Monthly Talking Point – January 2020

This month’s edition is provided by 
Andy Storch

Caversham Bridge provides a beautiful view, probably the best view of all the traffic jams in Reading. Let’s face it, we know that view because we are always sitting in a queue of cars as we cross the bridge (at least going North)!

Is Brexit the ‘Talking Point’ for Caversham? Sitting at the top of the media agenda, no one dares predict whether or not we shall be leaving the EU come March 2020. The bridge supplies Brexit symbolism: Caversham is connected to Reading, as Britain is to the rest of Europe. Aren’t connections good? Building bridges and crossing them benefits all. Historically only retreating armies destroy bridges.

But I suggest that though Brexit fills the news, it should not be the key ‘Talking Point’. As Greta Thunberg says, we are sitting on an emergency. “How dare [we] look away” she challenges. Her summary gives us eight years left before we tip over the point of no return, and pass the 1.5 degree rise in global temperature. Starting with the poorest and the lowest lying lands, destruction will come. An Imperial College research paper recently explored in BBC’s Panorama series, reveals that intellectual assent to climate change for many years has had little effect on our behaviour. Individuals can and must change their lifestyle whether or not there is international agreement. Three key suggestions are simply to eat half the amount of meat, fly half as often, and drive half as much.

Caversham Bridge is no traffic jam for cyclists or walkers: and the cycle paths on the pavement and beyond now make the crossing safe for bikes. Do you remember that survey 20 years ago, which exasperated Caversham residents by stopping every single car crossing Caversham Bridge (and Reading Bridge) to discover the destination of the car journey? Remember the traffic jam the survey caused then? It revealed that 80% of cars were for journeys of no more than 3 miles. For those who can, cycling 3 miles is often quicker than driving, and without parking complications at the destination.

God gave this planet to all of His creation, not just the humans. We were tasked with stewarding the planet. But our current behaviour has led the world to the brink of catastrophe. We all need to act. Cycling may not be for all, but we could reflect on where we as individuals and families can change to make a difference. It will help save the view from Caversham Bridge, and shorten that traffic queue!
Andy Storch is Curate in the Caversham Thameside Ministry

Andy Storch is Curate in the Caversham Thameside Ministry