Letters, July 29 2022

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Not all tree-planting is good

I write in response to the letter ‘Time to reset our expectations’ in the July 15 edition of the Campbeltown Courier.

Many people assume all tree-planting is good. Some sorts of trees are not good.

Although, in its short growing life, Sitka spruce absorbs carbon, it requires fuel-hungry machines to prepare land. When felled, it goes through processes, such as pulping, which put carbon back in the atmosphere.

Planting this tree is a bandwagon, which may not bring the profits or benefits expected…

If climate change and rising sea-levels make hillside, food farming necessary, how suitable will post-Sitka spruce land and soil be?

Environmentally, it is a disaster. No orchids, tormentil or grasses grow in its close-packed darkness.

Today, in July, I am looking out at a hillside under threat of Sitka spruce. At the summit, there is already a small patch, which is dark green – dark to the point of looking black.

Below is spruce-free, sunlit hill – sun-lightened and brightened.

Mini-contours, beige, rough grassland and green bracken are on show.

Further away grows a dispiriting mass of Sitka spruce, which in winter has no leaf or needle-fall to let light through.

Barrenness and gloominess in the end lower land and house values, and cause more depopulation.

Trees need water. How will the fish, traditional farmers and householders cope?

Perhaps because of past planting, ditches which never used to run dry now do.

Is anybody measuring the speed of flow and depth of pools in the Breckerie Water?

And fire risk must be taken seriously. July 18 and 19 have given an added edge to this letter.

S Macmillan, Southend.

Show Mary’s Meals some friendship

As we approach the International Day of Friendship (July 30), Mary’s Meals is celebrating heart-warming stories of hope and camaraderie from around the world.

Mary’s Meals is a charity that serves nutritious school meals in 20 of the world’s poorest countries. The promise of a good meal attracts hungry children into the classroom where, instead of working or looking for food, they can gain an education.

As your readers will know, the classroom is also where lifelong friendships are made. Friendships like that of Fridah and Annette, from Zambia.

Fridah’s life changed forever when she fell ill with an undiagnosed illness, losing all ability to move and communicate. Luckily, she has a wonderful friend in Annette.

The two girls attend school together, where they eat Mary’s Meals. Despite the challenges she faces, Fridah is determined to get an education. She uses her toes to write and turn the pages of her books.

Fridah dreams of becoming a professional footballer when she is older. With our nutritious school meals giving her the energy to learn and play, and a good friend like Annette by her side, we hope she will achieve her dream.

It costs just eight pence a day to feed a child with Mary’s Meals, meaning every donation – no matter how small – will make an enormous difference. For more information, please visit marysmeals.org.uk.

Thomas Black, head of major giving and partnerships, Mary’s Meals.