Technology gives, technology takes away

I am very struck this week by the way technology blesses and curses.  I had barely finished reading a Guardian report on a new household battery being developed in London which will enable people to store up to 4 KwH of energy from their wind or solar systems when on came the Today Programme.    The Today Programme is itself something of a blessing and a curse.   In our house, it was a curse a few years ago when New Labour were populated by strongly-accented Scotsmen, such as John Reid, being interviewed by James Naughtie.   I know it is a pathetic personal failing  of mine, but I needed aural subtitles.

More often the Today Programme is a blessing, bringing sharp analysis with news and insghts.  So it was yesterday, Thursday 9 July when the excellent Welsh journalist reported from the Brazilian Amazon.   His report was tough: the illegal loggers of Brazil are rampant and its government reckons that 80 percent of the logging in some areas of the Matto Grosso are illegally logged.   Wyre Davies flew over the rainforest with the anti-logging police, who have to brave gunfire from the loggers on the ground.

The worst aspect of his report was the news that loggers now use a new method to get their trees.  Chainsaws are out of date.  Today the criminal loggers use a very heavy cutting chain attached to a big tractor at each end.  The chain is dragged through the forest felling everything in its path.  In this way, huge swathes can be toppled in a short time.

This development underlines the importance of rainforest protection  run by Cool Earth and the Forest Peoples Programme, which are supported by the Size of Herefordshire.   And when one adds in the knowledge that the Peruvian rainforest, where we are sending our donations, contains more carbon at seven billion tonnes than an entire year of C02 emissions from the US, one can see how vital are campaigns such as ours.