Spout­ing hot air about cli­mate change

Eilis O’han­lon

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - GUIDE -

ANY­ONE with a smart­phone, and that’s most peo­ple these days, can down­load a free app giv­ing in­stant ac­cess to al­most ev­ery ra­dio sta­tion in Ire­land. That can only be a good thing, be­cause Ir­ish au­di­ences are in­cred­i­bly well served by the qual­ity of pro­grammes on of­fer round the coun­try, and it would be a shame to re­strict the au­di­ence by ge­og­ra­phy alone.

The only dif­fer­ence be­tween na­tional and lo­cal broad­cast­ers is of­ten that the for­mer got a few lucky breaks at the right time and ended up as house­hold names.

The other day I was “mov­ing the dial”, as it were, and hap­pened to catch The Michael Reade Show on Louth/meath-based LMFM. Reade talked to Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin about his sus­pen­sion from the party over abor­tion; he chaired a de­bate be­tween Ro­nan Mullen and Paul Mur­phy on the blas­phemy ref­er­en­dum; he dis­cussed the cam­paign against plas­tic pack­ag­ing. He cov­ered ex­actly the same ground as RTE Ra­dio 1’s To­day with Sean O’rourke or New­stalk’s The Pat Kenny Show, and with just as much deft pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Only the ads gave any clue to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them.

Pat Kenny also dis­cussed EU pro­pos­als to ban sin­gle-use plas­tics on his show on Wed­nes­day. He and his guest, from the cam­paign group Voice (Voice of Ir­ish Con­cern for the En­vi­ron­ment) took a fairly stan­dard line on the is­sue. Her ad­vice was: “Don’t kow­tow to busi­ness in­ter­ests, and... make them re­spon­si­ble for the lit­ter cleanup.” Sounds great. But, of course, there’s no such thing as mak­ing busi­nesses pay. The cost is al­ways passed on to the cus­tomer.

The show also waxed lyri­cal about glass milk bot­tles. As pointed out on Tues­day’s Cost­ing the Earth on BBC Ra­dio 4 (an­other ra­dio sta­tion freely avail­able to lis­ten­ers any­where in the world through a phone app), glass bot­tles need to be cleaned be­fore re-use, which ne­ces­si­tates a huge waste of wa­ter.

Plas­tic pack­ag­ing also keeps food fresher for longer; do­ing away with it would mean pro­duc­ing more food with a shorter shelf-life, which means us­ing more land and trans­porta­tion, so is not par­tic­u­larly en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

One of the UK’S most in­flu­en­tial or­ganic food pro­duc­ers told the pro­gramme that some of the anti-plas­tic cam­paign­ers have an “al­most re­li­gious fer­vour” that seems to over­ride ev­ery­thing else. On the one hand, plas­tic does cre­ate lit­ter and pol­lu­tion. On the other, do­ing away with it may con­trib­ute to cli­mate change. The point is that there are no easy an­swers. The role of broad­cast­ers Watch IT NOW should be to tease out those Hardy var­i­ous Bucks facets is on the of RTE an is­sue, not un­til to act as cheer­lead­ers for any par­tic­u­lar cause.

Whether Six Na­tions broad­cast­ers Rugby is on 3Player are even un­til aware De­cem­ber of these 16; ar­gu­ments is an­other mat­ter. Sim­ply On Nigella Wed­nes­day’s is on BBC The iplayer Hard - curShoul­der, Ivan Yates also asked what can be done about cli­mate change. The first two sug­ges­tions made by his guest, a UCD pro­fes­sor chair­ing a con­fer­ence on that ques­tion in Novem­ber, was about do­ing away with sin­gle-use plas­tics. That’s sim­ply not the same is­sue as cli­mate change.

Nat­u­rally, the UN’S ad­vice to go vege­tar­ian or ve­gan to re­duce one’s car­bon foot­print went un­men­tioned.

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