"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Aeroplanes and volcanoes and hurricanes

We were woken at 3am or thereabouts by a huge bang and crash. Michael Fish our UK weatherman had famously said we were definitely not going to have a hurricane. He has ever after lived to regret those few words of assurance! Our neighbour’s enormous Oak tree had landed on our roof, and a huge branch had smashed through the lounge window, ripped the settee to shreds, and left a legacy of acorns in amongst all the books and ornaments, that we were finding for years after. Most important though was the fact that our two boys were OK. Aged 6 and 3 at the time, their bedroom was narrowly missed by the flying tree trunk. That was a very close shave.
But good things came out of that 1987 hurricane. Although there were injuries and a few fatalities across the south east of England, important lessons were learnt: that trees need checking for disease, and pruned or lopped as appropriate when needed, that woodlands don’t look after themselves but need careful attention. The hurricane created an enforced and brutal sorting of the healthy from the diseased trees. And as lessons in wood husbandry were learnt, so new spaces were made available for careful replanting and new views were opened up for us, all across the county.

In 2010 another piece of history is being made, and perhaps in the end good things will come out of the current grounding of all aeroplanes across Europe. Some are suffering. This is a desperate and serious time for those gravely ill patients waiting for donated organs and bone marrow to arrive for essential treatments. Some couriers are making amazing journeys over land to deliver some of these vital medical supplies. 
And the families of the Kenyan farmers who cannot deliver their beans to our UK supermarkets will also suffer. But many are finding very welcome peace and relief from the desperately loud planes landing over their chimney pots into Heathrow and Gatwick and other airports. If Her Majesty is at Windsor Castle at the moment she will certainly notice the difference!

And we all know that we cannot sustain the continuing growth in air traffic. And is being able to fly to where we want at any time a human right or a privilege? This is an interesting question. Comments please.

I went to a local garden today that was open to the public and there I met a man whose job is measuring aeroplane noise! Actually he welcomed this current silence in air space as it gives a useful base line against which to compare the “normal” situation.  

So who knows what the longer term effects will be of this current situation? Meanwhile make the most of taking photos without the aircraft trails. And this is coinciding with the most glorious weather and clear blue skies. So there are plenty of photo opportunities to be had. Enjoy!

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