This article is a very personal lament for our natural world by Sara Maycock, a long time Coventry resident and climate change campaigner who just sees conflict in Coventry’s many grandiose policy statements and no recognition of the impact on local communities in the city, of the many bleeding edge technological projects the city is signing up to. She hopes her article at least provokes a debate amongst those who care deeply about our future and the city of Coventry. Others may feel technological solutions are the only way out of what looks to be a bleak future, but such developments come at the expense of communities like Whitley, which is currently under siege from four live planning applications in the area, all of which are writing over much needed natural habitat and green space. Add to that Whitley South and Whitley Gateway and our immediate world is changing at an alarming rate and not necessarily for the better.
Ode to the (S)murf a.k.a. as the MRF, Coventry’s state of the art Materials Recycling Facility
The Materials Recycling Facility is about to be built in the Sherbourne Valley corridor, adjacent to Charterhouse and the Whitley incinerator.
We, the human race, set great store by our vanity projects – our ‘in vain’ attempts to dominate and manipulate the natural world. HS2, Whitley Gateway, Whitley South, City Centre South, VLR and the MRF better known as (S)murf to name but a few on Coventry’s patch and which, we think, show us to be in control of all around us.
The (S)murf, about to go through Coventry’s planning Committee on the nod, (goal!) will have gloriously large HGVs (the larger the better, in the name of reducing emissions and numbers of vehicle movements) delivering our ever-increasing waste products to it, from no fewer than 7 local authorities – a testimony to our human need for vast over-consumption. Super high-tech equipment will sort through our rubbish, spew it out into yet more HGVs and ship it on – in the process overwhelming Whitley’s roads, destroying local amenity and community and proclaiming that we can combat the impact by persuading workers and local residents on to bikes, to do battle with fume filled roads while in fear of their lives – a desperate attempt to make the project climate friendly and counter the gross intrusion of monstrous vehicles. Oh, I forgot to mention that in some cases, but not all, the vehicles will be electric. Goal!
The fact is we have lost sight of the natural world we are systematically destroying, the rich riverside habitats, the wild hedgerows and mature trees and disused allotments, which were once a vibrant social community. – all in the name of processing our waste products and delivering them elsewhere – getting them off our patch in the name of climate mitigation and proving that, the once great city of Coventry, is making progress towards carbon neutrality.
Haven’t our great leaders thought of the obvious alternative of reducing waste at source – ditching packaging, cutting down on what we buy and use – if they have, they certainly aren’t pursuing it. After all it keeps people in jobs making more and more plastic wrapping, ubiquitous cardboard boxes (Amazon), irreparable disposable goods – marking it down as justifiable gross domestic product, that continuously stuck record of economic growth – all good stuff in pursuit of improving our all-important standard of living – largely by means of junk.
But what we humans are failing to notice is the degradation of the very systems we need to keep us alive – clean air, clean water, healthy soil, thriving insect and animal populations, comfortable temperatures, a rich and diverse natural world. This is the true measure of our standard of living. Unlike over-consumption, it isn’t a choice.
So back to the (S)murf which, when the earth is in ruins and we are long gone, will, like the Acropolis and the Great Pyramids, stand as a ruinous monument to our dead civilisation, to how clever and advanced we thought we were, testimony to a 21st century high tech world. But what it couldn’t do was save us from ourselves and the biggest problem will be, that there won’t be anyone around to visit and admire how great we thought we were.
Well done Coventry – (City of Culture 2021). Well done the human race
The next target in a long line of habitat destruction in Coventry city, is the wild area along the east side of London Road South, due to go under 349 housing units anytime.
(Coventry CC’s Climate change strategy – page 4, item 8. By 2020 we want to increase green space, protect habitats and encourage locally grown food)
Go Coventry! Half time Score: Coventry 100 Natural World 0.
Thankfully I’m able to report that strong evidence shows that nature will recover and thrive and the River Sherbourne will continue to flow as it has done for thousands of years, long after we humans are gone.
Full time score: Coventry (City of ruins 2120) 100 : Natural world 1000,000,000,0000 and counting.
Well done the natural world!