Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Quick fixes

A helicopter is bearing down on me, not 100 feet above my head! The noise is deafening. From below is slung a large bag bulging and swinging worryingly. The helicopter now turns and deposits its load just behind our house on the mountain side and without a pause returns to the far mountain from where it came to be loaded up once more.

It does this time and time again. A never ending circuit, that’s been going on for at least the last 3-4 hours.

The heavy cargoes suspended below the helicopters are stones, slates and rocks; they are being dropped in massive canvas bags on the popular mountain path above us. Later National Park wardens will lay these to strengthen the path, make it safe and mitigate the effects of severe path erosion from the hundreds of tourists and walkers who climb here every week. It is particularly busy (although not today, obviously) as it forms part of the increasingly  popular  ‘coast to coast ‘ long distance path that allows you to walk across the UK at one of its narrowest points through some of our loveliest scenery.

This work in progress is the local ‘fix-the-fells’ programme in action. It’s now our turn. The money to pay for this needy work is raised by voluntary donation, partly an optional £1 per night levy on hotel guests in the area.

It makes me think that many must be aware of the possibility of environmental damage and are prepared to share some responsibility, however small, when they come to such a beautiful but pressured place. Surely the principle extends further, and we have responsibility for many other actions in our lives, not just on holiday. The challenge which fix the fells has cracked is to make that responsibility real and secondly to make a way of contributing practical and easy to do. This is what green24 is helping to do as well. Help all of us to see our responsibilities and also show us ways of dealing with the consequences. Big business has long been in the frame and can always do more but it is a responsibility of each and every one to be involved at an individual level.

If we don’t we will soon find that delightful places that we all take for granted will no longer be so accessible or pleasant and other elements of our environment will give way just as fast.

David Jackman

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