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  • iaindryden1

Bust or not?

The haunting notes of a bagpipe floated down our busy street, bouncing off shoppers in masks, echoing from the bright shop windows and pulled towards this unusual sound, we walked to the church. The piper stood on the steps competing with the peeling church bells. A small crowd stood watching, shoppers queuing outside the vegetable shop, the butchers, the wine shop, all smiled. There was joy in the air. A wedding! After sixteen months of lockdown. And the sun was shining!

Last night the notes of a Jazz concert flowed across our street from The Arts Centre opposite and we listened for a while at our open window. During the interval people emerged to stand outside in the balmily evening with their drinks and I recognised the guy who is angry about wearing a mask and people who are relieved lockdown is opening up, and there was the man who drives everywhere in a big and shiny 4x4. This was middle-class England. And down the road at the pub by the church crowds gathered outside and they were mostly chatting about football. White and red flags hung from windows. That’s working class England. And in between too many street lights burnt CO2. And the planet burns. And we care not unless it is our patch on fire.

I saw her face too. She had the same expression she bears when she puts out her recycling. Proud she that she’s done her bit, but then you look at the way she lives, consumerism writ large, you start to think of her impact on this world. But there’s nothing outstanding about her, she is normal in this particular society in which I live and many of her habits are mine too. Multiply us by millions and millions you see the problem.

That couple who got married today will no doubt have children. Maybe two. That increases their own footprint enormously, then you add in their future grandchildren and WOW! No wonder the Planet is groaning.

Regardless of the joy of weddings, Jazz and football, we are living in a dangerous period. Climate Change is ramping up too quickly, dangerous men are in charge of powerful countries, gigantic companies rule our habits and people are more charged by frivolities than caring for this fragile Planet.

A dear friend said that it’d be better if the likes of Trump, Xi and Putin suffered what I do. I’d not wish this on anyone, but I’ll give them the exhaustion, that’d stop them in their tracks. Perhaps we would all benefit from being hampered, it’d certainly stop the relentless march of consumerism. These past six months I’ve not wanted to do anything much but exist, as a consequence, my footprint has been almost zilch.

It’s not difficult living lightly. We can. We must. Or we’re bust.

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