A season of thanks and hopes

When I wrote my previous post, in July 2020, I intended it to last and to be part of a lead-up to COP 26, which took place in Glasgow this November. In particular, I hoped that my four suggestions for a generally applicable strategy would be helpful, which were:

  • Select the materials and energy you use from renewable sources
  • Recycle what you have finished using
  • Reprocess all persistent and harmful residues that past action has left in the environment so that they become recyclable
  • Measure success by the progress made achieving the three goals above (however small the steps) and, over time, by improvements in the environment everyone shares

At that time the Covid-19 pandemic was already affecting the life of most of the population of the world. But within that general malaise there were many personal situations that added to the challenges we were all facing. In March 2020, as Britain started its first ‘lock-down’, my wife was diagnosed with multiple cancers and her chances of survival for even another two years were estimated, on the basis of the outcomes of similar past cases, to be no better than 25%. The British National Health Service continued to deliver excellent treatment to her, despite the difficulties caused by precautions against the pandemic, giving chemotherapy and then carrying out two operations at the Royal Stoke Hospital. The system was then flexible enough to switch treatment to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital this summer so that radiotherapy could be performed more quickly. Thanks to this care, she is currently considered to be stable, which is an outcome we are very grateful for. An addition consequence of this was that we were able to make a permanent move to Norfolk to be closer to our Son and his family.

As I have explained in the ‘Eternal’ pages, I have reason to believe in what some call miracles. But I don’t take them for granted. It has been my personal experience that being part of a group of people who express their coordinated hopes for healing seems to improve outcomes. Throughout isolation, we were supported by wonderful friends and neighbours who not only gave us practical help with shopping but kept in regular contact. The majority of our communications switched ‘online’, which included ordering food and other supplies we needed, but also seeing how others were doing and sharing what we chose to call ‘worship and prayer’. Our local prayer group grew during lockdown to include many who had never previously considered asking for such help. Some of these then told us that their experience has changed how they feel about the concept of sending a request to the source of all creation (however, that is perceived by the person concerned). On a personal note, over the last 21 months since we all had to redefine what was ‘normal’, I have received some uplifting comments from people who had viewed this website telling me that they found the material on it interesting and helpful. These have lightened many a dark day and if any of you who sent such messages read this, please accept my heartfelt thanks. Forgive me, I haven’t mastered how to make individual responses.

Recent events have also made me feel that what I have written in the ‘Sustain’ section of these pages is worth doing (including the four suggestions reiterated above). This is because there appears to be evidence that the actions of people personally but also working inside companies and organisations has had an effect on the COP 26 negotiations and the process of which is part. For example, this morning (New Year’s Eve 2021), during a broadcast interview, a British Government Minister commented that it was because significant numbers of consumers had made it clear that environmental considerations would influence their current and future demand that some Governments had made a ‘last minute’ pledge to reverse deforestation. Sadly, those wielding power are still pursuing short-term interests, especially policies that they believe consolidate their power and wealth, which includes encouraging industries, such as fossil fuel. Nonetheless, I choose to go into the New Year feeling hopeful and planning to do what I can personally, including making this post! I wish you all the best outcomes that you aspire to and the opportunities to pursue your dreams in 2022.

About Paul Newman

Paul Newman BSc (Sociology), DMS, MA (Sustainable Development) worked for the Government for thirty years mostly on projects seeking to develop the UK Economy and has also been employed as a part-time lecturer, invigilator, events organiser and as a consultant on sustainable development projects. He became a member of the voluntary group Sustainable Staffordshire in 1997 and subsequently served as first a Vice-Chair then Chair for a four year term, during this time he also became a volunteer and then a trustee of the Community Council of Staffordshire, which he continued to support as a member of its Board of Directors until its closure in 2018. He has also served three terms as a Councillor for Swynnterton Parish, been a trustee of Hanchurch Village Hall and member of Trentham PCC.
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