More than 1,000 schools should be fitted with air filter systems to protect children’s bodies and minds from toxic traffic fumes, MPs say.
And schools, hospitals and care homes should no longer be built near busy roads because of our terrible air pollution, they warn.
The Government has been repeatedly criticised for failing to deal with harmful chemicals in the air that kill an estimated 29,000 people a year.
I can vaguely understand why we might want to protect children’s bodies from traffic fumes. But what’s this about protecting their minds? Is it to protect them from the idea of vehicles with wheels at each corner, and an engine on top?
I’ve long since come to the conclusion that, if contemporary enviro-loonies had been around in the 18th century, Britain’s Industrial Revolution would simply never have happened.
There would have been no coal mining permitted, of course (noisy, polluting, ugly, dangerous). Or any other mining either (noisy, polluting, ugly, dangerous). Nor would there have been any steam engines (noisy, polluting, ugly, dangerous). Nor canals (ugly, dangerous, and disturbing the natural aquatic order). Nor turnpikes (ugly, polluting, noisy, dangerous). Nor factories (ugly, noisy, polluting prisons).
The industrial revolution would have been strangled at birth. Britain would have remained a largely agricultural society, with dirt roads leading from village to village, in which poverty and disease wracked their stunted populations.
It’s only now, when they have secured for themselves the innumerable benefits of industrialisation, and the world’s industrial hubs are now to be found in China or India, that our modern environmentalists have set out to strangle it on its deathbed.
And what they hate, above all, is industry – as Bishop Hill has just observed:
The tactics of the less reputable members of the environmental fraternity has long been to prevent any sort of industrial activity by making the cost of policing their protests so high as to wear public opinion into submission. One has to say that this approach has not been entirely unsuccessful.
For that is indeed what they want to stop: any sort of industrial activity. And as Britain has slipped into a post-industrial era, they want to hasten its return to a “green and pleasant land”, populated by windmills and solar panels and bicyclists.
Because, for them, industry simply means noise, pollution, ugliness, and danger. It is all costs, zero benefits. It is more or less as if the pig iron converters pioneered by Sir Henry Bessemer (1813-1898) did not produce steel, but merely smoke, steam, noise, and heat – and nothing else whatsoever. And that Sir Henry had set out to inflict his infernal machines upon the world with the deliberate intention of making life worse for everyone (and in particular for those unfortunates who worked his machines), rather than better for everyone.
In a time when Britain’s culture (smoky, beery pubs) is under ferocious attack, and its Christian religion as well, its industrial heritage – and of course its imperial heritage – are under ferocious attack as well, from a new army of machine-breaking Luddites. But while the old Luddites were in competition with the early machines, the new Luddites just hate machines.
They hate iron. They hate steel. They hate plastic. They hate coal. They hate oil. They hate gas. They hate cars. They hate roads. They hate railways. They hate airplanes. They hate rockets. They hate ships. They hate smoke. They hate carbon dioxide. They hate chemicals. They hate everything that was introduced after about 1500 AD. They hate the entire modern world.
And it was exactly this sort of hatred for modern industrial society, combined with a nostalgia for forests and woodlands, that underpinned Nazism. It was a profound rejection of science and reason in favour superstition and mysticism. It was a yearning for a former, simpler order of things. No wonder they’re often called eco-Nazis.
But there’s no going back. The course of history cannot be reversed or retraced. Because the industrial revolution didn’t really begin in Britain in the 18th century. It began many millennia earlier, when the first metallurgists learnt to smelt first gold and silver, and then copper and iron.
In fact, it could be said to have begun hundreds of millennia earlier still, when men first made fire and built huts, and women first wove garments and cooked food.
We are inseparable from our technologies. We could never have survived without them.