Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

Posts by markontour

Inclusive climate action and the Green New Deal

There has been so much said and written about the Green New Deal put before the United States’ Congress by the remarkable New York Representative, Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, that I hesitate to add anything more. However, it really is worth noting how coherently the Green New Deal Resolution melds action to tackle climate change, with measures to counteract the obscene inequality and wage stagnation that has built up over decades of neo-liberal political supremacy in the USA (and my home country of Great Britain).

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A wren in the bush

This afternoon we were captivated by a little Wren, busying itself in the undergrowth of a hedge that lines the bridleway from the Welsh Venison Centre (we prefer to think of it as The Deer Sanctuary) to Tal-y-bryn. We had stopped to listen to a Robin singing his heart out / fiercely claiming his territory, but the noisy harrumphing of the Wren drew our attention away. These tiny birds are barely the size of a child’s hand but make a real racket. Indeed, my twitcher app tells me in a Top Trumps sort of way that “weight for weight the Wren’s song is ten times louder than a crowing cockerel”.

Sunshine on Mynydd Llangorse

Yesterday morning I was out with the dawn in order to catch the sun rising over the snow covered hills that surround our new Welsh home. At the peak of Mynnd Langorse a couple of hours later I met a man called Steve, who had fulfilled a thirty-year ambition to move here after first becoming enchanted with these Welsh hills after spending time in the valleys in 1984 as part of Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (an uplifting experience that was so brilliantly portrayed in the film ‘Pride’).

The East Pointers

All I knew about the East Pointers upon entering the Lexington last night was that, according to my friend, the lead singer is the most beautiful man she’s ever seen. I don’t feel qualified to give a definitive view on that, although he did have a great hat, but the band were straight out of the top drawer.

The Great Food Transformation

A superb report, ‘Food in the Anthropocene’, published last week by EAT and The Lancet sets out with tremendous clarity how “global food production constitutes the single largest driver of environmental degradation” in the world today. Moreover, it explains how “a diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal sourced foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits”. It is a must-read for policy-makers everywhere, but if you don’t have time even to peruse the hard-hitting executive summary, these are the key points:

No country can call itself civilised if a sick person is denied healthcare because of lack of money

Last week, the Mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio, announced free access to health care for all New Yorkers. For British citizens a universal right to free health care might not sound radical – it is something those of us under the age of seventy have enjoyed our entire lives. But medical bills are the single biggest cause of bankruptcy in the USA. Having witnessed some of those closest to me requiring urgent access to our free British National Health Service over three successive New Years, I am in full agreement with the Mayor when he says that “[h]ealthcare is a right not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it”, but also reminded that it is a “right” that most global citizens do not actually enjoy.

Curious Under The Stars

Ms Markontour has not been well in the New Year, but the one upside is that we have had lots of time to discover and catch up on Curious Under The Stars, a magical and uplifting BBC radio drama. Having the privilege of sitting listening to it while gazing out on to the ever-beautiful landscape of the Brecon Beacons has made it all the more enchanting.