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Community photography

Clean pleasant land?

a clean and pleasant land

Today’s photo is my fun attempt to do a seaside style postcard for the town I live in, in the heart of England; the Black Country. Those two swans live on Hydes Pool, an oasis of nature south of the town. A voluntary group called ‘Friends of Hydes Pool’, try to keep it nice and pick up litter.

A clean pleasant land

We have a similar group trying to keep the park litter free and in a nearby town, another group tries to keep the canal clean and tidy. These groups make an invaluable contribution to the community. I saw this morning an appeal for people to join a campaign to litter pick right across the Black Country, This is people getting involved in the community and not only trying to make it better, but being more responsible and not adding to the litter problem in the first place. This is a huge step towards truly making this a clean and pleasant land.

On a Sunday morning I write about whatever is on my mind. I’m thinking of going to an environment day event today, hence my introduction about litter. Looking after the environment is about the little things like litter, but there are also the big issues like climate change.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all environmentally friendly like Jeremy Corbyn and cycled everywhere? Unfortunately, although I was a keen cyclist when I was young, I’m now getting on a bit and I have an array of health problems and a dodgy hip replacement, so I drive a car with a 2 litre engine. What!!?? I hear the environmentalists cry as they get on another jet plane for their holiday in the sun. People who drive cars with 2 litre engines pollute the planet and should be punished! I think I drive in 5th gear most of the time or at least a high gear. My car ticks over, while the boy racers that scream past me have their  tin cans at full throttle. My car is also older and safer. It’ll be 18 years old this year and I consider the amount of energy to make me a new one would outweigh the advantages of me switching to a more environmentally friendly car. If I could switch to an electric one, I probably would. In the meantime I will avoid environmental disasters such as jet planes and limit myself to driving a few thousand miles a year. I don’t really like newer cars, I see people who get involved in crashes on even minor roads trapped in them every day.

There are lots of little things that could make Britain, more of a clean pleasant land besides picking up litter. We could use environmentally friendly technology more. For the past ten years I’ve been helping students with their writing in China. I helped them, not by jetting there, but using email and Skype. One of them did come to the UK to study at my local university, but that is a couple of trips over 2 years; which is reasonably responsible. In fact she stayed with me for a couple of weeks earlier this year. I think many people use the phone now rather than travel, but we still have huge numbers of people commuting to work. The sheer numbers getting stuck for hours in motorway traffic jams must tell us that this has to change.

This rise in commuting has something to do with an ever increasing population and a housing shortage that makes it hard for people to move close to where they work. Many people like to live somewhere  that they see as part of a clean pleasant land, in the suburbs or countryside and then commute into the towns and cities. We need to encourage people to live close to where they work, we need the towns and cities to be part of that clean pleasant land too.

I think most people can contribute something to community action. I try to write, take photographs and publicise using social media as my contribution.

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