I’ve been extremely impressed with Greta Thunberg and her environmental movement she has helped to galvanise being the biggest ever recorded, bearing in mind she felt an ‘invisible girl’ in school. I called a couple of routes after her and in March this year people from Extinction Rebellion contacted me asking if I’d do a video speaking about climate change. I told them I didn’t feel super comfortable about that but said I’d call a new climb after their movement. They seemed keen on the idea and made a video released in early April. The first comments on the video link I saw were negative and I had thought it was pretty cheesy myself but I clicked on the 2 individuals who made the comments and quickly saw the last few comments they made on things were denying climate change was even occurring. A sign of the times I suppose, but few things wind me up more and after a few brief interchanges we all had to block (a social media tool to clean up your feed when things get ugly) each other, partly as I’d threatened to track everything they did as what was very obviously ‘disinformation’ aka total bullshit. I have written a couple of articles on climate change for the BMC, one was called ‘Climb-it change’ and was looking to point people to good sources of info, the Metoffice, the IPCC and suggesting that if people have kids they should be doing something about it, with a list of 10 things people can do whilst also pointing out that we had 12 years to do so. A friend Chris Shepherd rightfully pointed out that my article was pointless as we are currently looking at worst case forecasts regarding global warming. The other article was about the Youth strikes for climate which were the biggest climate protests ever, conceived by Greta Thunberg.
A common tactic of climate change deniers is to point to the carbon footprints of environmentalists or people getting involved in the activisms. I was concerned with this myself when the BMC shared the XR video link and a guy called Phil Oldham came on mentioning my helicopter ride to Lundy. I mentioned that aeroplanes up your carbon footprint loads because of the altitude the greenhouse gases get emitted and the 5 minute chopper flight wouldn’t have added up to much and that I mainly climb in the UK nowadays for environmental reasons. A little while later Phil comes onto my instagram account with a picture of Ray Wood next to said chopper. My alarm bells ring that Phil was out to discredit good environmental movements I’ve been involved with and after wasting 30 minutes of time engaging in a willy waving about who had the smallest carbon footprint I left with a feeling of high dislike. This smug self-righteous sniper was also involved in another small spat on UKClimbing still talking about the chopper and what I found most remarkable was that one of the dick weasels on the forum thought I should have been polite when they came across as a bunch of jealous wankers noshing on a weakly evidenced narrative. I certainly wasn’t keen on taking one for the team of ‘pro-climbers’ just because the likes of Hazel and Leo were a pair of carbon criminals.
I find it remarkable that many parents can’t be bothered to look into climate change and try to do something about it, it seems morally bankrupt (a rich statement from me you might say), so many friends are just pretty much ignoring it, pissing off on some skiing holiday or other, when in 20/30 years their children will have a much reduced quality of life if indeed things don’t get really screwed by then. But why not let the XR ‘plant pots’ and the kids do all the work and just you just carry on business as usual.
Some new routes I’ve had names lined up for already. That Nesscliff project I’d almost done when rebuilding my body from the raves and my wrist from the deckout. I was going to call it The Endarkenment before Ste (the greedy shit) Mac took it upon himself to do it because it had good gear and was much like a sport pitch missing a couple of bolts. As it turned out the slate quarries came up with the goods again with the groove systems left of Serpent Vein giving some bizarre and exposed climbing. The name is from a David Mitchell book, The Bone Clocks, looking at a dystopian future in the 2030s where science and facts are sneered upon. It catches the mood of the current times we are going through, where people take bollox as fact on a daily basis.
After a summer of being pretty unmotivated a new line on the slate got my keenness up again, a rockfall high in lost world had left a large, sheer diamond face and on an August evening with Lewis Perrin it was the best I’d climbed for months and it was one of the best technical face climbs I’d done in the UK. We named it The Fight Back after Carole Cadwalladr’s crowdfunding campaign to take on Aaron Banks who is suing her for her journalism into his Vote Leave skulduggery.
The last new route was unexpected. I had a week off work and was meant to be on Lewis (sron ulladale) with Angus but he blew me out for some girl, this was probably for best as its true what many people say about him. This led to a trip to Pembroke with Ferdia and after a few esoteric routes we climbed a stunning new one up the outside of Huntsmans Leap. This starts up an easy corner 8 metres right of Star Wars before pulling straight over the roof, up a burly steep face above to arrive at the exposed and thankfully easier arête leading up to Star Wars for the last 2 metres.
So there you have some recent new routes and the links to what was thought about: Extinction Rebellion, The Endarkenment, The Fight Back, The Great Hack and Fuck the Demagogues. The fight Back and The Great hack have environmental links because they are against the Far right and for whatever reasons they have, the far right are willing to fuck planet earth completely in the next decade or two. With Trump making sure a generation of kids aren’t even taught about it being a threat.
I was doing some chores in Bangor a couple of days later when 2 Tory campaigners were there touting their wares and dishing Labour for something or other (giving prisoners the vote mabe?). With a poster of Boris Johnson smiling behind him, a smartly dressed man in his 40s starts talking at me about Labour. After asking him quietly about having permission to be there a few seconds later I flipped out and went nuts at them both. On austerity and how it had effected some people near to me on a very personal level, on foodbanks, on brexit and how it was screwing the UK , on Boris’ and his rotten cabinet’s constant lies and waste. I remember seeing Adam Wilde flip out at someone in the mid 1990s in Keswick and people looked away, cringing. I could feel people around doing the same as I lay into these people who for me were campaigning for utter inhuman scum. I eventually gained my self control and a nice old guy with a beard who was selling the big issue asked if I was alright.
I did feel alright. I was never going to be a Buddhist as they teach to do no harm whereas I sometimes took delight in inflicting it, warming my back to my woodburner, sipping wine with a warm smile (for instance when I learned Rab had actually had a team meeting about my special blog- so deserving). No, for all my mid-life crisis, anger and darkness I still felt I was alright.
The right wingers who have climate change denying bastards like Nigel Lawson, Farage and Trump on their side aren’t alright. Mr and Mrs perfect who are ignoring climate change and taking their children on transatlantic holidays at the expense of their kids and grandkids futures aren’t alright. The shitfaces that are spreading fake news and tapping into peoples’ fears and dividing people aren’t alright. The gormless cretins who listen to the demagogues and supported them by doing or not doing something aren’t alright.
If you are doing something to try to make the world a better place you are alright. If you are just a nice person existing in the world, doing your thing while your lazy apathy allows the worst cretins in the world to take over, well fuck you, you pricks. Get involved.
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