the sand, I drew the sun, moon and earth. I used to make my classes laugh by getting them to stand up and act it out… and they always got it, so this ‘uneducated’ tribesman and I swirled about as I explained the concept of seasonal change - how and why he on the equator hardly had seasons of light, whereas the north has winter as the south has summer, as well as why we have days and nights.

I only explained it once and he laughed. “That makes sense! Of course the sun doesn’t fight to throw off God’s blanket each and every night.”

I felt both elated at his awakening but sad that his old tribal views should be so abruptly tossed aside. “That this Earth is round makes us all interconnected,” he who had never been in a car, later said, “which means we in Kenya and you in ‘Inglandi’ are all responsible, must all work together and nurture nature.”

We need such intelligence to retain climatological certainties. Let’s hope enough of those attending COP26 are bright enough to think like him.

And readers, good luck with the urgent badgering.






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