The sixteenth book ‘Into The Sunlight’ is a little behind schedule. It didn’t take long to get the A+ content I mentioned last time agreed and posted, but we’ve had people working inside and outside the house which didn’t help the creative juices to flow.

This newsletter is a week earlier than planned because my long-awaited eye operation is imminent. My writing shouldn’t be curtailed for more than three or four days, so there’s still a chance of hitting my deadline of the end of October.

A chance remark a few days ago triggered a memory, and I thought I’d share the story with you:

A frequent topic of conversation these days is climate change. Someone I worked with forty years ago explained why reducing, let alone eliminating, the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere was nigh on impossible.

An engineer who worked at the same tyre company I did, went to the Middle East in the late 70s. His task was to identify possible locations for a new factory. When he visited Dammam in Saudi Arabia, he was taken by a UK trade delegate, in a Land Rover, from the seaport to the Shell oil refinery. The company had improved transport links for the eight-mile journey by building a two-lane highway.

The road was far busier than the engineer had imagined. As well as the occasional tanker, he spotted all manner of luxury foreign cars – Ford Mustang, Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, and Rolls Royce. The delegate explained these belonged to local sheikhs and princes; things had changed since the oil crisis in 1973. That sixteen-mile round trip was the only decent road surface on the Arabian Peninsula at that time, and the Saudis were determined to use it.  The engineer wondered why they bothered with such a short trip, and the delegate told him something perhaps he should have shared with a wider audience.

“We live in the Old World and have been through our Industrial Revolution phase, plus its resultant social and economic changes. Most of the New World has negotiated the same process, although some areas haven’t progressed at the same rate and still must catch up. What do you think the so-called Third World nations will do? Sit back and accept they don’t get a chance to develop in the same way? What we can see on this stretch of black tarmac is just the beginning. China and India have hardly taken their first steps yet. The Africans too, will join those huge nations in wanting new roads and motorways for the cars they aspire to own. Every individual in Asia will dream of owning a television, washing machine and refrigerator like you, too.”

That was 1979. The trade delegate might have been on the money with the priorities of the decade. However, the full impact of the mighty micro was just around the corner, and things have moved faster in the past forty years than at any time in world history.

I’m no politician. I don’t envy them the task of agreeing effective reductions while seventy-five per cent of the world’s population is still waiting to enjoy their time in the sun.

I can’t stand still for long. Here’s another Box Set to keep someone happy until #16 arrives.

I’ll be back with an update in the second week of November.

Take care. Keep reading. Best wishes Ted Tayler

Categories: The Long Hard Road