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  1. Politics
2 March 2007

Sacred sites and dietary dilemmas

The best way to start a revolution is by leading the way

By Marina Pepper

Dear Marina

The ancient landscape of the Hill of Tara is set to have a motorway built through it. Once home to the Kings of Ireland and the setting for many of our Celtic myths and stories, I am horrified that a bunch of men, who will make loads of money out of it, could do this. What can we do to stop them?
Brendan D, Dublin

The ancient Hill of Tara has just been nominated for inclusion on a list of the world’s 100 most endangered heritage sites. Does that give it protection? No. Is it merely a statement of the obvious? Yes. By the time many of you read this, demonstrations outside Irish Embassies against the M3 interchange and toll road will have been and gone. So why not organise more? Contact for ways of helping the campaign. Or get everyone to sign a petition – such an of-the-moment no-sweat form of protest that doesn’t do much but hey –

Camp 1 is up and running – I guess that means the contractors will have to drag out the protestors which drags out the process. And you never know. Before the tarmac goes down, or the last tree is felled someone in authority might notice that building another road into Dublin will not ease the traffic, nor Ireland’s carbon emissions (up 25 percent on 1997 levels), nor endear it to a global population of Irish and their descendents who have an emotional attachment to this hill, beyond logic or understanding. I guess it’s a spiritual thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I (with my Mayo roots and a soft spot for Celtic mythology) am happy to lie down in front of the bulldozers for this one. See you there.

Dear Marina

My nine-year-old son weighs 14 stone. I’m worried he’ll be taken into care. But what can I do? He hated vegetables as a baby. I can’t force him to eat a healthy diet.
H. Bunn, Pontefract

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Let him go dear. Care isn’t half as bad as it used to be. And he couldn’t receive worse treatment than he gets from you. Honestly, if your son was a dog the RSPCA would have confiscated him years ago.

Dear Marina

In America on 14 April I hear rallies and vigils will be held across the states demanding Congress reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. It’s being hailed as the birth of a movement. I hear the revolution is supposed to be on here, too. But I can’t detect much revolting in my street. What do you think?
D. Burns, Harrogate

That’s the thing with revolutions – you don’t want to be waiting for your neighbours. Take the lead my friend. As the American Step It up 2007 campaign, as it’s called, states quite clearly: switching to energy efficient light bulbs isn’t enough. Although it’s a start.

I do have to admit I lie awake at night, inspired by those who contact me, worrying that the situation is hopeless and wondering why we shouldn’t all give up. But that’s anarchy. And I’m through with anarchy (yes, I’ve sacked my hitherto favourite axe-wielding anarchist bed warmer – for failing to be serious enough about climate change. The situation is vacant. Applicants should include a resume of climate change action and a photo).

Street parties on April 14 here in the UK could be a good way of getting to know your neighbours so you can begin to discuss what your street can do to make a difference.

Voting in the local elections would be good too. And I don’t mean voting for dreams or even traditional values (whatever they are – sending children up chimneys? Keeping serfs?). Ask each candidate not only what their party stands for, but what they personally are doing and what they genuinely have planned for their communities, should they win. This is no time for a greenwash. Vote for the people who will make a difference.

If you need help organising the street party I’m sure the candidates would come forward to butter the bread etc. Don’t forget the food should be fresh, local and organic where possible and you should use real plates and cups, NOT polystyrene.

Your local council and police can advise on road closures.

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