Tag Archives: COP27

SUMMERS OF FIRE, AND CHAOS IN THE U.K. PART 2.

Britain has become rather different from the way it was when I left 20 years ago. It was decided recently, that Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, would have to go because some considered him to have had a tenuous relationship with the truth — he could no longer be taken seriously. A handful of people (members of the Conservative Party and less than 1% of the British population) were given the pleasure of electing a new leader. In the end this came down to a choice between two individuals, and neither appeared much interested in the current environmental problems. Liz Truss was duly elected and the first time I saw her, I had a sudden memory of Liza Marie doing the Martian Girl walk in the 1996 film ‘Mars Attack’, although Ms. Truss was faster in her movements. This wasn’t necessarily a bad look, but it did suggest a certain lack of familiarity with the human condition. Critics noticed the problem mostly involved erratic movements of the arms — give her something to hold onto — a strapless bag perhaps — then everything will be alright… Apart from her policies of course.

The Queen died on the 8th of September, and the BBC covered the event and subsequent period of mourning as if there had been no other news: no war in Ukraine, no economic problems for the country; and this non-stop coverage helped stoke the grief that many people felt for a person they didn’t know, but thought they did.

19th September 2022: The Queen’s State Funeral Service was held in Westminster Abbey.

People as important as the Queen are so regularly viewed on television and social media, they are considered by some to be part of the family, and many of those waiting in the long queue that would eventually file past the Queen’s lying in state in Westminster Hall definitely thought this: “She has been around all our lives and was like a grandmother to us”, was an often repeated comment … So much so, I was beginning to wonder if some had stopped visiting their grandmothers altogether and had just showed up for the funeral. As I watched the ancient rituals unfold on television it was clear the British tradition of queuing was alive and well. Emerging from the Hall many said they felt part of history, and I couldn’t help feeling this assumed relationship with the Queen was at best a fiction; and the idea that walking past a dead person’s coffin, even a queen’s, could make you part of history was delusional… Something odd was going on in Britain that I hadn’t witnesses since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

After the Queen’s funereal in Westminster Abbey, across the road at the Palace of Westminster, events were about to become more farcical than usual.
The Queen’s Coronation was celebrated in 1953 with mugs.

Unlike many politicians hanging out at the Palace of Westminster, throughout her reign the Queen could be relied upon to begin and end a sentence without slipping into a different tense. A little education is a wonderful thing; above all else it hides inconsistencies common to politicians engaged in one of the few jobs that require no training or qualifications, and as was soon to be demonstrated, very little intelligence, which has lead to a greater percentage of halfwits controlling the system than is desirable.

Westminster Abbey where the funeral service was held for Queen Elizabeth ll, after her laying is state in Westminster Hall.

King Charles lll‘s first speech as monarch came very soon after the Queen’s death and it was brilliant, but three hours after the announcement I was driving somewhere in Canada and people who knew nothing about the Queen were phoning in to a radio station, relating stories of relatives who had written to Her Majesty — one had even sent a recording of a song that she had composed: there had been a favourable reply from a lady in waiting and this had been dutifully framed. The woman concerned gave a rendition of her song and it was perfectly dreadful. Another wanted to tell a joke about the Queen. “Trust me she said… it’ isn’t disrespectful”, and then proceeded to tell a horse fart joke — the Queen had been dead for just a few hours, and the story clearly inappropriate. The woman was not however as quick off the mark as India. Reports were coming in that an official request had been made for the return of the ‘stolen’ Koh-i-Noor diamond that adorns the Queen Mother’s crown within 15 minutes of the announcement that the Queen had died.

In contrast to my Canadian experience, King Charles lll spoke quite brilliantly about his mother, but in fairness he has had plenty of time to practice. He spoke warmly and with great subtlety, at one point using a quote from Shakespeare that had also been used at the funeral of Princess Diana; and that should have been enough, but as the speech was nearing its end the new king could not resist giving close members of his family titles; and then went on to give this years proceeds from ‘The Duchy of Cornwall‘ to the many senior citizens who will otherwise die this winter because they will have to choose between heating their homes and eating. Sorry, I got carried away… I should have said that the king gave ‘The Duchy of Cornwall’ — a nice little earner, to his son, the future king, William, who I assume, would otherwise become destitute.

