Migration and climate change

Invasion, conquest and occupation are features of human history. The British Empire was either acquired or held together by the force of arms.  And as Britain acquired such territories as India, Pakistan, Cyprus, the islands of the West Indies it sent its people to those places to exploit the wealth, resources and industry of the people who lived there. Exploitation was on a massive scale with the people of the Empire mostly being denied the basic decencies of life – the vote, the right to learn and freedom – on account of the colour of their skins or the race to which they belonged. Continue reading

the coal miners’ strike and the lost opportunities

Twenty five years ago the British coal miners started a long strike. They did not ballot the union membership about the strike, and after twenty five years the causes of the strike, as stated at the time, now seem to be obscure. With the clarity and wisdom that hindsight brings, it now seems that the coal miners on strike were pursuing their own self interests, which brought them into conflict with the elected government of the day, which had a policy of taking away the power of the unions, which had previously by strikes brought down two elected governments. The government had prepared for the strike by stock piling coal and by pushing a program of coal mine closures, which provoked the unions. Continue reading

Older generations

Cyprus is one of the countries that I love. It is dusty, very hot and full of friendly people to whom hospitality is an integral part of their lifestyle.  The island was named after the copper that came from there in ancient times, and was used by the ancient Greeks to make their armour and weapons of bronze. 

My father came from Cyprus and he was brought up in a village called Amiandos, Greek for asbestos.  The old asbestos mines were created at the turn of the last century and the village of Amiandos established to serve the mines. In those days the health problems associated with asbestos were not well known and as a young boy my father, in common with other villagers mined asbestos for a Danish company that owned the mine. Continue reading

Biomass, wood smoke, particulates and cancers

When we breathe in we inhale not only air but dust, and very small particles of stuff that we humans have put in the atmosphere. We know that these can be harmful – coal dust and asbestos dust spring immediately to mind.

Because we are putting relatively speaking so much into the atmosphere scientists are trying to understand the effect of these particles on human health.There is therefore a great deal of study and experimentation involving the toxicology of particles and fibres. Continue reading