The big debate in Saltaire at the moment is the traffic and the much needed by-pass. People are talking about this issue at home, in the street and at meetings in Victoria Hall. Some of these people are eco-warriors.
The definition of an eco-warrior is a person who works to protect the environment from destruction or pollution, a reformer, crusader or conservationist. In the past an ‘eco’ person was somebody who had long hair, wore sandals and caused trouble by digging tunnels and living in trees at places where a new road, housing estate or airport runway was going to be sited. Building these roads, estates and runways would mean that trees had to be cut down and local people, local wild life and eco systems disrupted. This was all wrong to the eco-warrior, who moved in and stopped the job (for a while, at least).
The image of the eco-warrior has now changed. And eco-warrior could be anyone from a professional, computer-savvy, media-type to a little old lady taking a stand against the amount of rubbish on the streets or too much packaging on the things she buys at the shops.
Organisations such as Greenpeace work all over the world to save snails, whales, swamps and forests. There is an International Panel on Climate Change, a Marine Biologist saving the Great Barrier Reef and a Conservation Committee to protect the Wilderness in the USA. Al Gore, the US Vice-President (1993 - 2001), now campaigns to heighten awareness of the dangers of global warming and climate change. If it is true what he says – and some clever people agree and some disagree – it is worrying. So now I am calling myself an ‘eco-worrier’.
There are talkers and doers in this eco problem, some big and some small. If there were no eco-worriers, would the eco-warriors have nothing to do? The big ones take on governments and global problems on our behalf. The small ones are local people taking on problems in their own backyard, such as quarrying, housing and roads.
I believe climate change and global warming is happening, but it would happen anyway – that is how the world works. The problem is that the burning of fossil fuels by humans at the rate they do is speeding up the rate of change. We have had floods, droughts, fires, heat waves, coastal erosion and fishing bans in places that have never witnessed these before, so something is wrong with the way we live our lives. As one professor said, “The only thing that is wrong with planet Earth is Humans”.
So if it is us, what can we do? It all boils down to your carbon foot print, so why not grow your own veg, buy locally, use fewer plastic bags and travel fewer miles in your car?
The problem has to be solved, so from Saltaire to St Louis, do your bit and decide if you’re an eco-warrior or an eco-worrier.