It would be reasonable to hang onto the family home at Windsor owned by ‘the Crown’: a nice little castle conversion. Water colour painted by Cyril Ward prior to 1912.

And then there was the bit about not needing more than 10 stately homes and castles to live in. At least one would be given over to his subjects — perhaps to those sleeping rough on the street because they can no longer afford to buy or rent a home… O.K. he didn’t say that either, but it does seem odd that any individual regardless of their inherited status should require quite so many places to live… and on such a grand scale.

Sandringham, a 20,000 acre estate in Norfolk is one of two private homes owned by the Royal Family, the other is Balmoral in Scotland (a castle set in 50,000 acres) where the Queen spent her summers and recently died. The family traditionally gather at Sandringham for Christmas, but with the present state of the economy, why not give the accommodation over to underprivileged subjects. Picture: water colour — Cyril Ward prior to 1912.

With the mourning period completed the new Prime Minister and her Chancellor of the Exchequer — Kwasi Kwarteng, gave the richest people in Britain a tax break, with no obvious means of paying for it, assuring the public that the benefits would trickle down to the less fortunate. The problem is, trickle down economics has been attempted before in a previous century… and it didn’t work. Within 24 hours the pair had crashed the pound, but for some reason stuck to their guns, making it necessary for the Bank of England step in and bolster the pound, while The International Monetary Fund indicated that the policies had been poorly thought out and had no chance of success.

In consequence, Britain has been accused of behaving with all the pizzazz of a banana republic; and there was a whole raft of other issues. The mantra of the Prime Minister was that Britain’s future depended on three things: growth, growth and growth, which is based upon a property joke, where the three most important things are — location, location, location; but for anybody who understands the finite nature of natural resources, countenancing continuous growth is not a realistic option. Add to this, the new King being advised by the Prime Minister not to attend the COP27 Climate Conference and the decision making becomes very suspect, amplifying fears over Truss’s commitments to net zero.

King Charles’s previous record as a prince demonstrates that he has a genuine concern for the environment and will no doubt be disappointed, but my guess is that when the time comes, Truss will no longer be Prime Minister, and the King will attend. The Egyptian Government — host of the next U.N. climate summit warned the U.K. not to backtrack on the global climate agenda — such a suggestion coming as it does from Egypt was shocking. There are obvious concerns over a politician making decisions when she is not very good at explaining herself, and if, as some have suggested, not fully in control of her arms, she is unlikely to be in control of very much else. Her policies are questionable because they are extreme, and very much different from the ones that won her predecessor, Boris Johnson, a considerable majority.

14th October 2022: It has been difficult to keep up with events: during the writing of this paragraph, we have gone from a chancellor who yesterday said he would be here for as long as it takes; but today has been sacked — thrown under the bus by his Prime Minister for a policy that she instigated. Interest rates have shot up from 2% to 6% since the announcement of tax cuts for the rich; and while most people are struggling to pay ever increasing energy bills, they also find themselves unable to pay their mortgages, and their pensions are suddenly in danger of collapsing. With all the financial turmoil, many are facing ruin. The question is: when will the precarious state of the environment (which we rely upon for our very survival), reappear as a topic for consideration.

Given the state of the economy, there is also discussion as to whether the king and his consort should travel to the coronation at Westminster Abbey on 6th May 2023 in ‘The Gold State Coach’ at a time when there will likely be a financial crisis and enormous hardship. But never mind that, this ancient ‘fairy story’ coach is considered by the Royals one of the most uncomfortable means of transport on the Planet and they will do almost anything to avoid getting into it.

2,000 years ago Boudica would have experienced a more comfortable ride through London, but the only thing she would have in common with the coronation journey is not stopping at any of the traffic lights.

The royal family have the equivalent of the clown car because they rely on visuals — unlike the ‘not so far away’ politicians in the House of Commons the Royals aren’t supposed to comment on political matters. But if you want to see pantomime costume at its best, watch for any royal event that involves an outing onto the Buckingham Palace balcony.

King Charles lll we are told, is down to earth — it is rumoured he loves a boiled egg for breakfast. At one time so did I, until I become allergic to eggs, but I’m keeping the egg cups.

It must have been something to stand at the gates of Buckingham Palace during celebrations for Victory in Europe on 8th May 1945 when the Royal family (including the Queen as a young woman) went with Winston Churchill, all dressed pretty much in everyday attire, onto the Buckingham Palace balcony.

