“Climate change is a man-made problem that requires a feminist solution,” says Mary Robinson

Image of Mary Robinsin at the EIBF event on Sunday

The image above of Mary Robinson is via courtesy of the Edinburgh International Book Festival

“A feminist solution definitely includes men and I’m glad to say, increasingly includes men, because the feminist solution is based on equality.”

Mary Robinson, the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Raymond Tshibanda on 28/04/2013 in Kinshasa, during a press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Foreign

The image on the left of Mary Robinson is via courtesy of MONUSCO Photos [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival today, to discuss her book, Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future, in an event chaired by Scottish Journalist Ruth Wishart.

Robinson has been a cornerstone of Irish politics for decades. Following the end of her Presidency, she threw herself into global humanitarian work and becoming an Elder, a group founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, that works together to seek peace and to maintain human rights. Robinson is the first to admit that she didn’t discuss, or think much about, climate change when in her Presidency, and that becoming a grandmother nearly sixteen years ago opened her eyes to the need for change.

“When I held him in my arms, I was so conscious of the dates of 2050, you know, being a significant date for climate… all kinds of predictions that we need to be carbon neutral by 2050 and I thought to myself, ‘what age will he be?’. He’ll be forty-seven in 2050… I kind of had this physical reaction to thinking a hundred years ahead because I was his granny.

“That’s why I’m so grateful to Greta Thunberg and Holly (Gillibrand) here in Scotland and all of those children who have done much more for climate justice than I was doing at the time, because they’ve shown that it’s not a matter of small island states and indigenous peoples, which is what I was talking about mainly, it’s everybody. It’s the human race and our children and grandchildren.”

Library image of a Forest Fire

The discussion turned to the ongoing fires burning through the Amazon, to which Robinson stated that it’s devastating especially as “these are the lungs of the world,” before going on to say that it might actually highlight how consumer culture is impacting the natural world.

“I’m glad in a way that the terrible fires, that are taking place in the Amazon, are taking place when the G7 is meeting in Biarritz. It can’t be avoided, and I think President Macron is aware that this helps him to put climate change very much on the agenda.”

She went on to commend Scotland for its active approach to climate change, acknowledging that her home country of Ireland was lagging behind on its recognition and attempts to counteract their contribution to climate change.   “I came here to launch the first climate justice fund in the world, here in Edinburgh a few years ago, and I’ve been aware that Scotland’s climate policy is much much better and you’re very conscious. It’s partly because it wasn’t one of the things that Britain could rule for you.”

Robinson added that she was relieved as a former president to hear the Taoiseach of Ireland, Leo Varadkar admit that “Ireland was somewhat of a laggard on climate change, and we have to change.”

As well as the fear of the repercussions of climate change hanging overhead, Robinson says that it’s important that the world also remains aware of the ongoing tension around nuclear power, saying “the nuclear threat has become much worse than it was at any time since the cold war.

Doomsday Countdown to atmosphere changes – heat – climate change created by mankind? Library photo of an imagined end to the world – Doomsday (Fictional photography)

“I am asked to be with Ban-Ki Moon next January for the timing of the doomsday clock…they’ve asked us as Elders to be there to highlight the importance of it. We’re going to be closer than we’ve ever been to midnight.

“That is really serious because, Russia and the United States have pulled out of a recent treaty. They’re arming again, in a very dangerous way. North Korea is far from resolved. The United States has pulled out of the Iran treaty, that was holding Iran in place on nuclear issues and most worrying of all, you’ve got Kashmir with two nuclear powers. India said the other day that they’re moving away from what they said in the beginning when they went nuclear ‘no first strike’. They’re now saying, ‘well, maybe, maybe we won’t hold to that.

“I don’t want to scare people unduly, but that is another existential threat.”

Despite this, Robinson says that she is hopeful about the future, given the strength of leadership and the example that young people are providing around the topic of climate change. When asked what we should do to make active battling of climate change accessible by all, regardless of political leaning, she answered succinctly, “One short answer would be, listen to the children. Listen to our children.”

Sunday at the Book Festival

The image above of Mary Robinson is via courtesy of MONUSCO Photos [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

A Selection of Highlights for Tomorrow: Sunday 25 August 2019

Mary Robinson 11.45am

While the realities of climate change are not always visible, the realisation that our grandchildren will live in troubled times can catalyse action. After becoming a grandmother, former Irish president and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson travelled the world to learn about the fightback. In Climate Justice, she describes the people working to overcome the threat.

