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Word for the Week

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

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WE all do things on automatic pilot. We change gear without thinking about it, so much so that if we change to a car with automatic transmission we still try and change gear!

There was a time when I used to dispose of rubbish on automatic pilot; just a few steps and into the bin it went.

Now I find I can never throw anything away without thinking about it. Even so I’m all for recycling and profoundly glad that we aren’t sending everything to landfill.

Nevertheless there is currently a far more pressing threat to our environment.

Way back in the 1970s I read a profoundly moving book by Barbara Ward bearing the title ‘Only One Earth’.

The book urged Western governments to share resources with the rest of the world, but Barbara Ward realised much earlier than most that this concern for development had to be combined with a concern for the environment and the finite limits of the planet.

Ashbourne is currently suffering from a plethora of applications for housing developments.

Permission has already been granted for around 400 dwellings and another application for a further 200 dwellings has been received.

If this is accepted it will mean a virtual eradication of Ashbourne’s green fields, which I believe have contributed very significantly to its relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Barbara Ward was perhaps the first person to grasp the meaning of the in term sustainability and she did grasp its genuine meaning, something that present day developers fail to see.

Even in Old Testament times there was a tremendous understanding of what sustainability means.

When, in the days of Ezekiel, the land was being divided among the respective tribes they were directed to preserve a part of it as common land and to ensure that there was a portion for aliens.

By and large these proposed housing developments are not delivering what is required.

They are plundering the land, during a time of poor national planning policy, and trashing the beauty of God’s creation; our green fields have been with us since time began and, once built upon, are almost inevitably lost for all time.

Additionally most developers are offering little or nothing for those of limited financial means.

I began by mentioning our recycling system and gave my support to it, but it pales into insignificance when compared to what is happening with the plundering of our glorious countryside.

When comparing these two issues I find myself recalling the words of Jesus when he said, “Blind guides! You strain off a midge, yet gulp down a camel” (Matthew 23:24).

Let’s remember that we have Only One Earth!

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