Group therapy

Newsgroups have revived the art of storytelling. Perhaps I am going a little over the top because many of the long postings you see around the newsgroups - when is someone going to come up with a better title? - are a long way off being the literary masterpieces the term implies. But these vast virtual forums provide a wonderful medium for people to tell stories which in most cases would never find their way into print, and so would otherwise only be shared with a few friends in the pub.

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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine