Sunday, September 28, 2008

Darkness Falls, Part One

Safe home after the rigours of amusing six hundred children in tents, I have allowed myself a few hours to sift through the Sunday papers and came across this delight in the Observer.

On being asked how he will spend the hours of darkness forecast for Britain in the forthcoming winter of powercuts, financial doom and rising unemployment, Donald Macleod, principal of the Free Church School in Edinburgh replied,
'Now that we've run out of coal, gas, oil and old newspapers, we should have a nationwide network of wind turbines and nuclear power. Sadly, we don't, because they either spoiled someone's view or offend someone's principles. So the short answer is that I'll wring necks.'

Visions of our rapidly emptying oil tank being scaled by a commando force of rampant ministers, all hopped up to the gills with righteous god-given indignation. Great, huh? That's all we need. Ranks of dog-collared thugs patrolling our streets, some of them drunk on communion wine, others simply fuelled on belief that their Way is the Only One. Oh, fun times ahead, people.

The line drawing of Daisy and her Inner Demon is one of the 143 black and white illustrations I finished last week for the inside of Witch Baby and me at School ( publishing in January 09). I took approximately half an hour off to celebrate this completion with a cup of coffee, and then began my next project - a picture book called Stormy Weather. Strangely prescient, what? One wonders what, if anything will be left of Western capitalism when it is published in October 2009. It is a lovely book - I'm really looking forward to immersing myself in the doing of it. All the pencil roughs are done, so the months between now and the hand-in date in January will be spent painting watercolour artwork for every double page spread. That is, when I'm not out in tents, or at book festivals or, like next week, on tour with The Trouble With Dragons.

The tour is a week of events up and down the length of Britain, travelling by train, armed with a powerpoint thing on a usb data stick, some pens and missionary zeal ( though not of the same order as Donald Macleod's) I'm hoping to add my voice to the rising clamour regarding the urgent need for us to do something to reduce our carbon output. I'm fighting a rearguard action by attempting to engage as many children as I possibly can in the course of a week, in the hope that they will go back home and pester their loving parents into taking action.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world appears to have taken their eye off the ball entirely - obsessing about money, mortgages and the identity of the next new and sparkly leader to replace the older models who have failed us. Deckchairs? Titanic, anyone?


Mel said...

Well, I don't know as I agree with him on the nuclear issue, but I do think he's spot-on regarding wind turbines. There have been plans afoot for some time to develop a wind farm along a mountain ridge in the very sparsely-populated north of the state, but it keeps getting waylaid by NIMBY groups who would prefer electric from coal-fired plants, because they don't have to see the mountains that have been blown up and stripped away to run those. It's quite maddening.

Frankly, with 3500 miles of shoreline, we've also got plenty of potential to develop offshore wind farms and tidal generation, but it seems like total collapse is probably what it's going to take for people to wake up to the need. Far easier just to bury one's head in the sand, no?

Debi Gliori said...


Rage, rage and all that classical stuff. Even if, like me, you end up annoying the hell out of your friends and family, we have to keep bringing the subject back to the clear and present danger facing us all.

Once the Dragons are out there, I have a scheme afoot to start nagging my neighbours into exploring the possibility of a small community owned windfarm. Don't hold your breath, because I'm almost 100% positive that I'll get blown out of the water, but I have to try. Have to. If our appalling lack of ood governance won't allow change, hen we have to take the power into our own hands and try and lead by example.

Mel said...

I'm determined to have a wind turbine atop our little hill someday. We're close enough to the shore that the air is rarely still. And then I want a high-efficiency masonry heater to warm the house in winter. I can go back to the old way of keeping a coppiced patch of alder for fuel, so that the plants offset the CO2 output of the fire. Our little patch of land can certainly support us, and I hope to make it as much so as possible. It's having the money to do it that's always the snag.

Alwen said...

I love your blog, so I'm giving you the "I love your blog" award.

Hopefully not in any creepy stalkery way, or anything.