Thursday, 10 February 2011


Hairbrush in hand, I stride into my “live lounge”set and belt out Aretha Franklin's hit single. The empty furniture my captured audience. My vocals drowning out creaks of protest. What is this rendition in aid of? I'll let the lyrics do the talking: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me...”

Respect: treat or regard with deference, esteem, or honour; treat with consideration. A word liberally applied to our relations with people. “Respect your elders” a common phrase – one we've no doubt all heard in our youth. Wisdom contained in a single noun, but is this usage it's only significance? Respect communicates different meanings depending on its context, and for me it's a word of cautionary advice. To explain my position however, I have to wade into the tempestuous, and often political, climate debate. With brand new wellies on, let the wading commence...

BBC4 Storyville: Meet The Climate Sceptics the inspiration for this piece. A documentary exploring how the voice of science is undermined by sceptics. Those unwilling to accept their contribution to emerging global concerns. Responsibility, or lack of, a common theme to all societal ills. Hostility between the two camps – Believers and Sceptics, spreading like BP's oil spill into every facet of daily life. The Sceptics convinced there's a hidden government agenda, while the Believers try to quell the distrust. An argument over modern comforts vs environmental evidence. Each buying into their own version of the truth. Who is to be believed? Al Gore declared “The truth is out there”, but are we any closer to it?

The truth is there, but it's a subjective reality. Neither camp alleviating my anxiety – this disconnection to the place we call “home”. I don't care for global warming politics nor the facts and figures. The eyes do not deceive. A planet plainly in distress – heatwaves, floods, severe cold and drought, just a few of the extremes. The devastating effects played out for all the world to see. Hell on earth unleashed by our disrespect and greed. Respect, surely now our number one priority.

My choice made by reminders of childish fun and innocence. Games of make-believe. The rain dance a favourite activity. Whooping and dancing to the beat of my own drum – a native call for rain to fall. My faith in nature affirmed by a single drop. Respecting the earth a primal urge. I worship the ground I walk on – paying homage to Mother Earth. My truth summed up out of RESPECT: Reducing Emissions Saves Planet Earth Creating Threats. Far better to take action in my view, than do nothing at all.

Position verified, my singing can resume. This last line of advice my gift to you: Give “A little respect (just a little bit)”, before there's no song left in the land.