IRELAND IS IN A BETTER PLACE THAN SO MANY

Bluebells, dandelions and daisies and cheerful bird song greeted me on my walk yesterday.  The sun was shining and it reflected my mood.  My latest CT scan showed everything was “stable” and my wife has finally got a slot next week to get an AstraZeneca jab.  Suddenly we can start fantasising about taking a trip, maybe to the UK to see my eldest daughter and my grand children.  Oh, how this pandemic has kept families and friends apart.  Don’t get me wrong, I know this is far from over.  Thursday’s figures and the outbreak at Intel emphasised that point.  However, we must not forget that this is a global pandemic.  The sheer scale of the problem in India is terrifying.  315,000 new cases on Thursday.  The words of the member of the Delhi Legislature, Mr. Bharadwaj, posted from his hospital bed says it all. They had only 3 hours of oxygen left “ A lot of people are dependent on oxygen and without oxygen these people will die, just like fish die in the absence of water”.  These words are truly shocking and it rams home the fact that however much we grumble about the speed of the vaccine roll-out, as a nation our position is a great deal less precarious.  For this, all of us should be deeply grateful.

It may be the sunshine this week but I am starting to feel optimistic about the other and vastly more serious global issue facing us, climate change.  Ever since that climate denier Donald Trump was kicked out of the White House by Joe Biden, the pendulum swung in the globe’s favour.  First, the US re-joined the Paris Accord and then Biden hosts a 2-day Climate Summit with Earth-Day on Thursday.  Putin, Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi all weighed in, but Boris Johnson perhaps grasped the right phrase when he says he doesn’t want “expensive bunny-hugging policies but those that drive jobs and growth”.  This in my view is the key to our future.  The global economy must go green, effectively it will be as revolutionary as the industrial revolution.  In some quarters there will be fierce resistance.  However, by moving nationally to embrace the green revolution we may be able to stay ahead of the curve.  Those of us involved in agricultural can see it coming and we will have to change our ways.  Some of this may be uncomfortable but also there will be opportunities.  When I think about all of this, I wonder how many of the practices that became the norm during the pandemic will become permanent.  Zoom calls have radically changed communication.  Talking to a previously much travelled colleague he admitted he had probably got to more people via Zoom then he would have managed by getting into an aeroplane.  It leads me to wonder when international travel restrictions ease up whether we will see the same level of business passengers as pre pandemic.  I suspect not.  I imagine that there are many nervous people in the tourism sector who wonder when and if we will see the same level of American tourists that we previously enjoyed.  I suspect air travel will become expensive until such time as they develop green aviation fuel.  Michael O’Leary going green, now that’s a thought.

Finally a word about Russia.  That thug Putin makes me nervous.  The massing of troops and equipment in the Ukraine, the fighter jets lined up – dangerous days ahead.