What an extraordinary week.  We quickly forget that some of the things we get up to are perhaps seen as unusual, and that our view of the world is likewise not always terribly mainstream (whatever that is). So it is always interesting when people want to come and take a look, ask questions, and compare notes. Every day for the last four days, people have come to do just that, and another one called to enquire for a newspaper article.  Yes it is nice that people take an interest, but more importantly the very fact that people are interested means that there is a desire within many for a change. Increasingly people are starting to realise that in so very many ways we as a society cannot continue along our current path.

Imagine if you will, a blank sheet of paper. One pencil dot, two pencil dots, three pencil dots. Initially they are just dots, and don’t form any kind of coherent pattern. At some point however, you could concievably begin to discern a pattern. Enough dots, and a picture might emerge. The dots have become something else entirely. Lackan Cottage Farm is one of those dots, and I think we are at the point where enough dots exist to begin to form a pattern. Every time someone comes by to find out how they can make a change in their lives, the pattern gains another dot.

I say this in light of the current state of affairs here in Northern Ireland with regards to the environment. We are saddled with a government incapable of comprehending a worldview that takes into account the importance of environment. It is seen as a pretty thing that might be sold to attract tourists, rather than the root of our very ability to exist on this planet. I suspect (though I may be wrong) that this is in part due to the fact that the largest party is essentially a political wing of a fairly fundamentalist Christian church, which is taught to regard the world ‘out there’ as something to be manipulated and subjugated by Man, rather than as something of which we as a species are a part. Anyhow, I digress.

Environment is seen by our leaders as a sideshow, unimportant unless it can provide resources to enable the growth economy, to be mined, farmed, used, or otherwise exploited. Protecting it gets in the way of all those things, and so the resources to ensure that protection are not at the top of the agenda. Quite the opposite in fact. Budget cuts announced will lay waste to a large number of organisations dedicated to the management, enhancement, and maintenance of the wellbeing of the natural environment here.  Planning policy is to be biased in favour of economic considerations rather than environmental ones;  resource exploitation in the form of oil and gas continues to be deemed desirable by policy makers, when it needs to be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change. The list is a long one.

Set against this background of environmental ignorance, and the pursuit of an endlessly growth driven, debt based economy by those who are currently in power, is the growing awareness amongst ordinary people – the ‘dots’ – that if we don’t act soon – if our collective will doesn’t drive massive change, and soon – and form a coherent picture, we are going to allow the policy makers to set us on a course that we cannot change. Someone commented that remaining polite was necessary in order to discuss the situation with those who have brought us to this point. I disagree. If being polite and asking nicely got you to the point where the protection and governance of all matters environmental is really of no importance, then isn’t it about time you stopped being polite, and started making a fuss. You might even shout a bit. Because if you don’t, you can be damn sure that no one is going to listen.