Monday 10 February 1997
Against this background, I was not surprised, while scanning the green forums, to come across a story on alt.save.the.earth about "an unprecedented invasion of brown rats" at a campsite on the coast of Brittany.
"The numbers were considerable. Young and old, they were into the tents, around the washing and toilet areas, leaving their droppings like calling cards and eating our food; eight joined us one evening for dinner."
And this Brittany rat plague had human causes, according to the writer. The campsite is adjacent to an area of outstanding natural beauty where the writer and his wife have camped for the past 20 years without so much as a squeak from a mouse. But growing numbers of visitors have caused considerable damage to the beauty spot. This, coupled with an ill-judged decision to upgrade the campsite, has effectively destroyed the area. Vegetation has been cleared and concrete and asphalt laid down in its place. "The old campsite was rich in wild flowers, in both numbers and variety, mosses, butterflies - all now gone."
One consequence "is that the site now floods quite badly, the natural drainage having been seriously disturbed." This has created perfect conditions for rats, who have gradually pushed out the other wildlife. No longer does the writer and his wife hear the sound of birds, and even the snakes have disappeared.
Meanwhile, across the pond, in alt.politics.greens, an American environmentalist was asking: "Is Toxic Waste Aging Your Body?" Apparently, there are more than 1,300 toxic waste sites across the US and concerns are growing that they may be contaminating water supplies. "How many children will be born deformed? How many will die of leukaemia? And how how many lines will be added to your face as free radicals in your drinking water age your body?" But he rather let his case down with his evidence. All he could offer was a Washington Post report on children finding deformed frogs during a school field trip.
More convincing was a call from Bob, a West Coast campaigner, for support in protecting North America's old- growth redwood forest. He claims that one of the big US timber concerns has its chainsaws primed to take out much of the 60,000-acre Headwaters Forest Complex. "Take a stand for the Headwaters by wearing green and speaking out," he urged.
Life & Style blogs
Twitter not working: Social network says problem with tweets not showing is fixed
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Facebook attacked over dead relative photos in 'Year in Review' slides
Grim second life of the 'breastaurant': The oft-loathed sector is booming in the States thanks to Hooters, Twin Peaks and Tilted Kilt
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Doctors remove 80 teeth from boy's jaw
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...