Thursday, 4 October 2012

Environmental Tragedy in Greater London

There is no arguing with the fact that environmental disasters are disastrous. It is a disaster when they happen. When such disastrous occurrences occur it often occurs to me that we are almost wilfully destroying this planet of ours, that humanity seems to have an in-built tendency towards self destruction, a death drive employed as a coping mechanism when progress pushes us along at a rate too rapid for us to manage, causing confusion and bewilderment; we destroy the planet with technology in order to destroy that technology, to return our surroundings to their natural nakedness, to return us to a state of simple being, the state of the noble savage, if you will.

Or maybe we're just fucking careless. Either way, when environmental catastrophes take place even the hardest of hearts must soften when a sea bird covered in crude oil struggles up on the beach looking a bit sorry for itself, or a polar bear falls off some melted ice, or a rainforest monkey gets confused when his favourite tree is cut down in order to make way for a McDonald’s chip factory. I am personally deeply affected by these things; my bearskin rug is often soaked with tears of frustration and I frequently have to go on long, pointless drives in my Range Rover in order to clear my head and divert my mind from the slow death of Mother Earth.

I always burn the old tires from my Ranger Rover in order to ensure they don’t end up in landfill 

I have witnessed many outrages against the environment on television programs, including natural disasters like flooding in Pakistan, as well as man-made atrocities like British Petroleum’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but nothing could prepare me for the environmental catastrophe that has recently taken place in Wolmer Gardens in Edgware. Residents of the quiet Greater London road were ‘horrified’ when they discovered a gaping hole had been chopped into the trees and bushes that lined their road. And to make things worse, the act of savagery was not carried out by a foliage hating maniac with a grudge to bear against life itself, but by Barnet Council, the very organisation that should be protecting its residents from this kind of tragedy.

Understandably most inhabitants of the disaster area are still too upset to speak about what has happened, but one brave soul, Debora Goldman, has spoken out hoping that her story will prevent anything like this from ever happening again. Not long ago Mrs Goldman requested that the council send a member of the working classes to her road to trim some overgrown branches, but what happened next was something she will never forget. Struggling to compose herself she explained:

“All I asked was for the council to trim the overhanging branches because they were hitting cars when they drove by. But when I came back from work I was horrified to see they’d actually cut them down. I was so shocked.”
Sickening. Despite visibly shaking with fury and disbelief Mrs Goldman managed to continue her story:

“The trees and bushes was what made us want to move here. It used to be very green and you couldn’t see the houses across the road. Now, just sitting looking out is upsetting”

It is truly hard to imagine what it must be like to live in a road where the houses across the road are visible to the naked eye, but these are the conditions in which Mrs Goldman and her family are now living, if indeed you can call it living. Despite this a spokeswoman for the council tried to play down the calamity by wheedling, “Staff cut back the top heavy shrubs, thinned out the overgrown shrubs and removed the self set trees. This will of course grow back.” That may be so, but until then Mrs Goldman and the remaining few residents of Wolmer Gardens who have not escaped the road to move in with friends and relatives will have to live with on-street greenery that some distraught witnesses have described as ‘unsightly’.

"Think of the children!"

Let us hope and pray that we can learn from what has happened in this quiet corner of Edgware, and that Mrs Goldman and her neighbours will one day find peace. 

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