Letters - 26 April 2019

From climate breakdown to the body politic

Close to breakdown

Jenny Cozens (12 April) suggests Skyping rather than travelling to meetings. This is a good suggestion but it is a drop in the ocean when it comes to preventing climate breakdown. We need to be adopting far more drastic measures if we are to have any impact at all and we now have less than twelve years to do so.

Governments have known for thirty years that burning fossil fuels would cause global temperatures to rise, with a devastating effect on all life on our planet. We could well be a knowing but supine party to our own extinction.

In that time, what has really been done to address this issue? Very little. What is important now is that we do address it – urgently. The solutions are already known. The problem is that governments are lobbied to ignore them by the fossil fuel and agrochemical industries.

Why is climate breakdown not the first item on every news bulletin? Why is it not the subject of extensive government information broadcasts? If we were at war it would dominate all our news media. We are at war – with climate breakdown. Scientists are telling us that this is the greatest threat mankind has ever faced.

It is shameful that we adults have left it to children to speak truth to power. We cannot, we must not, let them stand alone.

Slavery was an inconvenient truth but Quakers fought against it. Climate breakdown is today’s inconvenient truth. We need to respond accordingly.

Steve Hale

Over my dead body

Keith Bradshaw’s letter (5 April), encouraging, for environmental reasons, the practice of woodland burials over cremation, raises an important issue. There are two other important death-related issues for Friends to consider.

The first concern is the debate about assisted dying. I can see the argument against it on the grounds that some relatives might put pressure on someone, but Dutch friends of ours, including a retired doctor and an undertaker, strongly believe that the Dutch system, which allows for assisted dying, is not abused. When someone has been assisted to die, it is sometimes referred to as ‘giving back their life’.

My second concern is for more folk to consider the practice of donating one’s body for medical research. The process for setting this up is quite straightforward, although the offer of donation may not always be accepted when the time comes. The usual practice is for the eventual remains to be cremated at no cost to the deceased relatives, though arrangements for burial of the remains can be made and paid for by next of kin.

I believe that the best approach for advice and possible registration would be at a local university’s faculty of biological science.

Michael Yates

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