Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ragwatch Roundup

The Rags have been quiet on environmental issues for a while, but have had a little flurry of late.  Some of this has been commendably positive.  The Daily Telelaugh has had pieces on Buglife threatening to sue the Government for not implementing a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides which are decimating our bees; and one on Pond Conservation’s project to create 30,000 new ponds in the next seven years to address a century of decline.

In a more familiar negative mode The Garbageian had clearly become irked by the persistent interest in Richard III’s body being found and exhumed after 500 years.  They dredged up an anti-royalist history professor to comment: “So what, the bones of a monarch change nothing we know about history.  If the bones of a couple of peasants were found that tests made us rethink our entire concept of medieval serf’s nutrition that would be revelatory, but I don’t suppose it would have been all over the papers”. 

No, and the reason might just be that there are tens of thousands of members of the Richard III Society worldwide, all entranced by the romance of a King riding to his doom in battle and the subsequent mystery and intrigue surrounding his life and death.  I do not know of an “Unknown Random Peasants With Interesting Dietary Habits Society” but suspect if there is one its members would not fill a phone box.  Obviously the good professor thinks the Soviet Union is alive and well, and won the Cold War in style. 

First Prize this month though has to go to a Mr Michael Tod, writer of the following letter to the Daily Telelaugh this week:  Sir, as a boy I caught a great-crested newt in a bomb crater.  Cheshire Council is spending £200,000 to relocate 18 such newts, holding up a £30 million bypass.  Surely someone must be able to catch those newts and move them to a pond?  A worm on a length of knitting wool is effective.”

Well I would have thought that with bombs whistling down there would have been more to concern the writer than catching newts.  Then there is the question of ID.  Did he really know it was a great-crested newt, or was it just a smooth newt?  It is tremendous dedication to stand studiously consulting your field guide while the Luftwaffe rain 500-pounders down around you!

The closing remarks require addressing the most though.  A five minute Google search shows the £200,000 is of course for the entire environmental process, not just the newts.  Without such a process the entire country would soon disappear under concrete and Tarmac like the bypass.  Indeed I suspect Mr Tod might object to it himself if the bypass was anywhere near his home, but I note he lives in Abergavenny!

Perhaps he could use his newt-catching skills to nab a few and deposit in its path.  Anyhow I will pass on the tip about a worm and some wool to our amphibians department, I am sure they will be delighted.
A more familiar form of newt-catching, a bottle on a stick!

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