Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Glenda Slag Geoengineering Prize

2012's  doubly dubious achievement award goes to Viscount Ridley, for upstaging Viscount Monckton by getting Princess Anne to unveil the world's largest statue of a naked lady, the quarter-mile long "Northumberlandia." 

The bodacious synclining nude, weighing a svelte 1.5 million tons, is the work of earth artist Charles 'Capability Brown Coal' Jencks,   who spent two years bulldozing a spoil and slag heap north of Newcastle into the bituminous Boudicca seen below:

Invoking the muses may allow some economy in strip-mine reclamation, but how on Earth did  so conspicuous a feature of the Ridley estate  as Northumberlandia , escape mention in The Spectator, which last week announced the winner of the 1st Matt Ridley Prize for Environmental Heresy?

The L 8,500 prize, wergeld for wildlife whacked by a wind farm elsewhere in Ridlandia, went to Pippa Cuckson's expose' of fish-slicing hydroelectric turbines in Scotland's salmon streams. 

             Before botox: Northumberlandia awaiting her geoimplants & face lift 

While the contest was applauded by James Delingpole, now standing for parliament as an "independent anti-windmill farm candidate", the Daily Telegraph columnist has yet to say why he finds the whirling eyesores less objectionable than Northumbrian coal-tips got up to resemble Page Three Sun Girls, a development Ridley euphemizes in his Rational Optimist blog:
When the Banks Group approached my family to dig out coal from under farmland we own, creating 150 local jobs, they also came with an imaginative suggestion. Instead of waiting ten years to put the rock back and restore the surface to woods and fields, which is the normal practice, why not put some of the rock to one side to make a new landscape feature...?

A good queation, witness Robert Smithson's still quizzical 1970  Great Salt Lake earthwork Spiral Jetty, but coal spoil makes for slippery cultural slopes.