Will these be the roaring Twenties? Or is that the sound of burping cows?

THE birth of a new decade has been heralded as the ‘Roaring Twenties’, harking back a century to a time of optimism and prosperity in the aftermath of the First World War.

Picture: JON GUEGAN (26822371)
Picture: JON GUEGAN (26822371)

However, a new era at first famed for industrial increase, hedonistic lifestyle of the rich and famous and a cultural revolution brought about by jazz music, went from boom to bust and into a deep worldwide depression that continued into the 1930s.

Unemployment levels rose to millions on both sides of the Atlantic leading to extreme poverty and social unrest and, in Germany, the rise of National Socialism and the Nazi Party.

The 1920s is not an era that anyone would want to see repeated and even more so in our far more volatile and dangerous world.

Chirpy burpy green cows

Vampires are back in vogue following last week’s BBC TV series – a welcome change to the horror genre after wall-to-wall zombie-themed entertainment.

Old Balkan wives’ tales say that a reliable way to deter a vampire is garlic – along with mirrors, exposure to sunlight and crucifixes – but it is also advisable to have a sharp stake at hand.

Dairy farmers are turning to garlic but not, thankfully, because vampires are sucking the blood from their prized livestock. When added to cattle feed as a natural food supplement, garlic reduces the amount of greenhouse gas that cows belch during their digestion process.

Cattle emit methane when they burp, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, so dairy producers are looking at ways to reduce their impact on global warming. Results from trials of adding15g of garlic extract to a cow’s daily feed have shown reductions of up to 38% of methane emitted.

Moreover, milk yield rose by up to 8% and the cows were less stressed, as garlic is also a deterrent to flies that plague them in hot weather. Fortunately it does not affect the taste or smell of their milk.

Other trials are being conducted into alternatives to garlic, including seaweed, which is also thought to have methane-reducing properties.

And seaweed is something we have plenty of, especially in St Aubin’s Bay every summer. Could that be used to make our dear Jersey cows carbon neutral?

Double standards

While out and about enjoying a fine end to the old year I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a sticker on a side window of a passing car. It signified the owner’s support for Extinction Rebellion, yet the vehicle was not electrically powered, but a rather old make produced prior to the stringent emissions regulations.

It was a glaring example of the ‘do what I say not as I do’ culture as exemplified by Emma Thompson flying across the Atlantic and back first class, discarding her designer clothes for dungarees, to join the climate-change protests last spring in London.

The irony of such hypocrisy was obviously also lost on others, as the team from Radio Four’s Today Programme chose to fly to Stockholm to interview Greta Thunberg, one of the festive guest editors of the morning news show.

I appreciate that journalists work to tight daily deadlines – and that flying was the quickest way to do the job – but in this case wouldn’t it have been better to go by ferry and train?

Or, as happened when Miss Thunberg linked up with her idol, Sir David Attenborough, why not conduct the interviews by video call – or telephone as, after all, it was for radio?

Come and go

The Swedish figurehead of the global climate-change movement has been recognised in a rather unusual way. A recently discovered species of beetle, Nelloptedes gretae, has been named after her.

An amazing 171 beetles were among more than 400 new species officially identified in 2019, but scientists at the UK’s Natural History Museum warn that many creatures and plants are being lost before they can be verified and documented.

In addition to the beetles, other new species included eight wasps, five centipedes, four aphids, 13 snails and 34 moths and butterflies.

It is incredible that in spite of all man’s advances there is still much to be discovered in the world, but sad that so many of the species that we share the planet with are gone before we even knew they existed.

Odd one out

Congratulations to Guernsey for featuring in the Sunday Times exciting places to visit in 2020 because it offers great value. This year the bailiwick is offering a ‘four for one’ Channel Islands package. There was a time not long ago when an integrated tourism campaign between Jersey and Guernsey was mooted, but it never materialised. With Jersey relegated to a mention in the Sunday Times review it may be time for a rethink.

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