Daily Archives:September 22nd, 2008

“New action plan to make greener city”

Don’t you just love local newspapers? A constant source of amusement, I find. Take, for example, the following introductory paragraphs from an article in the Cambridge Crier under the above title:

Plans to fight climate change and cut the carbon footprint of Cambridge by 89 per cent have been announced.

City councillors say it is time for action and have set out 92 ways to tackle climate change and reduce the risk of increased flooding, water shortages, higher temperatures, high winds and subsidence. The area of severe flood risk in the city from the river Cam is predicted to increase by 2055.

More people could suffer strokes, disease and food poisoning, and there could be more hosepipe bans, more people taking time off work, more damage to crops and harm to the environment.

I think this is brilliant in so many ways. Hosepipe bans and people taking time off work? Food poisoning, high winds and subsidence. (Hopefully not connected too directly). No wonder the council’s document needs to include 92 measures. The area at risk of severe flooding is expected to increase by some completely unspecified amount over the next 47 years. And the paragraph breaks make it rather unclear just how many of these disasters are the direct result of the document…

It reminds me of that great scene in Ghostbusters:

Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Anyway, fortunately, the city council has adopted this plan. That’s good. So I’ll be less likely to suffer food poisoning in 2055 but, sadly, may not be taking so much time off work. Maybe by then I’ll have moved away from the high winds of disease-ridden Cambridge to avoid a stroke.

I must go and read The Shipping News again…

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser