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June 2007 - Let's Save the Planet

I must commence this month by asking if you've started washing your feet in the water-butt in the back garden after you've been out for a nice long walk with the dog?  I thought I'd enquire, as that's a damn fine measure of whether you're doing your bit for the world and properly pulling your weight, you see.

Well, everyone else seems to have been carrying out huge amounts of research into who's doing what and who's found the best ways of saving our planet from its imminent disaster and destruction, so Nick Harvey's decided it's about time for him to join in as well.

I haven't a clue why everyone else seems to think that it's such a difficult problem.  After nearly a minute and a half of quite casual consideration, I've found that I've come up with nearly four good ways to improve things for the world.

It seems a bit pointless doing all these half-hearted things that the so-called experts have already thought of.  Things like turning the tap off while you clean your teeth or not leaving the television on standby pale into insignificance when you realise that Nick Harvey has just discovered the one, single thing which will solve all the problems of the world at a stroke.

I suppose it's because I'm so experienced at these regular sessions of in-depth analysis of subjects of great import, that I found it so easy to solve this little problem so amazingly quickly.

All the practice I've had, over many years, doing the enormous amounts of background work for these literary masterpieces, once a month, has well prepared me for the little matter of simply saving the world.

So, welcome along, dear viewers, to the June edition of Comment, the edition which will totally transform our planet, propelling us all into a bright new future to replace that slough of despond we had all been led to expect.

Now, I'm not really sure whether I ought to tell you all the details of my staggering suggestion right now, or leave it to nearer the end of this month's epistle.

If I give you the details right now, I run the risk of you all rushing off to instantly put my plan into action and failing to read any of my remaining words of wisdom.  Well, the plan is so startling and stupendous that you might just get carried away, you see.

Mind you, if I leave all the details till the end, then I risk you not believing that I've got a plan in the first place; and that I'm going to try to think one up whilst I'm bashing my fingertips to the bone on the intervening paragraphs.

Just a hint, then, at this stage, to prove that I've really come up with the goods.  The plan involves a motor car.  That's all you're getting at this point.  You'll have to read on to find out the rest.

I was bemoaning the colour of the countryside last month, wasn't I?  Yes, madam, of course it's a digression, whatever else did you expect at about this point in the proceedings?

Actually, whilst it is, most definitely, a digression, it's also extremely pertinent to the subject in hand this month.  This is one of those digressions which doesn't quite go off the topic.

It's the sort of digression feared and hated by the moderators of certain internet fora.  It's the sort of digression for which they'd love to be able to ban you from their forum, but they just can't, because you're, technically, still on the main topic.

Yes, the yellow all over the countryside.  The oil seed rape.  The brand new fuel to, supposedly, save the world from petrol.

The yellow's all gone now, you know.  It seemed to disappear just as suddenly as it originally appeared.  Funnily enough, the colour started to disappear just after polling day.  Can't, for the life of me, think why.  Only the green pod things are now left on the plants; presumably they're the seeds containing the, aforementioned, oil.

Trust me though, none of that oil will ever be needed.  Not after the great Nick Harvey master plan has swung into action.  Replacing petrol will be totally unnecessary after you've read the rest of this page.

It's all a matter of quantifying the levels of wastage, you see.  There's little or no point in thinking up ways to save tiny amounts of energy, like going round the house changing your forty watt light bulbs for thirteen watt ones, when, at a stroke, I can save us millions and millions of megawatts with my ultimate solution.

This new plan of mine ranks with previous Nick Harvey masterpieces from down through the years.  Things like chopping off the pointed bits of our country and shoving them up river estuaries for tidiness; moving all the reservoirs to the places where it rains; and, of course, building the empty supermarket just for the housewives to gossip in.

Even those great plans of yesteryear will seem totally insignificant when compared to this latest load of old planet saving.

You're all trying to guess now, aren't you?  I can tell.  No madam, I'm sorry but it's got nothing to do with replacing the car's sun roof with a solar panel.

I did, actually, consider that as one of my options for a few seconds, till I realised that it would lead to rather a lot of stationary vehicles clogging up the Mersey Tunnel.  Mind you, on third thoughts, that could make the Wirral a much more pleasant place to live.

No, the Nick Harvey master plan will save far more petrol than solar panels on car roofs.  The problem I'm about to solve must currently be wasting enough fuel in a week to run the rest of the planet for a year.

So are you ready?  Shall I tell you and put you out of your misery?  Okay.  My plan is to turn off the lights on Volvos in the daytime.

Do you remember the really, really old Volvos?  Those were the ones which seemed to manage the navigation of our streets in the daytime without any lights on at all.  Then came the slightly later models, where they just seemed to need to have the sidelights on in order to see their way round at noon.

But now we have this latest stupidity to be foisted on an unsuspecting public by those designers at Volvo.  The latest models appear to require their headlights to be on, just in order to find their way out to lunch.

Have you ever considered how much extra fuel they must be consuming, and totally wasting, in order to wind the alternator round and round fast enough to keep a couple of headlights going all the time?

And don't try to tell me all about the, so-called, safety aspect of the lights always being on.  After all, other car manufacturers haven't bothered to follow suit and have their lights on all through the daytime have they?

Yes, it could well be true that cars from other manufacturers do turn out to have more accidents, but for goodness sake, that's not because their lights are turned off, it's because their drivers get distracted whilst waving at the Volvo going the other way with its headlights on in the middle of the afternoon.

There you go, the planet's fuel supply saved at a stroke by Nick Harvey.  That's not to mention the huge reduction in road rage because drivers will no longer get annoyed with the headlights shining at them from the other carriageway all through the daytime.

So, Volvo owners unite!  Get out there and take your cars straight round to your local garage and have the lights modified so they only come on when you actually switch them on, at night.

I shall be extremely interested to hear your figures for the reduced fuel consumption as a result.  I shall collate all the data and report back in a future edition.

Whilst talking of future editions, the next will appear, precisely at the middle of the year, on July 1st.  Make sure you join me promptly for that.  Right, I'm off, where's me brick to go in the cistern?

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