In contrast, most royal appearances on the balcony are an absurd visual treat — the male member in particular having spent time selecting their outfits from the dressing up basket. In recent years there must have been several wars that I have missed, because some carry so many medals on their chests, that should they lean forward, they would be a danger of toppling into the courtyard.

In Britain politicians and the royal family now offer endless comic relief, ranging from Whitehall farce to all the colour of the circus; and now that Liz Truss has hammered the final nail in the coffin, the British will never again be taken seriously.

On 13th October the WWF’s Living Planet Report related a 69% decline in worldwide wildlife populations since 1970. I can remember how things were in 1970, when there was concern over the startling decrease in wildlife populations since the 1930s. Forty or fifty year increments seem a long time, especially when nothing changes to give hope that anything ever will. A spokesmen for the WWF said that the expansionist economic growth model we rely on is dead, and we must develop cyclical economies that do not rely on wholesale extraction of natural resources, but I haven’t heard a single politician speak about anything other than growth. It is as if they live on other planet.

This then is where the real story with Britain one of the most nature depleted countries in the World. The report studied 32,000 populations of 5,230 species including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish around the World to come to a figure of a 69% reduction in 50 years. Some habitats have done worse: species living in freshwater lakes and wetlands have suffered an 83% decline on average. Africa saw a 55% decrease. Asia was at 55%. These continents have done better than average, but considering how important they are for species diversity, the results are disappointing. Deforestation — often by fire, and climate change are the most important factors along with collection for bush meat and the pet trade. Add to this, the BBC when reporting, keep using the term ‘animals’ when they mean ‘mammals’, as if all other animals are something different — a small point but if the BBC doesn’t know how can the rest of us be expected to be any less ignorant.

In East Asia and the story is much the same, with fires intentionally set that cause noticable drops in air quality. Here, rainforest is being cleared for a palm oil plantation in Malaysia.

Where I presently live in Canada the sun is shining, but only just, through a sickly haze. The weather has been uncharacteristically dry for the time of year, and several B.C. forests are on fire. Another reminder that we are facing a potential global catastrophe brought about by our own stupidity.

18th October 2022: back in Britain, Liz Truss could be gone tomorrow, in a weeks time, or in two years, but the last of these options is wishful thinking on her part. Politicians come and go, as they attempt the same old tricks over and over again with slightly different packaging. But how you package the wholesale destruction of the natural world is on a different scale from the present political meltdown in the U.K.; although if you can’t pay the rent or afford to eat, I do understand the priorities.

A sad orangutan wondering if it is too late. Quite honestly, I have no idea what this primate is thinking, but I do know that habitats are on fire and numbers are in serious decline.

At some stage there must be a fundamental change in the way we do things. The question is when? Because it might already be too late; which is a shame because scientists have been warnings for years about the declining state of the Planet. Few of us seem bothered enough to demand change, but we don’t really have a choice. A great many short term solutions will be required to what are essentially long term problems; and it could be we have already gone past the point of no return.

The fear is that nothing will improve until economic imperative forces change, because we are tied to a system dominated by money. ‘Doing the right thing because it is the right thing’ clearly isn’t working, and if it were possible to add a financial incentive, it might encourage people act more proactively, and drive behaviours to more positive ends. However, the chances are, that it is already be too late to turn the inevitable tide of environmental destruction. With the Planet indifferent to our plight, livability on its surface continues to move steadily away. In the end, all that might be left to us, is the pointless recording of our own demise.

From The London Eye there is plenty to see, whilst just across the river politicians are also going around in circles, but are seeing very little.

19th October: the Home Secretary steps down having been in the job for about a month. When a new one is appointed Britain will have had its third home secretary in eight weeks, along with the fourth finance minister in as many months Obviously increasing temperatures in the U.K. ‘growing bananas’ is now a viable option… Although ‘going bananas’ is a more accurate description.

I started recording this comedy of errors a month and a half ago with the longest reigning Queen in British history, and I finish with the shortest tenure of any serving British Prime Minister. On the 19th October, Liz Truss said in the House of Commons that she would not resign because she is a fighter, not a quitter; but within a day she had quit. Forty four days ago she was shaking hands with the Queen. Now both are gone. At the time of writing Ms Truss is entitled to claim the Public Duty Cost Allowance of up to £115,000 per year plus other perks. Presently, it is not known what she will claim… But this really doesn’t change anything — the World is still on fire; and many self-serving politicians don’t appear to be the least bit concerned.

27th October 2022: The loser of the battle to become Prime Minster just a few weeks ago, Rishi Sunak, is now the new, new Prime Minister… It was announced today that he is too busy to attend the ‘COP27 Climate Conference’.

2nd November 2022: The Prime Minister has been embarrassed into attending COP27, having been pressured by environmentalists and M.P.’s. The opposition said he had been dragged kicking and screaming into doing the right thing. A recent climate report has indicated that global temperature increases in Europe have been amongst the highest in the world at around an 0.5ºC per decade over the last 30 years — not very encouraging at a time when climate change has been described as catastrophic.

SUMMERS OF FIRE, AND CHAOS IN THE U.K.. PART 1.

The day I started writing, the Queen died quite suddenly, but I don’t think it was my fault. Two days before the sad event, Liz Truss visited the Queen to form a new government, and nobody is pointing the finger at her… at least, not for that. Life is full of coincidences: the day Davie Bowie died I found a white Lego figure washed up on the beach, it reminded me of Bowie’s persona ‘The Thin White Duke’, but I’m old enough to remember the character dressed mostly in black, otherwise I might have spun a spooky yarn. Odd things happen… and right now, they’re happening in Britain. I intended to write about increasingly hot summers, but circumstances are so extraordinary back in ‘the old country’, I feel obliged to consider them. I’m slow… it takes six weeks for me to write anything, but apparently that’s more than enough time for a new prime minister (unelected by the people) to tank the British economy and disappear. Such oddness in political behaviour might, in part, also explain why we are experiencing fundamental environmental problems that include the heatwaves and droughts I intend to outline.

Back on June 6th 1977, the Queen lit a beacon at Windsor to celebrate her diamond Jubilee, which set off a chain of events that ruined my evening. Beacon lighting goes back a long way. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a beacon was lit at Kynance Point to indicate the sighting of the Spanish Armanda off the tip of Cornwall; soon beacons were alight around many parts of Britain, but lighting beacons can’t convey much in the way of detail… That’s the problem with fire, it’s not a great way to communicate, but it was at the time better than nothing… but not a lot.

Real problems start in out of the way places where there are no beacons, some people just get creative and set fire to whatever is available, and that’s exactly what happened during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations — I was witness to the event when checking out great crested newt efts in a pond in the New Forest — these newt larvae will come to the surface at night and checking them out with a torch provides a more reliable estimate of numbers than splashing about during the day with a net.

In hot dry summers, the earliest newt larvae to hatch from eggs are the ones most likely to leave the pond before it dries out; they feed on younger smaller individuals, and any that survive that do not have fully developed lungs, will flounder in the drying mud and die.

I was busy counting, when a man walked out of a nearby pub and set fire to a gorse bush, and pretty soon the surrounding heathland was ablaze. With conditions dry and houses nearby — some with thatched roof, this behaviour seemed madness; so I ran to the pub and asked the landlord to phone the fire brigade, and got some very strange looks from the local clientele. It was like a horror movie when a witless, well-meaning character comes off the moor and goes into an inn to report something peculiar. Everybody in the house knows what’s going on…. It’s never good. And that’s the way it was for me.

The fire brigade showed up quite quickly to put the fire out. Then there was the police. A friend was with me and we were asked if we could identify the culprit by the light of the fire… We thought we could and went to the station to give statements. It was 1.00 a.m. before we got away and on leaving we noticed somebody breaking into the local pier, but there are only so many visits you can make to a police station in a single night, so we let that one go. A few days later we were attending a police line-up — the constabulary were taking events very seriously. A politician, active in gay rights, had recently been framed for a crime he didn’t commit and the force had been told to tighten up on procedure. ‘The one on the end?’ said my friend as I emerged from the line up room. ‘The one in the middle!” I responded. Fortunately he was joking. We had both identified the culprit independently and he was later found guilty of starting a fire — to make things worse, he was a volunteer firefighter.

We hadn’t wanted to get anybody into trouble, but the previous summer of 1976 had taught us something — hot dry summers and fires don’t go well together. In recent years extended hot dry periods have resulted in fires of such intensity, they have destroyed both property and swathes of natural habitat around the World: in particular devastating extensive areas of Europe, Australia, the U.S.A., and Russia, this mostly the result of global climate change.

Hot summers inevitably lead to deep burns on heathlands, as was the case in 1976.

The heatwave that hit Britain during the summer of 76 was one of the hottest on record and a great deal was learnt from it, but it was the previous year that had set the ball rolling: June of 75 was cool, followed by two months of intense heat; then came a dry winter and the problems associated with the summer of 76 were inevitable. Besides the fires there was also a drought, resulting in severe water shortages, and in some areas people queued on streets to collect water from standpipes

The 76 fires on the lowland heaths of Hampshire, Dorset and Surrey were extensive. Surrey suffered the worst, with nearly one third of heathlands consumed. Of the four major sites, 55% of the total area was burned. Dorset only lost 11%, but witnessing the destruction first hand was alarming.

The late summer heatwave of 75 is mostly forgotten, because the drought of 76 was one of the most significant in the U.K. for 150 years and so it is remembered.

What we recall from the past usually relates to what is most important to us. I worked abroad for extensive periods of the 1980s and was in Vermont when Britain went to war with the Falklands. I couldn’t believe what I was reading in the US papers on the day it started, although it was difficult to know exactly what was going on because the U.S. is notoriously disinterested in anything that doesn’t prominently feature an American. It seemed ridiculous for Britain to be at war with Argentina, and the oddness of the event made it memorable. I mention this because the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, had not yet implemented the policies she became famous for and would required a second term of office (and then a third) to do so. Her popularity had been flagging… but once the war had been won, her ratings went through the roof. It is difficult not to think of the 1980s without remembering the impact of Thatcher’s policies. What is presently happening in Britain we are also going to remember, but not for the same reasons.

With weather, we mostly recall days when the sun was shining — I would always be out filming when it was. Our minds fixate on memorable events, including hot summers, which until recently were something of a luxury in Britain. Just a few hot days can activate our recollections, but if nothing much changes it is difficult to recall one year from another.

I filmed the aftermath of many heathland fires during the last quarter of the 20th Century; and one in particular on Hartland Moor in Dorset was environmentally significant. The 76 burns had been extensive and deep, which made recovery slow. By the summer of 77 bell heather was present, but there was still many seemingly out of place plants — like rosebay willowherb , which for obvious reasons is known as fireweed.
By 1978 Hartland Moor was showing signs of recovery with bell heather growing well. Some heathlands recovered very quickly, others did not — the outcome depended on the intensity of the burn, wind speed, ground temperatures and how dry the habitat was when the fire occurred.

1976 was an important year for me — I was trying to establish myself in television and on the lookout for news stories that related to the natural world. On summer weekends I would drive into the New Forest and sit outside of Beaulieu Fire Station and wait for a heath to catch fire. Initially there was nothing, but on 6th August everything changed. A man who had been looking at the the rubber pulls that held the bonnet onto my mini asked if they were legal. “Probably not”, I responded, and we got into conversation. He wondered why I was sitting outside of a fire station. I told him, and he responded by saying I was outside of the wrong one, explaining that he’d heard of a big one on the other side of the Forest near Ringwood. I was off like a shot, but it wasn’t easy to find. Going South towards Bournemouth the heathlands become dry and sandy and vulnerable to summer fires. I eventually found what I had been looking for near Ferndown, but by the time I got there, the fire brigade had everything under control. I missed most of the action, but learned a lot about where I could and could not go; and the firemen were helpful, asking only that I didn’t film when they weren’t wearing helmets.

I often filmed in colour, but took stills in black and white, as this was then standard for written news stories.

On 28th August I went to a heathland fire and soon learned of another burning out of control at Matchams, west of the New Forest. Somebody told me it was was one of the ‘wildfires of the century’, but I was doubtful. I needed to get onto the A338 between Ringwood and Bournemouth, but the road was closed. I managed to get onto it using a back road, only to discovered a scene from a disaster movie — there were no people or vehicles — the road stretched away empty, for as far as I could see. I kept going until I got to Matchams where smoke was rising from behind a hill. The undergrowth was shrubby and dense; and there were a lot of rhododendron — mature old plants that drop their leaves which make for a significant fire hazard. Hoping it wouldn’t be on fire by the time I got back, I left my car beside the road and headed in, but didn’t get more than a hundred yards before I could hear and smell the fire approaching, but I never saw a flame. However, with a light wind blowing I knew it was moving more quickly than I could, so I turned and hurried out, but my gear got entangled in the undergrowth, It was a struggle, but I got back to the road unscathed. With an overwhelming desire to record the event, I had approached the fire from the wrong direction — a serious error in judgement that I was lucky to get away with.

