“Why Are We Waving?”
- – an “In My View “ article by NIGEL WARD, responding to what seems like a million questions about the “Reclaim Our Sea” movement and why it looks to be picking up steam.
In the broadest possible brushstrokes, a war of wills has broken out between, on the one hand, members of coastal communities in the North East who have been witnessing first-hand the almost apocalyptic decimation of crustaceans, fish and seabirds, alleged (by the government) to be a consequence of naturally occurring ‘algal blooms’.
And, on the other hand, big business (assisted by ‘government’ – as personified by Tees Valley Mayor Ben HOUCHEN), determined to ‘revitalise’ the Tees catchment area by dredging the estuary to create deep-water berthing for mega-ships drawn to a Freeport, with all its ancilliary industrial opportunities and promises of future prosperity – even at the risk of releasing highly toxic pyridine or other contaminants presently ‘sealed’ under decades of sediment.
Previous articles offer more detail:
On the face of it, big business holds all the cards; state commitment, heavy investors, the glittering promise of profits and opportunity.
Against this formidable array, the campaigners have independent scientific studies – and People Power.
This ‘must see’ Ch.4 report sets out the scale of the confrontation:
On Sunday 2nd October 2022, shorelines and riverbanks at forty-four locations (from the North East to the Bristol Channel and from the Orkneys to Guernsey) drew crowds of peaceful protesters bound by the common aim of setting a higher value on the wellbeing of the sea than on corporate profit dressed up as ‘trickle-down’ prosperity.
On a personal note, let me declare my position: I am no tree-hugger. I am no conspiracy theorist; I am a realist. I grew up on this coast. It defines my childhood. I learned to swim in the North Sea; and to dive. For over seventy years, I have walked with many dogs along many miles of these shores; and ridden many horses. I live in Whitby. I will die in Whitby. By the sea.
That is why I support the “Reclaim Our Sea” campaign. I am very far from alone:
Even at sea level, it is clear who holds the moral high ground.
So, why are we waving?
We are waving because we believe our environment is quite literally vital – alive – certainly far more so than material gain or self-aggrandisement.
We are waving because the sea defines our habitat. We are an island people; the sea is sacrosanct.
We are waving because all life is one life.
We are waving because, though we would welcome a vibrant economic future for the people of Teesside, we insist on it being achieved safely and humanely.
If it is not “financially viable” to dredge out deep-water berths in the estuary without contaminating the sea and the coastline, Mayor HOUCHEN, then you have chosen the wrong location.
Build your dream where it is safe to do so. Plan a different route to your knighthood or peerage.
This was the second wave.
Did you ever hear anything about the seventh?
They will be hearing all about it in Westminster.
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