Gazette letters: #nofly, EU election and utility meters

Holiday paddle at City Road Basin close to Angel tube. Picture: NICOLA BAIRD

Holiday paddle at City Road Basin close to Angel tube. Picture: NICOLA BAIRD - Credit: Nicola Baird

It was 1949 when my great aunt first flew, as a passenger, across the Atlantic Ocean writes Nicola Baird, Islington Green.

Arriving in Boston safely, she was given a celebration certificate by the plane's operators. It's not like that now that 1,300 flights will take off or land just at Heathrow today.

Plane fever is adding to the problems our climate is facing. That's why I stopped flying regularly in 2000. There was a family discussion: we didn't have a car, now we decided to only take a flight every 10 years. We soon found there's plenty to do nearer home and began to use Facebook to stay in touch with overseas friends.

The #nofly movement isn't just about holidays. It could also change how you shop, for example buying fruit, vegetables, even wine, that have not been airfreighted.

My next plane trip was in 2011 when our family of four went to the Pacific for four months.

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Over the past eight years we've managed to explore the UK and Europe via train and foot.

Not flying doesn't feel like a hardship in any way.

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As Canonbury artist Gary Power, who evocatively paints and repaints a tiny corner of N1, says, life is "a journey without distance". We all need to learn to look closely, like an artist.

As for work there is Skype and even virtual reality headsets. For friends there's Facebook.

In Sweden - where student climate activist Greta Thunberg comes from - two mums, bonding over their new babies, have convinced 10,000 people to pledge not to fly in 2019.

Their aim was for people to break their flying habit holidays. You may not be ready to say no to taking planes, but this is one of the give-ups that being in a climate crisis will involve. Perhaps it's time to adapt my great aunt's certificate from: "May all your journeys by pleasant ones" to "May none of your journeys mess up the planet."

Read more of Nicola's columns

In a month where Extinction Rebellion protests have provoked debate like never before, and a record breaking number of Green Party candidates won council seats across the country, voters in Islington and beyond are waking up to the fact that politics is changing, writes Christian Spurrier, Islington Green Party.

Deteriorating air quality, a growing housing crisis, choking congestion and a lack of safety for cyclists and pedestrians - these are no longer niche issues, but major priorities for hundreds of communities like ours, who have had enough, and see the huge difference that electing just one green councillor can make to their local area.

This month residents have the opportunity to vote in European elections that were never meant to happen.

With Brexit in stalemate, those elected could even end up representing us in the EU Parliament for the next five years.

If you want to remain in the EU, the Green Party is one of the only parties that has consistently called for a People's Vote, to ensure our voice is heard in the chaotic Brexit process.

And if Brexit is avoided, it's even more important that we make the right choice for our future, our cities and our air.

There's been a Green MEP in London for 20 years protecting our human rights, our environment and standing up for fairer housing, less pollution and a humane policy towards migrants and refugees.

Only by voting Green on May 23 can Islington residents really be certain that they are voting for a party that is clear that staying in the EU is the best option for our borough, but that also has the policies that our families and our city really need.

Whether climate change exists or not is debatable but one thing that will impact the future of the young people is water, reality will rain on them as they get older, writes Michael McElligott, Amwell Street, Islington.

It is also a great pity that you cannot buy your water meter as it's a cash cow collection scheme of "standing charges".

Well I say, a new company could be established to insure people at a pound a year, far cheaper than current rates and the customer should always come first eh? This should also be applied to gas and electric meters as they too are just cash cows.

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