Star comment: Providing a safe haven for Ukrainian refugees

Ukraine is fighting to protect our values.

The region’s first Ukrainian refugees are arriving. Those who have a spare room are welcoming people fleeing Vladimir Putin’s war. They are finding safe haven with patient and selfless individuals who want to offer refuge.

The graphic images that we see every day from the war-torn country are a stark reminder of the horrific cost of war. The refugees who have arrived will be welcomed with open arms. We know there is a huge willingness to help and support those who have had their lives turned upside down by Putin’s aggression. The efforts that people have gone to already to show their support have been humbling.

It’s not just those who have spare rooms who have offered support. People who’ve organised bake sales, donated equipment or taken part in other benevolent activities are all making a difference. Youngsters who find truth on social media and share that with friends are equally instrumental in dismantling Putin’s information war.

More can be done, of course. The number of refugees in the UK is tiny in comparison to those in other European countries. Those who think we should do more to fill the 200,000 spare rooms that have been offered can write to their MPs and councillors, applying political pressure on elected representatives. People living among refugees who’ve made it to these shores can also provide warmth, kindness and all manner of practical support.

Ukraine is fighting to protect our values and it is time for us to play a part by welcoming people to these shores. It has been a traumatic time for so many and we welcome people in.

The sheer scale of the climate emergency is daunting.

When we assess the issues created by the pandemic and even the terrible events unfolding in Ukraine, it’s disheartening to realise that the climate emergency ultimately poses an even bigger threat to society.

The slow changes are deceptive. Some think it doesn’t matter that the days feel a little warmer, or that the bulbs in the garden bloom a little earlier.

And yet such easily observable changes are warning signs that we dare not ignore. All of us can make a difference.

All of us can make small changes to our lifestyle to provide a better tomorrow for our children and grandchildren.

It’s not too late to make a start and each decision we make will have an impact. If all of us do a little more, the difference will be considerable. It’s time for us to make a start.

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