Why is this destruction still going on?

Reading Vicky Allan's report on dredging and trawling our seabeds for scallops (Herald on Sunday, September 29), I was reminded of humankind's actions in the Amazon rainforest. We are doing our best to destroy the rainforest to the extent that we are presently experiencing forest fires which we cannot extinguish.

We are never going to be happy until big business has caused the extinction of every source of food known to humankind. What are we going to do then? Eat dollar bills, pound notes, gold bars?

Greta Thunberg says in her speech to the UN "All you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth". It is reminiscent of the Daleks – Exterminate! Exterminate!

But, we can't argue with Elspeth Macdonald, of the Scottish Fisheries Federation, who says: "This is an important industry with many jobs attached ... there is room for both types of fishing."

I would argue that there is NOT room for dredging. But who am I to argue since I am vegetarian, and won't eat fish because it's contaminated with plastic and other chemicals.?

Margaret Forbes


In recent letters, Clark Cross challenges the legitimacy of climate change projections by falsely claiming the science is not clear. His argument is that the current situation is no different than earlier and sometimes conflicting predictions. That is factually incorrect. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the climate is warming: nine of the 10 hottest summers on record have been since 2005, the Arctic ice is now at its lowest levels ever recorded, and the current rate of species extinction is elevated by 1000 to 10000 times, representing a staggering and irrevocable loss of millions of years of biodiversity.

As a natural and environmental scientist with experience in the academic and government sectors, I can assure readers that in the past 30 years of evidence across the globe, the scientific consensus on climate change is effectively unanimous and crosses many disciplines.

As a matter of opinion, Cross says it is abusive to have children active and informed about climate change. I would counter that it is child abuse to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence that we need to reduce carbon emissions, which are stealing the future wellbeing of children, plants, and animals of this planet.

We should all have eco-anxiety, and we need to turn that to action to change business as usual. Pretending the science is not clear is unhelpful, to say the least.

Dr Kathryn Elmer


Lost amid the sound and fury of Greta Thunberg's rant at the UN Global Climate Summit were 500 international scientists sending a very different message: “There is no climate emergency.”

The European Climate Declaration described today's climate models as “wholly inadequate” and urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to pursue a climate policy based on “sound science”.

The sheer number of international heavyweights such as Richard Lindzen, Freeman Dyson and Elliott Bloom belie the fatuous contention that only 3% oppose the climate-catastrophe “consensus”.

They argue: “Current climate policies pointlessly undermine the economic system, inhibit the fight against poverty and put lives at risk in nations denied access to affordable, reliable electrical energy.”

Dr John Cameron

St Andrews

A debate on Catholic education

I must admit that I am somewhat bemused by the declaration by Archie McPherson that Scotland needs an "open and bold debate" about the existence of Catholic schools in the context of sectarianism (Herald on Sunday, September 29).

Where has he been these last eight decades? Having served in a number of these schools myself, I can confirm that every single one of them promotes values that are based upon the two great Christian commandments to love God and to love one’s neighbour as oneself. Catholic schools are fundamentally anti-sectarian.

More to the point, Archie must surely be aware that studies over the years into the role of Catholic schools in contributing to sectarianism have invariably failed to produce any evidence to support such a claim. Indeed, as a former primary school head teacher, Archie is perfectly well aware that sectarianism in Scotland is rooted in the anti-Catholicism of the Protestant Reformation.

Catholic schools came into existence for the pure and simple purpose of promoting the Catholic faith and, in an increasingly secular society, are needed more than ever.

No doubt there are those individuals who fail to live up to the challenging ideals of Catholicism from time to time. But abuse of the Catholic faith by individuals should never be confused with Catholicism, any more than sectarianism – prejudiced and totally unwarranted attacks on those who subscribe to faiths that deviate in their beliefs, customs and practices from the main faith in a country – should be confused with Protestantism.

Last time I looked, Protestantism in its purest form also promoted love of God and love of one’s neighbour.

I can only assume that Archie is seeking ways of promoting sales of his new book by roasting old chestnuts.

Richard Lynas


Paul Hutcheon’s article about Archie MacPherson’s call for a debate on Catholic schools (News, September 29) misses the obvious point. None of the mainstream political parties across the UK will become involved. There are certainly no votes in it and it could actually cost them votes. When questioned, they will all comment on the valuable contribution made to society by Catholic schools – without going into detail.

Spokespersons for the Catholic Church claim sectarianism does not have its roots in Catholic schools. They are correct. However, sending a child to a different school from their friends because they belong to different sects is sectarian and helps to create an environment in which sectarianism can flourish.

One spokesperson claims it is a human right to have children educated in accordance with their religious beliefs. Does this mean we expect the state to fund Jewish schools, Muslim schools, Hindu schools, Mormon schools, Seventh Day Adventist schools etc?

If the politicians won’t willingly get involved, perhaps we need to force them.

Perhaps I should add that I am a church attending Christian. However, my faith has everything to do with upbringing and personal experience and nothing at all to do with anything I was taught at school.

Douglas Morton


The wrong note on Brexit debate

I look forward to reading Iain Macwhirter's column each Sunday, but feel that he has hit the wrong note this week (September 29) in respect of the diabolical behaviour displayed during last Wednesday's Parliamentary debate. There is no doubt that Mr Johnson arrived at Westminster smarting acutely from being called out by the Supreme Court which found him to have acted unlawfully in his prorogation of Parliament.

From his first responses Mr Johnson was intemperate. I believe the MP Paula Sherriff, a friend of Jo Cox, was correct in her attempt to ask the Prime Minister to desist in his use of "rebarbative, wartime rhetoric" (Iain's own description).

There was no place for Mr Johnson's deliberate use of the words Surrender, Traitors or Betraying during this debate. As for the Speaker, while Mr Bercow did interject from time to time during the acrimonious proceedings, my feeling was that overall he was rather enjoying the melee, and was gleeful in his attitude rather than making any serious attempt to quell the Prime Minister's outbursts in particular.

Eileen Michael


Name games

Alan Rogerson need not despair (Letters, September 29). If the name change he suggests is not effective, there are other, easily recognisable ones linked to the letter-writing in support of “Scotland in Union”, such as Martin Redfern, Dr Gerald Edwards, et al, always with the single agenda of hatred of Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and independence, without ever giving any indication of the benefits of the Union.

He might like to consider, however, before he changes his name, just how ineffective and, in reality, tiresome and even sometimes laughable these efforts become over time.

L. McGregor,


The right priorities?

Last week the daily confrontation of Royal Navy Warships by Iranian forces in the Strait Of Hormuz continued with the shipping lane a tinder box.Time and time again the Royal Navy has been at "Action Stations", the highest state of readiness.

At the same time, the millionairess Duchess of Sussex was telling desperately deprived women in a South African township that "she was their sister", as she advised them, helpfully, on female empowerment and self awareness.

We have long presumed that the main criterion for selecting news items on London based National(sic) News is "what is of most interest to London and the Home Counties"?This was,frankly, no contest when it came to the choice of inclusion for broadcast.

Was it ever more blatant or inappropriate?

John V Lloyd