Monthly Archives: June 2017

“I urge you all to work together – an appeal for the voiceless”

This document was submitted verbally and in writing on to the Public Inquiry, 31st May – 21st June, set up by the Government into the proposal to create a new opencast coal mine at Highthorn, Northumberland. It was a contribution to the ‘Save Druridge’ campaign.

“I urge you all to work together – an appeal for the voiceless”

Submission to Public Inquiry into proposed surface mine at Highthorn, May/June 2017

David W. Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL

More than a decade ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged us all “to work together to find sustainable solutions to avert a catastrophe that will exacerbate human suffering to a magnitude that perhaps the world has not yet seen.” The ‘catastrophe’ to which we was referring was that threatened by climate change…

Archbishop Tutu referred to ‘human suffering’, and rarely has the suffering of the world’s poor been more strikingly portrayed than by the image of Tamirat Abayie and his daughter Zewdie, in the year 2000.

“Zewdie Abayie’s eyes were swollen shut through malnutrition and her delicate skin was no longer able to mask the skeleton beneath. Brushing away flies from her face with a small twig, the little girl stood quietly as, in 2000, her father explained how three years of crop failure in Ethiopia had left his family facing starvation. Pitiably, she attempted a smile for the cameraman.” (Adapted from text by Keith Ewing; image, courtesy Jim Loring, Tearfund)

Zewdie Abayie attempts a smile for the cameraman

[I interrupted my formal verbal presentation at this point and turning first to the Inspector and then to the representatives of Banks Mining and the County Council, said, “I hope that you, Sir, and all the parties to this Inquiry, will forgive me if I ask you to look carefully at the image of this poor little girl and ponder upon it well in the future, as I have done ever since I first saw it”.]

I am aware that concern for human suffering is not been restricted to faith leaders such as Archbishop Tutu and our aid agencies. However, it came like a bolt from the blue when, after I retired from my salaried academic post at the end of 2005, I read the text of a letter from Lord Robert May, then President of the Royal Society, Britain’s National Academy of Sciences, to the G8 leaders, which stated that… to continue, click here.

Posted in What's on | Comments Off on “I urge you all to work together – an appeal for the voiceless”