This event is part of the WWF Series

Kerry Hudson & Sarah Smarsh 1.30pm

Two writers revisit their experiences of working-class life in Britain and the US. In Lowborn, prize-winning Scottish writer Kerry Hudson returns to the poverty-stricken towns of her youth to discover what being poor means today, while Heartland by Sarah Smarsh is a touching memoir on the destitution of Kansas farming life and ‘being broke in the richest country on Earth’. Hear two honest takes on wealth inequality.

Mike Berners-Lee 2.00pm

Warnings of looming environmental catastrophe rain down on us with increasing frequency and only the most ardent climate change sceptics deny we live at a crucial point for the Earth’s future. Join sustainability expert Mike Berners-Lee in conversation with WWF’s Tanya Steele, as he cuts through the noise with practical advice on how we can avoid calamity, drawn from his book There is No Planet B, a ‘Handbook for the Make or Break Years’. 

This event is part of the WWF Series

Thomas Keneally 5.00pm

The Booker Prize-winning Australian author of Schindler’s Ark, Thomas Keneally comes to Edinburgh having woven another masterpiece in The Book of Science and Antiquities. Ancient human remains are found in Western Australia, causing controversy: was the man Aboriginal, or does he signify an even older culture? Documentary maker Shelby investigates, sure that ‘Learned Man’ connects the planet’s earliest inhabitants with our troubled environmental future.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi & Geovani Martins 5.00pm

Manchester-based Ugandan author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Brazilian writer Geovani Martins live half a globe apart, but their searing short story collections both centre on being an outsider. Makumbi’s Manchester Happened features moving stories of Ugandans living in England, while Martins’s The Sun On My Head is set amid the inequalities of a notorious Brazilian favela.

Colson Whitehead with Kirsty Wark 8.30pm

Following the success of The Underground Railroad – named by Barack Obama as one of the most important books of his presidency – new novel, The Nickel Boys sees Pulitzer Prize-winner Colson Whitehead visit 1960s Florida, a period of American history fraught with racial tension.

“Everything in moderation, including moderation,” says Geneticist and Author Dr. Giles Yeo.

Dr. Yeo (Image above kindly provided by the Edinburgh International Book Festival) discussed his book Gene Eating in an event chaired by journalist Ruth Wishart at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Monday 12th August 2019 , examining topics including fad diets, veganism and how our genetic makeup impacts weight loss.

Yeo says there are two factors the brain takes into account every time we eat…

Your brain needs to know two pieces of information in order to influence your food intake.

First, it needs to know how much fat you have, and why? Because how much fat you have is how long you would last in the wild without any food, if food stopped today.

And secondly, it needs to know what you have just eaten and what you’re currently eating.”

“If you lose any weight, your brain hates it because it considers it a reduction in your likelihood of survival. So it will always make losing weight difficult.

If anyone tries to sell you an effortless way to lose weight, they are lying.

When queried about veganism being used as a tool for weight loss, Dr. Yeo said:

It’s now become mainstream because people think it’s healthier. So, the cold truth is we probably eat too much meat as a society. This is true. Okay, does this mean all of us need to suddenly become vegan? Well I think it suits some people and for some people, it’s something to do. I think all of us need to probably eat ten – twenty percent less meat or even something more rather than eat no meat at all, but I guess this is the point if the kernel of truth is being vegan will help you lose weight. Not because it’s magical, because you eat less calories.”

His new book examines how genetic predisposition comes into play with how humans, as individuals, digest and process food.  He started off by saying

“Body weight is not a choice. Now obesity just happens to be one end of the spectrum from being skinny and being average size. So, it’s a spectrum, okay, it’s not a choice. Now let me just caveat this, clearly it’s my choice if I choose to eat the cookie or not and I appreciate that, but remember we don’t gain weight overnight. We gain weight over a year, over a few months.”

People think that when you gain weight, you gain fat cell.  Okay, maybe you get more fat cells. This is not true. Fat cells are like balloons and they get bigger and they get smaller, and when we gain weight they get bigger, and when we lose weight, they get smaller. The safest place to store fat is in your fat cells as they do this because that’s their professional job. It’s when they’re not in the fat cells, and they go into your muscles, your liver, other places, that’s when you tilt into disease. But what’s interesting is, all of our fat cells expand to differing amounts individually.

“So when we carry too much fat we will become ill, but how much fat we can carry, that is going to be down to our individual genes.”

