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If oil and gas companies didn’t drill and frack - we wouldn’t be facing climate breakdown.

If agriculture hadn’t razed nature to grow grass and soy to feed animals the world’s burger giants are only to keen to sell you in largely throwaway packaging - we wouldn’t be facing a biodiversity crisis.

If foresters and developers hadn’t cut millions of hectares of old forests down to make way for pines and industry - the out of control wildfires burning across countries around the world wouldn’t have been able spread so far.

Read more: The Earth's Corr: A healthy, happy life feels like a pipedream in NI right now

If governments hadn’t sat on their hands and actually protected the interests of their people while all this was happening, we wouldn’t be in the massive mess we are in.

I know none of this started yesterday or even last year. The catastrophe we now find ourselves facing has been simmering since the the industrial revolution.

But when absolute dingbats like Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and other so-called leaders around the world can plainly see the results of decades of stupid decisions not to rein in oil and gas and conserve the natural environment across our TVs - they have to be downright evil to keep handing out oil and gas licenses.

Wildfire danger forecast from Copernicus Emergency Management Service
Wildfire danger forecast from Copernicus Emergency Management Service (Image: Copernicus)

Forget the Biblical images we were sold of the hoofed and horned beast, raining fire upon Earth with help from his horsemen and hell hounds. Hell is here, right now, in places like Hawaii, Canada, Greece, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Turkey, France and more.

The poor people in those places could never have known losing their lives, homes and business would result from driving petrol guzzlers sold to them by two-faced firms sweetly selling the poisons that could be the end of us all, eating meat or buying things made from old trees.

The devil is said to offer up our greatest desires - but in every parable, book or film about making a deal with him - there’s always a much more costly price to pay. That is what we are seeing right now.

And the men and women in suits, making deals around boardroom tables and political backrooms, are the real devils in this scenario.

Greenpeace recently published a list of Europe’s dirty dozen when it comes to the harm being caused to our planet.

While the likes of BP, Shell and TotalEnergies, which all place, rake in billions off the backs of more in public subsidies, ordinary people like you and me are facing another bleak winter where the cost of staying warm is ever rising.

At least 36 people have died after a fast-moving wildfire turned Lahaina to ashes (Image: Patrick T. Fallon via Getty Images)

I spoke last week about how our government could do a few simple things like retrofit houses, ban new oil and gas boilers and help us make the transition to electrification powered by renewables.

Why don’t they just put the huge sums of money they give oil companies in subsidies to make our lives better through electrification - which will no doubt drive down our energy bills?

The UK and Ireland had some of the most expensive electricity prices in Europe as of February this year - while countries with huge renewables networks like Norway were way down the scale.

We were paying between 48.5 c€ to 49.9 c€ per kWh compared to Norway’s 14.6 c€ per kWh - while the European average is 28.3 c€ per kWh.

Now if that is not incentive to drastically roll out electrification and renewables - I don’t know what is.

I know many firms are pinning their hopes on hydrogen to replace gas and oil as we make the transition to climate friendly fuels.

But according to UCD climate and energy expert Hannah Daly “hydrogen is an energy *carrier* and decarbonising with that fuel would actually require more renewables than direct electrification”.

So instead of looking for alternatives to oil and gas in the form of other gases, we should be looking at electrifying all our homes and using the energy straight from renewables to power them - rather than adding another fuel to the mix.

According to Hannah, we would need less energy to do that, than using renewables to make hydrogen.

The solutions are there people - we just need governments to stand up and take notice and do the sensible thing.

In an ideal world all our energy should come from wind, hydro and solar power - we just need to find ways to store the excess for days when fuel is running low.

Let’s turn our backs on oil and gas now and start putting pressure on governments to deliver the most practical alternative - electricity.

It will mean massive upgrades to the grid to support it - but that’s what we need for the future - not more oil and gas.

Huge well done to Larne's Eco Rangers

Eco Rangers litter pick in Larne
Eco Rangers litter pick in Larne

The Craigeyhill area of Larne has just undergone a massive clean-up thanks to Eco Rangers volunteers, with support from their SPAR and Barista Bar.

A huge pat on the bag for those who helped gather up 26 bags of rubbish from the area.

Larne was recently reported as one of the most littered areas of Northern Ireland.

Stephen Marshall, Chairman of the Eco Rangers said: “Eco Rangers NI is delighted to partner with local businesses to clean in local areas and raise awareness of the environmental impact of littering. We have been proud to see the difference our work has made to the area in the last few years.

“The area is cleaner, people can take pride in their area again and it’s even made a difference to the wildlife, especially along the shoreline where we’ve carried out intensive cleans to remove huge volumes of historic litter and debris that was destroying the local habitat and generally creating an eyesore.”

He praised support from SPAR and Barista Bar - and while this is commendable - I think both should be doing much much more to reduce the amount of single-use packaging they provide to customers.

Single use coffee cups by brand
Single use coffee cups by brand

According to 2023 research from Keep NI Beautiful coffee cups represent 2% of all litter found on our streets, with Barista Bars across Northern Ireland are responsible for over 70,000 of them.

I’d love to see businesses here strike a deal like Killarney did, when they turned their back on throwaway cups to reduce the litter in their part of the island. Apparently it’s been a huge success!

Do one thing

Buy yourself and reusable coffee cup and vow to take it everywhere you go.

You can get them filled up in coffee shops and Barista Bars up and down the country.

Until businesses and the government take action on this - every throwaway cup you don’t use will make a huge difference.

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