I noticed a certain amount of press criticism recently of the traditional fireworks displays which have illuminated our dark November to commemorate the failed attempt by Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament back in the 17th century.
The dreaded carbon footprint and air quality issues were raised by critics. These festivities seem to continue almost year-round with fireworks used to assist in the celebration of every event from the religious to the personal – what’s wrong with just November the 5th?
What should we do as a society?
Ban them? Restrict them? Wear gas masks?
Banning things is often a descent on the slippery slope towards totalitarian regimes. So maybe it’s worth a look at the environmental impacts of other widely performed activities, like sports?
Let’s start with football
The obvious one. Anyone who travels the UK motorway system on a Saturday will know that much of the traffic is generated by footie fans travelling to see their beloved team in the outermost reaches of the kingdom .
How much lighting is used to promote growth of the grass on football pitches, such as the Etihad Stadium, where no natural light reaches some parts of the pitch, so massive banks of lights assist the grass in growing?
Why schedule so many midweek games in the winter with all the floodlighting this requires? And, how can a European Champions League be sustainable? All those flights and travel!
And how about the Barmy Army travelling the world watching the hapless England cricket team and creating a massive carbon footprint of their own? Is it on their agenda?
How many trees have been felled to create sufficient space for all the golf courses which are apparent everywhere?
Or, maybe the worst of all, the Formula One brigade. Show me a Formula One car which does more than 50 miles per gallon?
I could rabbit on ad nauseam but my point is that all of these activities are, in our politically correct & hypocritical world, in some ways highly undesirable, polluting and in need of reform if not, dare I say it, banning.
I’d hate to be called a killjoy myself but, joking apart, surely when so much effort is being expended focusing on making the world a more sustainable place, there is logic in seeing where mass activities, such as sports, can be made a little more environmentally acceptable but without affecting the pleasure of those who enjoy them?
Just a thought… don’t stick me on a bonfire for it!
Mervyn Bowden is the Managing Director of Intuitive Energy Solutions Ltd.