For those interested in finding out their genetic mapping for food digestion, Dr. Yeo offers two free solutions. “The first is very depressing, but if you actually just look at your parents, when you just imagine anything about your parents, their shape and size, the size of their bottom, also what diseases they have.  That is free and far more predictive than any genetic testing. Second of all, if you have to lose the weight, if you are honest with your own failing behaviour, so for example, do I respond to stress by eating or not? Do I prefer chocolate, or what have you, then at least you have a fighting chance of controlling the environment you can control, meaning your household.

“So until we get to the point where genes can actually help in this prediction, I think look at your parents and be honest with your own feeding behaviour. I think those two things together are probably going to be quite effective.”

The Great Escape from The Kingdom of Fife at a cost of an extra £2.33 paid to ScotRail

My plan. To venture out of the Kingdom to do some work at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I missed the Stagecoach by a whisker. It was an Express, a coach and an X57. The good news is that a classic double-decker arrived, a 7B at 8:15 am (On school days this service does not run) prompt.

The 7B has many destinations but the main ones are Dunfermline and then onto Kelty. It was a pleasure to see. The blue, orange and red branding was a delight to my eye. It came to my rescue. Just in time.

It does stop at my local station but the train service from Fife in my view does not seem to be reliable. Many trains are cancelled (See recent late trains and cancellations at the bottom of this article) and rail staff reduce the number of carriages at peak times.  Therefore, they cram travellers into what seems to be carriages the size of sardine cans. 

Therefore, I headed for my nearest main station, that is Inverkeithing. However, just before I entered the station I pulled my discount card out of my wallet and I discovered it had expired.  Then I remembered…

It was that moment when I had a tiny twinge of conscience. The moment that I decided to go paperless or in this case card-less, This was a very small bid to save the planet. So I swapped my discount card for a discount app from National Rail (not ScotRail) on rail ticket prices that now resides on my mobile phone.

As I approached the station I happily liberated my phone from my pocket. On opening, I clicked on the Rail Ticket App. Hey presto the phone whirred and made some comforting noises

After what seemed to be forever, it then came back with a message…

‘Something went wrong please try again later.”

Well, I did, almost immediately! I needed that ticket. I had to be in Edinburgh sharpish.

More Whirs and a beep.

Then this very interesting message appeared

‘Something went wrong please try again later.”

My immediate reaction cannot be published here but I quickly jerked out of my pocket over £6 in cash. £6 for a single fare to Edinburgh! Ouch!

The train surprising ran on time but for some reason the 8:37 am was cancelled. I wonder why there is yet another cancellation

I fixed the app. Surprise, surprise it needed an update. So at the touch of a screen, the issue was fixed. Ticket lady said there could be no refund. Lesson learnt it will be back to the paper version next time I renew. I must say £2.33 discount on a ticket is a lot to lose.

Happily, I arrived at the Festival in time to hear all about the Victoria and Albert (V and A ) Museum in Dundee. You should be able to read the story here in the near future.

But I am still very puzzled why the app did not simply say…

‘Please update your app’ or ‘App out of date please go to Apple Store’

There really is no excuse for vague error messages like this in 2019

< – – – Some Recent Cancellations – – – >

 

August 12, 2019 at 02:40PM | 13:53 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 14:52 | 13:53 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 14:52 has been delayed at Inverkeithing and is now 11 minutes late.

August 12, 2019 at 04:09PM | 15:53 Glenrothes With Thornton to Tweedbank due 17:51 | 15:53 Glenrothes With Thornton to Tweedbank due 17:51 will no longer call at Kinghorn, Burntisland, Aberdour, Dalgety Bay, North Queensferry, Dalmeny and South Gyle.

August 13, 2019 at 08:01AM | 08:44 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 09:47 | 08:44 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 09:47 will be started from Inverkeithing.

August 13, 2019 at 03:10PM | 15:40 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 16:45 | 15:40 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 16:45 will be started from Inverkeithing.

August 13, 2019 at 06:35PM | 17:44 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 18:49 | 17:44 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 18:49 has been delayed between Rosyth and Inverkeithing and is now 8 minutes late.

August 14, 2019 at 03:26PM | 14:39 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 15:44 | 14:39 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 15:44 is being delayed between Rosyth and Inverkeithing and is now expected to be 8 minutes late.

August 14, 2019 at 03:37PM | 15:00 Edinburgh to Arbroath due 16:48 | 15:00 Edinburgh to Arbroath due 16:48 has been delayed at Inverkeithing and is now 9 minutes late.

August 15, 2019 at 11:14AM | 10:26 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 11:29 | 10:26 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 11:29 has been delayed at Inverkeithing and is now 10 minutes late.

