JILL Stephenson’s dismal view of the future (Letters, November 16) reveals a good grasp of history, but little understanding of economics.

She remembers, as I do, your mother (almost always) going to "do the messages" at the local shops, but that was to some extent a matter of lack of technological development as food, once bought, could not be kept fresh for long. The domestic refrigerator changed that, and the freezer put it out of mind.

But reminiscences of this kind – children wearing hand-me-downs, home knitting, coal fires and the like – depended on a lack of supply possibilities and financial demand, following a world war, that we don’t suffer from. There was also a lack of market freedom that many will scarcely remember. In 1964 television (if you had one) was BBC1 and STV, with Workers’ Playtime still on the radio. CBBC was Children’s Hour. People will not easily be taken back to those relatively regimented times, but then the resources – many of them technical (remember 405 lines?) – were just not available then but are now.

The key fact is that addressing global warming doesn’t have to make us poorer, but does involve changes of varying degrees of significance. “The circular economy” will involve “recycling, reusing”, but while we do that already, we just don’t do it very well. Certainly not as well as the Swiss where you can be fined for putting the wrong thing in the wrong bin. It also means what has been collected must be reprocessed, but properly sorted prior to collection. That is a business opportunity for the councils (doing the collecting) as well as the processors (being able to process to a form that industry can reuse).

In the same way, is a focus on public transport a bad thing? I was surprised and not a little shocked to learn at the weekend that the cost of a return between Edinburgh and Glasgow makes it worthwhile to take the car instead, which is simply indefensible. We need politicians who will have the courage to make transport free, and more accessible, not just for the elderly and the young, but for us all.

An environmentally friendly lifestyle does not have to mean poorer (though I am sure we can manage that), just different.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

* JILL Stephenson has just missed the excellent video installation in the National Museum of Scotland, If Not Now, When?. Produced in collaboration with Bruntsfield Primary pupils, it shows the change they would like to see in their capital city. With a focus on the centre, they want to see traffic removed, and a pedestrianised area allowed to bloom.

Ms Stephenson gives the young no credit for their appreciation that climate change may destroy their lives. It is the young, without financial skin in the game, who are driving the agenda towards neighbourhoods where walking and cycling are safe and pollution, another killer of children, is curbed. "Twenty-minute neighbourhoods" actually give people without cars the right to reach shops, libraries, sports facilities and city-wide transport within 10 minutes. They give them the right to affordable homes within a mix of housing suitable for different life stages. It is liberation, not austerity.

Frances Scott, Edinburgh.


I AGREE with Malcolm Parkin (Letters, November 16) that two subjects conspicuous by their absence at COP26 were nuclear power and population. I’ve argued for years that the UK should build another generation of nuclear reactors. We were once world leaders in the technology, now we turn to France and China for the expertise.

Granted, the current technology, reliant on splitting uranium atoms, produces radioactive waste; but that can be treated and safely stored. The great hope when I was a student 45 years ago was that nuclear fusion, pushing atoms of heavy water together, would produce electricity without the waste problem, but that technology is still some way over the horizon.

We need clean electricity, lots of it. Only nuclear can provide it reliably and without churning out vast amounts of carbon dioxide. There are no perfect, easy solutions to the climate crisis, and any that are viable need nuclear for base load.

I don’t like Mr Parkin’s phrase “population control”, which smacks of authoritarian government. I do agree that we should try to limit population growth, and the best way of doing that is by assisting economic development in the less developed nations of the world. It’s ironic that poor people often have many children, but it makes sense: with high infant mortality and the need to have someone to support you in your old age, of course you’d want a large family.

All the evidence shows that as societies become wealthier, the birth rate falls. We see it in the UK and Japan; even China, which did impose population control, now recognises that its growing prosperity has driven down the birth rate, so the policy has been relaxed. Economic development would also mean fewer desperate people making the dangerous journey to our borders, seeking a better life.

We should be assisting economic development both because it’s the right thing to do and because it actually benefits us, too. Which is why I still can’t understand why the UK Government slashed our overseas aid budget, thus ensuring slower economic development and more desperate migrants arriving at our shores.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


I WAS sorry to read today that the launch of the UK 's first bottle and can deposit return scheme is to be delayed again ("Warning on delay to deposit scheme", The Herald, November 16). What is the hold-up?

Our roadside verges and pavements would soon be cleared if there were a financial incentive to refrain from dropping cans and bottles, or launching them from car windows. I could supplement my pension (I pick up litter every time I go out walking), young people could get some much-needed pocket money. Other countries have been operating such schemes for years.

Given the high profile given to Irn-Bru at COP26, I hope the purveyor of this national drink is fully supportive of the deposit scheme and pushing for it to happen before the end of 2023.

Gwen Irving, Cardross.


TODAY I saw an advert on Itison Glasgow and was appalled by it. A company in Glasgow has opened a "Rage Room" and is offering people the chance to use a sledgehammer to smash up items such as keyboards, laptops, printers and DVD players.

Our city has just hosted COP26 where strenuous efforts were made to achieve and agree shared standards of eco behaviour that would help save our planet.

I am appalled that this company thinks it is appropriate to offer opportunities to destroy items, many of whose component parts could and should be recycled. No doubt there will be those who opt to partake in this twisted version of "fun", uncaring or ignorant of its impact.

I read recently that a number of small changes in the behaviour of individuals could decrease the effects of global warming. It is my sincere hope that this company rethinks this offer.

Morag S Waddell, Airdrie.


AT the risk of causing shock and horror to regular readers I must put in a word in defence of a Tory government. Mary McCabe (Letters, November 15) lays all the blame for the Beeching rail closures on the Tories, who certainly sowed the seeds of the episode. Wilson's Labour government were in office from 1964 to 1970 and could have stopped most of the cuts but made no attempt to do so. They were equally enthralled by the new world in which motor cars and motorways were to reign supreme with railways consigned to the dustbin of history.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


IT astonishes me that the primary issue for the BBC News should be the racism culture in Yorkshire cricket. The issue appears to be pigment rather than location. The racist remarks were not about the victims being Lancastrians (which would have been acceptable) but about their pigmentation.

With my surname I am well used to racist abuse with my surname used pejoratively either as an adjective or a noun. I have, quite reasonably in my view, been refused accommodation in Glencoe. I have been refused accommodation in London because I was Scotch. Prejudice comes in very many forms and is universally unthinking. The thoughtless shout on the sporting field can be desperately wounding. I know, I have not been forgiven for something I shouted at an incompetent wee Welsh...

But for the issue of what English team-mates said to one another years ago during the heat of a game to be a dominant theme for our state-controlled national broadcaster at a time of international crisis when we are led by a buffoon who cannot tell his west from his east and a Home Secretary bereft of humanitarian values simply emphasises the degradation to which this purported United Kingdom has sunk.

KM Campbell, Doune.

Read more: The young are going to learn what real austerity is