Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Colonnades and carbon

click photo to enlarge
I suppose that if you are a rich prime minister, are used to jetting the world, spending the odd fortnight with pop stars on their exclusive islands, or in the villas of foreign politicians as stuffed with money as you are, then you might describe forsaking air travel and holidaying at home as "a bit impractical". But if you do, and you also spend time urging the population of your country and the world in general to reduce carbon emissions to help to slow down climate change, then you can expect to be considered "a bit stupid".

The most financially cosseted form of transport, air travel is also the most polluting. I recall reading that a single person on one average length flight is responsible for carbon emissions equivalent to driving a car 10,000 miles. In today's newspaper I read that Tony Blair's recent jolly with a Bee Gee (!) in Florida contributed 4.6 tonnes to the atmosphere, and his sojourn on Cliff Richard's Barbados island another 4.3 tonnes. Oh, and his June break in an Italian prince's villa churned out another 1.4 tonnes. There was a time when British Prime Ministers practiced what they preached and spent their annual holiday on the isles of Scilly, or elsewhere in the UK. But today allegedly socialist politicians think they have the right to the lifestyle of an overpaid captain of industry. It would be nice if they remembered it's our taxes they're spending, and that they are supposed to be leading by example!

I was thinking about this as I passed the North Shore Colonnades, a series of curved loggias, completed in 1925, designed to give shelter from sun and rain for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visited Blackpool. Today they are largely empty, a silent reminder of the resort's glory days. Perhaps, I thought, Tony Blair would enjoy sitting here contemplating the Irish Sea! The afternoon sun was illuminating the columns and the passages down from the upper promenade, so I took this photograph of my wife with the colonnade and the shadows. I used a zoom lens set to 40mm, with the camer at Aperture Priority (f7.1 at 1/320), ISO 100, and -0.7EV.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen