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Good news abounds

Re: Margaret Forbes’ letter NI 548.

1 As a baby boomer Forbes feels blamed for the state of the planet. But this happens throughout history. The next generation blames the previous generation for whatever has gone wrong. It is up to us ‘baby boomers’ to set this right, not by telling closed ears but by providing action. For example, a local Girlguide leader could set up a ‘back to the ‘50s camp’ for her Guides: no mobiles, no computers, no TVs, no central heating. But on the flip side, a lot of fun building tree houses, biking, camping, reading books. Then the leader could show how baby boomers actually produced so much of what they consider as normal, for example overseas holidays, the internet and medical care that would have been Sci-Fi in the ‘50s. Now those baby boomers are the backbone of many charities, as with Margaret in Glasgow.

Jane Giffould Halstead Essex, England

2 Margaret Forbes ended her letter with a wish to get some positive news. Please can you pass on to her the following information about a quarterly magazine titled Positive News, an uplifting current affairs magazine.

Ruth Anderson West Yorkshire, UK

South Africa’s woes

I really value my New Internationalist subscription, but as someone unfamiliar with South African politics I found much in the Big Story almost impenetrable, particularly ‘The metal that bent’ (NI 548). I felt I needed a summary to help me understand.

I was sad to read that South Africa, which was so full of optimism 30 years ago, has become so badly governed and has lost out to corruption and the Gupta brothers. This seems entirely avoidable and those most hurt are surely the least well off.

Noel Hamel New Malden, UK

‘Keep Palestine out of climate activism’

Re: Greta Thunberg’s interruption by a protester at an Amsterdam climate event in November 2023 (mentioned in NI 547 page 40).

I sympathise with the protester’s viewpoint and believe that Thunberg should not have made her comments regarding the current horrific crisis in the Middle East.

Global warming is the biggest threat we face to the long-term future of our environment and human society. The climate movements need to present a united front and not suffer internal divisions – there are too many vested interests (eg oil companies) eager to discredit climate activists. Climate activists come from various backgrounds and will hold differing opinions on the Middle East, so it is unwise of key figures like Thunberg to express personal opinions on these at climate events and risk alienating support. Here in Germany, for obvious historical reasons, people are sensitive to the slightest suggestion of antisemitic sentiments, and the German Fridays for Future branch quickly disassociated itself from Thunberg’s pro-Palestinian comments. Of course everyone has a right to voice their opinions, but please, let’s keep these separate from climate events and maintain solidarity.

Richard Swifte Darmstadt, Germany

A little cross

As a subscriber for a long time, I was most disappointed to find no crossword nor connections. I do hope they will be back where they belong in future copies as they were a welcome ‘happy’ part of the magazine.

The editors write: Thank you for writing to us. Our longstanding puzzler Axe sadly passed away last year (see obituary for Alun Evans NI 546). The puzzle page has long been a favourite of our readers and we were sad to drop it. However, discussions about what to do with the page are still ongoing.

Joyce Saunders Edinburgh, UK


  1. In the last edition, we failed to include the photo credit for the piece ‘Strong beyond the world’s imagination’ (pages 54-57, NI 548). The credit should have been UN Women/Sayed Habib Bidell.
  2. In the piece 'Meloni's canny game', (page 48, NI 548) Justin Trudeau was wrongly described as Canada's President. He is in fact the Prime Minister.

Why I...

...mow no more.

I know many ecologists have been ‘no mow’ for years, but much of New Zealand seems reluctant to follow – despite the fact that lawn mowers have a significant impact on our emissions.

There are some curious responses to my 50 centimetre-long grass, with one neighbour coming in to see if I had died, and many offers to cut it for me. So, I bring people in to see my luscious lawn, left uncut and unweeded for four years. And as I do so I hand out copies of a conversation between God and St Francis. Google it!

John Flux Lower Hut, New Zealand