Having recovered my composure, I moved to a more open location so that I could keep track of the fire’s movements and ended up close to a farm. Here I found myself amongst people clearing a house, with firemen damping down the area ahead. The crew were standing in a line across the front of a stand of pines and I joined them. They were hosing water into the tops of the trees when the fireman next to me calmly said, “In a minute we will pick up the hoses and run back. When we do, you go with us.” Shortly after he spoke, the men were in rapid retreat. I did as I was told and moved with them, running the camera as I went. There was a sudden roar as fire swept out through the tops of the trees, which were by no means small; it then dipped into the area where we had been standing, sweeping down as if directed by dragon breath to incinerated everything ahead. I still have the footage somewhere — it was spectacular, but once down into the heavily watered area the fire lost enthusiasm, and gave up the fight.

For those who like figures: 1995 was then for Britain the hottest August on record since 1659 and the summer the driest on record since 1766. In the USA between July 12th-15th the midwest was overwhelmed by a heatwave — many died as a direct result, but the experience revolutionized the way Chicago deals with periods of extreme heat.

Through the 1990s there was an increase in hot summers and once into the 21st Century, heat records were being beaten with such regularity that climate deniers had trouble refuting anthropomorphic global warming as a reality, and moving at such a pace, even scientists — experts in their field — have been surprised by how quickly global temperatures are rising.

Lowland sandy heathland is a habitat that left unmanaged will at some stage burn dramatically. Such heathlands were once extensive but they are now much fragmented by development. Today a complete heathland burning may destroy whole populations of animals that cannot easily escape the fire. Featured above is a rare and endangered sand lizard: those that don’t get burned alive may survive for a time in their burrows, but will at some stage have to come above ground onto an incinerated habitat devoid of cover, where predators such as crows are waiting.

2022 will surpass anything that 1976 could manage and become the hottest summer on record for Europe. We know this even though the yearly figures at the time of writing are not complete. The hottest summer on record for the United States is 2021 — the situation has now become so bad we can easily predict the way things are going. Sadly the big money has politicians by the throat with the most powerful hoping to convince us that business should continue as usual — we just need to stop using plastic straws and everything will be hunky-dory. 

In Britain, recent political events have led to both shock and amusement around the World.

The question is: for how much longer can political decision making bolster economies by making the wealthiest people wealthier at the expense of everybody else, and most disturbingly, at the expense of the Planet. Present policies that rely upon the exponential and unsustainable extraction of natural resources — as if they were tokens in some global ponzi scheme — makes no sense. The result has been a tumbling of the diversity of ‘life on earth’ and shockingly, a ramping up of the ever increasing rate of climate change.

Surprisingly, it is Britain (regarded by some as a model for the democratic process) that has destroyed its political credibility by the incompetence a handful of politicians in recent moments of political madness that have trashed Britain’s economic credibility; indicating serious environmental problems cannot be left entirely in the hands of politicians who are either too stupid, or two self interested to make the difficult decisions required that will lead to necessary change . Nero may have fiddled while Rome burned, but the present fiddling is on a massive global scale as politicians make short term unsustainable economic decisions that have now move past simply allowing the Amazon to burn for decades without making an effort to stop it.

A recent WWF Living Planet Report indicates a massive decline in biodiversity and wildlife populations around the World. Latin American countries have seen the greatest decline with losses in the Amazon region having fallen by an almost unbelievable 94% in the last 50 years — this primarily due to deforestation.

27th October 2022:The U.N. warns there is no credible way of limiting the rise in global warming, and a preCOP27 report has suggested woefully inadequate action by World governments. In recent years we’ve had a taste of what it’s like to have a World that is on fire and if changes are not forthcoming, an already desperate situation will move beyond its tipping point and there will be nothing we can do to stop it.

Please read PART 2 which provides an outline of the devastating incompetence of British politicians as the crisis unfolded over the past few weeks; it ask questions about the role of Royalty in our time — and on both counts it is difficult to avoid satire. Further details are given on the WWF Report on wildlife decline, along with Britain’s political reaction to COP27.