Sunday quotes (16)

A series of quotes relevant to the environment and/or campaigning.

This week’s quote comes from Margaret Thatcher (died 2013).

Photo: Chris Collins / Margaret Thatcher Foundation

What we are now doing to the world, by degrading the land surfaces, by polluting the waters and by adding greenhouse gases to the air at an unprecedented rate—all this is new in the experience of the earth. It is mankind and his activities which are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways.

Speech to United Nations Global Assembly November 1989

More on Margaret Thatcher here.


12 Replies to “Sunday quotes (16)”

  1. You owe me a new computer. I saw that evil old cow’s picture on the screen and reflexively punched it. I never much believed in the afterlife, but I dearly hope there is a hell of the cruellest and worst kind, and that she and her merry band of followers all rot in it for all eternity.

    Before she came along my hometown was prosperous and well off, now it is a gutted wreck that has still not recovered from her depredations and likely never will. It is offensive that you should put a picture of her up.

  2. Clearly had moved on a bit by this time, recognising the value of a good sound bite! I recall her comments when faced with the Falklands war, that it was “good to have a real crisis to deal with in government ,rather than humdrum matters like the environment”!! Hated the woman, and still do!!

  3. I must say I too disliked her, at times quite intensely. She used to come out with these splendid sounding environmental statements from time to time butI am not sure she did very much about the environment if anything at all. Was her time a time when protection of our wildlife really made great strides forward? The answer, unless I am much mistaken, is an emphatic no.

    1. Alan – it would be surprising if I were a great supporter of Mrs T – and I’m not. Under her I think that environmental awareness did improve and that she had an important role in that. The Blair and Brown governments probably did more, but Thatcher and Major were not anything like as hopeless as the current bunch. Read Thatcher’s speeches at the Royal Society and UN and then try to imagine the Mrs May making them all this time later. I couldn’t picture it.

      And so I chose Thatcher, a womasn whose politics I reject, quite deliberately – not because I worhship her memory but because even in our opponents we can often find some good (probably alwys actually, although with some one must look jolly hard).

      1. Well said. She’s hardly my favourite person either, but reducing real people to panto mine baddies is pretty much the same as thinking everything is black or white with nothing in between. Michael Foot found her easier to get on with than he did Edward ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’ Heath. Bob Geldof mentioned in his autobiography that when he spoke to her about the situation re the Ethiopian famine in the mid eighties she did the classic politician ploy of trying to unsettle Geldof by staring him out. However, he felt this was strange because he happened to know that when the crisis started MT was at a meeting of European heads of state and she asked that it be put on the agenda. The others overruled her. Real people, real life and you get these contradictions. Likewise the left is hardly free of opportunists, phonies, hypocrites and idiots (I.e those who don’t like the big pharmacological companies and since they sell vaccines have now decided vaccination is a money making con foisted on the masses). The most snobby people I ever met were several members of the Stirling branch of the Socialist Workers Party in 1989 – they had rather a high opinion of themselves as left wing intellectuals when in fact they were just Pratts. The general standard of political discussion on social media is appalling, mainly compromised of taking predictable (the textbook), purely reactionary stances to what the other side says on immigration, Islam/Islamic fundamentalism, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, population growth etc, etc.

        1. “they were just Pratts”

          Pratts are a scion of the Grant clan allegedly – are they snobs too?

          1. Predictive text gave that word a capital P as in the surname. I’m using an ipad and trying to correct text with it can be horrendous so I tend to leave the smaller errors be. But you are of course correct as always Filbert (yes.. please take a bow) the meaning could be misconstrued so I will take this opportunity to apologise to any real Pratts. The snobby pratts of the Stirling Branch SWP of 1989 were my actual, well deserved target for base insult – I haven’t forgotten the one who worked at Waterstones and let out a theatrically loud snort of derision when I went to the till with a copy of ‘The Green Supermarket Guide’.

  4. But against the general view of her party – and many of those who worship her today – she did recognise climate change, even if she didn’t do much about it. Her being the first woman prime minister has been made much of – but possibly equally, or perhaps even more, important is the fact that (as far as I can recall) she was the only scientifically qualified Prime Minister ever.

  5. We knew then, we know now but the politicians are (in the main) a herd of Nero’s more interested in promoting private profit than addressing environmental or climate change related issues.

    Wildlife crime is another one but let’s stick to needing to awaken the politicians who permit a whole range of crime against the planet, which is needed by future generations.

    If we as a species survive it might be entertaining to know how history records the unraveling fiasco of “No Planet B”.

    Hope in between the frustration, anger and tears you all mange to get out doors and enjoy what is left of nature in a once far richer countryside.

  6. Hi Mark thanks for your comment. I certainly had more time for John Major than Mrs T. You are right that under Mrs Ts environmental awareness did improve a lot but as I recall it this environmental awareness was more of a general surge in most western / EU countries, Many of the EU environmental directives originated around Mrs Ts time. I am nor sure how much Mrs T had to do with it, not much as I recall. However with her her scientific training I agree she was able to address audiences with some conviction. Some research might be worthwhile. However as you say Mrs T and John Major have to hugely better than the present lot which can not be rated at all on the environment scale.

  7. 2 things we can thank Michael Heseltine for – getting rid of her and saving Canford Heath in Poole from developmenty, which pretty much kickstarted the ongoing conservation of lowland heath.

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