Mark Andrews on Saturday: Save the planet, ditch the smartphone

By Mark Andrews | Opinions | Published:

Read today's column from Mark Andrews

Paul Mitchell – extended holiday at one of HM hotels

PAUL Mitchell, the Birmingham City fan who ran on the pitch and punched Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish in Sunday’s second-city derby, will this weekend be waking up in one of Her Majesty’s hotels after being sentenced to 14 weeks in jail.

He says he ran onto the pitch ‘for a laugh’. But I bet not half as much of a laugh as the rest of us got when he was sent down.

Mitchell has also been issued with a 10-year banning order, and been barred from Birmingham City home games for life. Oh well, every cloud has a silver lining.

Paul Mitchell – extended holiday at one of HM hotels

HAVING had a few weeks to reflect on last week’s climate-change strike by schoolchildren across the UK – I guess that’s the 21st century equivalent of what we used to call ‘bunking off’ – I have come to the conclusion that something really does need to be done to address the issues they raised.

Well according to Jon Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University, use of the internet accounts for about 10 per cent of all electricity consumed across the world. And that's before we get to the MP3 players.

So next time little Johnnie asks for a new iPhone, tablet, laptop or PS4, parents need to explain to them the irreparable damage these devices are causing to the planet, and buy them an Etch-a-Sketch instead.

I’m sure they will understand. Just think about the polar bears.


No more games consoles, think about the polar bears

OF course, another way to cut down on damage to the environment is to tackle the problem of our cut-price , throwaway society, where nothing is built to last, and everything is discarded after a year or two.


I like to think I have been doing by bit by paying £15 a month for mechanical breakdown insurance on my 12-year-old washing machine, but not any more. The straw which broke the camel’s back came when I was recently informed the premium would increase to £18 a month.

“It’s because of its age,” explained the man on the end of the telephone line when I called to harangue him. Given that I have comfortably paid out for the cost of a new machine several times over, I told him I would like to cancel.

“We could do it for £9 a month,” he countered, an offer I politely declined. Good to know, though, that insurance providers never try it on with their customers, and always seek to provide the best value possible.

FOR all the moaning from pro-EU MPs about bribery, I don’t suppose there will be any shortage of takers for the Government’s £212 million fund Stronger Town Fund for the West Midlands.

But while the cash will surely be welcome, its success or otherwise will come down to what it is spent on. And when Communities Secretary James Brokenshire talks about towns ‘left behind’, the early signs are not encouraging.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t worry about being ‘left behind’ London, Birmingham or Manchester, with their rampant knife crime, social divisions and lack of community cohesion. I'm more worried that we are heading in the same direction.

If the Stronger Town Fund is used to boost industry, rejuvenate historic town centres by making them easier to access and better suited to the needs of the 21st century, and encourage a sense of civic pride and shared values, then it will be money well spent.

If, on the other hand, it is spent on the usual block paving, fancy flower pots, pedestrianisation and faddish ‘urban art’ projects, it will be a complete and utter waste.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.


Top Stories


More from the Express & Star

UK & International News