Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Two posts in one day can only mean one thing - two important things on one day. Today is Blog Action Day, on which bloggers across the world write about one issue. As the website says: One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.
So, what should I say about the environment? Well, I can't say anything profound that hasn't been said better by someone else somewhere else. But it so happens that today I spent almost 4 hours in meetings related to the Stockton Council Environment Select Committee. We weren't discussing global warming or saving the polar ice caps or anything huge like that. We were discussing the management of cemeteries in the Borough, and more precisely the management of the memorials within those cemeteries. So what's that to do with the environment you may ask? Well, not all memorials are the traditional stone headstone type - some are plastic flowers, or windmills or solar lights or conifer trees or miniature fencing or almost anything else. When these items are on the graves the grass cutting becomes very difficult and then other people's graves can suffer because they look untidy and ill kept. So the problem of how to allow people to erect memorials to their loved ones' memories but at the same time keep a pleasant environment for all to go and remember in peace and relative comfort is a difficult one to solve. Add to that the desire to make the cemetery a pleasant and peaceful place to visit, the need to use land as efficiently as possible but not to make people feel that there's no space, even when there isn't very much, and we have a big problem which is not easy to resolve. Should the environment of our cemeteries be uniform, with neat rows of headstones and nothing else? Should there be a free for all with anything allowed? Or should there be something in the middle, probably pleasing no-one fully?
After almost 4 hours of discussions we have some proposals to put to the cabinet member and corporate director on Wednesday, and if they approve then to publicise and hope that all councillors will give support.
So, not the environment on the grand scale but an environment nevertheless, and an important one for many, many people.

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