Enviro – 5th February 2018

On this edition of Enviro we referred to, discussed and expanded on a range of issues:

  • Update on St. Anne’s Park Raheny planning application.
  • Tree felling Merrion Square in one of Dublin’s premier Georgian Squares and St. Anne’s Park Raheny
  • Live cattle exports to Turkey alone could amount to some 50,000hd. We will discuss whether this is a system of torture for these animals and whether live exports of cattle sheep etc. should be banned altogether. For more details on live cattle exports see’ Farming Independent’ 30/1/18
  • German car manufacturers funded diesel fume tests on monkeys and humans. The tests included short term nitrogen dioxide inhalation by healthy people. Experiments had been carried out also on macaque monkeys. See report in Irish Times 30/1/18 for details and Sunday Independent 4/2/18. The tests were carried out in New Mexico were on behalf of VW Daimler and BMW. The tests were designed to defend the use of diesel after the world health organisation classified diesel fumes as carcinogenic. Air pollution is the cause of the premature deaths of more than 1,500 Irish people annually.
  • The Doomsday Clock: It was two minutes to midnight on the Doomsday Clock recently. This clock which symbolises the current threat of global annihilation was moved closer to midnight following a year of growing tension between North Korea and the US. South Asia is a nuclear flashpoint also with escalating tensions over Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan are rapidly growing their nuclear arsenals amid threats and counter threats. In the circumstances the doomsday clock which was set at 2.5 minutes to midnight is now at one minute to global catastrophe.
  • Pollution: An article written by George Monbiot in the Guardian dated Wednesday 24 January 2018 includes the following quotes; “A series of studies published in the past few months has started to explore the wider impact of pollutants. One, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that the exposure of unborn children to air pollution in cities is causing ‘something approaching a public health catastrophe’ Pollution in the womb is now linked to low birth weight, disruption of the babies lung and brain development, and a series of debilitating and fatal diseases in later life”. “Another report published in n the Lancet, suggests that three times as many deaths are caused by pollution as by Aids, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Pollution, the authors note, now ‘threatens the continuing survival of human societies’. A collection of articles in the journal PLOS Biology reveals that there is no reliable safety data on most of the 85,000 synthetic chemicals to which we may be exposed” Monbiot goes on to say “  Monbiot goes on to say “  the Trump government has systematically destroyed the integrity of the Environmental Protection Agency, ripped up the Clean Power Plan, vitiated environmental standards for motor vehicles, reversed the ban on chlorpyrifos (a pesticide now linked to the impairment of cognitive and behavioural function in children) and rescinded a remarkable list of similar public protections.”.
  • French fishermen have blockaded fishing ports in protest at losses to them due to the practice of pulse fishing, a technique which uses electrodes to emit electric waves, stunning fish which then float upwards and are caught in giant nets. The EU Parliament voted on January 16 to ban commercial pulse fishing. The EU vote was advisory and the issue will be debated in the EU commission and member states.  The Netherlands which has issued permits to trawlers point out that the technique reduces unwanted by catch and avoids trawling along the seabed which can destroy fish life and spawning areas. The conclusion in the Enviro program was that it was not an acceptable practice.
  • The 48th World Economic Forum/Davos- assessment: The meeting of the rich of the world must have been an embarrassment even for themselves. With regard to their motto/theme “creating a shared future in a fractured world” it was a total failure. The rich get richer and more and more people are marginalised. Valter Sanches, the general secretary of Industrial Global Union representing about 50 million workers in more than 140 countries said that the chasm between rich and poor was only growing wider.  He said most people can see the fractured world but not the shared future. The Fight Inequality Alliance (FIA) is a growing movement of leading international non-profit organisations, human rights campaigners equality campaigners, environmental groups faith-based organisations, unions, social movements and civil society organisations that have come together to fight the growing crisis of inequality. Included in their membership are Equality Trust, Just Fair, National Alliance of Women’s Organisations, LSE, New Economics Foundation, The Young Foundation, Tax Justice UK and ten others.
  • Climate Weather extremes: In Cape Town South Africa there is an unprecedented drought while in France the Seine River has overflowed giving rise to seriouos flooding. New Zealand also has extreme weather conditions.
  • The Building Regulations- planned changes to the building regulations can facilitate the move to alternative energy to such an extent that by January 2021 all new residential buildings will have to reach the ‘Near Zero Energy Building Standard’ (NZEB). This will accelerate the move to heart pumps also. Exhaust-air heat pumps can provide heating, hot water and ventilation. Significant grants will assist this process.
  • Loneliness: We l referred to and read extracts from an article by Stewart Dankers a 79 year old community voluntary worker which was printed under the heading ‘Grey Matters’ in the Guardian Wednesday 24 January 2018. The article includes many issues that can help to understand the problem of loneliness and inspire people to do something meaningful about it.The extent of the problem can be seen for example by the fact that in Japan each year there are an average of some 30,000 of what are called ‘lonely deaths’, mainly .elderly people living and dying on their own many of whom can  remain  undetected for days, weeks and even months.
  • Parkinson’s disease. The Guardian newspaper Wednesday 24th. 2018 printed a useful article about some up-to-date research on this subject, very relevant to to-day’s program.Music:In this program we played music from the soundtrack of’Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ and ’love at the Greek’ both by Neil Diamond who has had to cancel his tours because he has developed Parkinson’s disease.

Producer/Presenter: John Haughton

Panelist Joe Dunne