August 15, 2019 at 11:34AM | 10:05 Perth to Edinburgh due 11:33 | 10:05 Perth to Edinburgh due 11:33 has been delayed between Inverkeithing and Edinburgh Gateway and is now 10 minutes late.

August 15, 2019 at 01:26PM | 12:28 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 13:39 | 12:28 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 13:39 has been delayed at Inverkeithing and is now 11 minutes late.

August 15, 2019 at 01:26PM | 12:41 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 13:42 | 12:41 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 13:42 is being delayed at Inverkeithing and is now expected to be 10 minutes late.

August 15, 2019 at 01:47PM | 13:48 Edinburgh to Glenrothes With Thornton due 14:51 | 13:48 Edinburgh to Glenrothes With Thornton due 14:51 will no longer call at Haymarket, Edinburgh Gateway, Dalmeny and North Queensferry.

August 16, 2019 at 03:17PM | 14:40 Edinburgh to Glenrothes With Thornton due 15:38 | 14:40 Edinburgh to Glenrothes With Thornton due 15:38 is being delayed at Inverkeithing and is now expected to be 10 minutes late.

August 16, 2019 at 04:47PM | 17:44 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 18:49 | 17:44 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 18:49 will be started from Inverkeithing.

August 17, 2019 at 11:46AM | 12:23 Cowdenbeath to Edinburgh due 13:06 | 12:23 Cowdenbeath to Edinburgh due 13:06 will be started from Inverkeithing.

August 17, 2019 at 03:19PM | 16:24 Cowdenbeath to Edinburgh due 17:10 | 16:24 Cowdenbeath to Edinburgh due 17:10 will be started from Inverkeithing.

August 17, 2019 at 04:19PM | 16:24 Cowdenbeath to Edinburgh due 17:10 | 16:24 Cowdenbeath to Edinburgh due 17:10 will be started from Inverkeithing.

August 19, 2019 at 01:52PM | 13:21 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 14:24 | 13:21 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 14:24 will no longer call at North Queensferry, Dalmeny and Edinburgh Gateway.

August 19, 2019 at 10:52PM | 22:05 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 23:09 | 22:05 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 23:09 is being delayed at Inverkeithing and is now expected to be 8 minutes late.

August 20, 2019 at 10:25AM | 09:23 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 10:34 | 09:23 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 10:34 has been delayed at Inverkeithing and is now 10 minutes late.

August 20, 2019 at 11:06AM | 09:23 Arbroath to Edinburgh due 11:13 | 09:23 Arbroath to Edinburgh due 11:13 has been delayed at Inverkeithing and is now 10 minutes late.

August 20, 2019 at 11:15AM | 10:05 Perth to Edinburgh due 11:33 | 10:05 Perth to Edinburgh due 11:33 has been delayed at Inverkeithing and is now 10 minutes late.

August 20, 2019 at 11:45AM | 13:21 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 14:24 | 13:21 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 14:24 will be started from Inverkeithing.

August 20, 2019 at 02:36PM | 13:48 Edinburgh to Glenrothes With Thornton due 14:51 | 13:48 Edinburgh to Glenrothes With Thornton due 14:51 has been delayed between Edinburgh and Inverkeithing and is now 10 minutes late.

August 20, 2019 at 06:18PM | 17:03 Perth to Edinburgh due 18:29 | 17:03 Perth to Edinburgh due 18:29 has been delayed at Inverkeithing and is now 10 minutes late.

August 21, 2019 at 08:37AM | 07:09 Dundee to Edinburgh due 08:48 | 07:09 Dundee to Edinburgh due 08:48 has been delayed between Dalgety Bay and Inverkeithing and is now 10 minutes late.

August 21, 2019 at 12:03PM | 11:38 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 12:39 | 11:38 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 12:39 will no longer call at North Queensferry, Dalmeny and Edinburgh Gateway.

August 22, 2019 at 10:19AM | 09:23 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 10:34 | 09:23 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 10:34 has been delayed at Inverkeithing and is now 13 minutes late.

August 22, 2019 at 10:38AM | 09:37 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 10:38 | 09:37 Glenrothes With Thornton to Edinburgh due 10:38 has been delayed at North Queensferry and is now 11 minutes late.

August 22, 2019 at 03:19PM | 14:37 Edinburgh to Perth due 15:55 | 14:37 Edinburgh to Perth due 15:55 has been delayed between Edinburgh and Inverkeithing and is now 8 minutes late.