Flying Dodo Award to Mike Berners Lee

Snow Leopard painting - Marianne Birkby

- Flying Dodo Award -  Mike Berners-Lee
– Flying Dodo Award –
Mike Berners-Lee

A strange day yesterday and a spur of the moment action. I spent the day at Rydal working on a painting of Snow Leopards, the big cats who are under all kinds of threats not least loss of habitat from mining including uranium mining by the Chinese in Tibet. I wasn’t going to go to the talk in Kendal that evening as having previously read Mike Berners Lee’s book “The Burning Question” promoting nuclear as a solution to climate change I felt that I would want to say something and didn’t have the energy to go up against the “Carbon Guru.” I knew he would be surrounded by acolytes ( wish I had some of those) and right on Guardian readers. I read the Guardian too – but I also don’t mind being seen reading the Daily Mail, the Mirror, the Sun and the Times and anything – they are all dodgy but pander to different tastes. My taste is varied.

Anyway something pulled me along and I went along in my painting togs having made a quick Flying Dodo Award should I be brave enough to speak.

I did speak during questions, to his credit Mike Berners Lee accepted the award in bemused good spirit saying he “did not mean to say what he did about nuclear” that ‘it had been taken in the wrong way’ and other such stuff. Mmmmm right!

The audience was very eloquent about Transition Towns, Slow Food, Renewables – but EVERYTHING is made meaningless without clean air, fresh water, soil, and clean seas and beaches – all of which are being trashed by nuclear.

I was speaking to some young people at the end of the meeting who obviously thought Mike the cats whiskers, when I said goodbye I made the mistake of glancing back and seeing the young lass roll her eyes at the nutter. hey ho….

Correspondence with Mike Berners-Lee below…

Thu, July 18, 2013 9:15 pm

Dear Mike,

Pg 19 – in particular .. “At the very least campaigning against nuclear
seems like an odd use of time and effort”

This is a very strong statement and doubly emphasised with “against” in
italics. Would you include ANYONE campaigning against nuclear? Is pro
nuclear MP Jamie Reed wasting his time when he opposes decommissioned
smashed up nuclear plants, and contaminated soil and rubble being trucked
from Scotland to Cumbrian landfill? EVEN Jamie Reed and others in Cumbria
who are pronuclear are opposed to new areas of Cumbria being opened up
with a deliberate “controlled release of radioactivity in the High Volume
Very Low Level Waste to groundwaters.”

I don’t know of any anti nuclear activist who would be opposed to the
industry funding its own R&D into waste management but you go on to
promote the pie in the sky “next generation of nuclear technologies” are
you saying that you are in favour of business as usual and the governments
new build programme? Or are you being more abstract?

I liked your slide with the message in the bottle “truth in the world’s
media” – the nuclear industry has created a culture of secrecy, lies and
obfuscation. “Fresh eyes” blinded to the truth are exactly what the
nuclear industry wants to achieve ! The Compensation Scheme for Radiation
Linked Diseases includes cataracts.

best regards,


> Thanks Marian.
> Just to clarify, exactly which text from the book makes you think that is
> what we think. Can you email me word for word the exact text? Skimming
> through again now, I can’t find what you might be referring to – which
> doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t exist – I suppose it is possible
> in the frantic final editing.
> I think the last sentence in the nuclear section is the most important.
> Thanks for the award. I think I left it in the room, but now I rather wish
> I’d kept it as a memento. Thanks for having a sense of humour of a
> passionate difference of views.
> Best wishes
> Mike
> Mike Berners-Lee
> Small World Consulting Ltd
> Lancaster Environment Centre
> Gordon Manley Building
> Lancaster University
> Lancaster LA1 4YQ
> 01524 510272
> 07900 954187
> Small World Consulting Ltd. is an associate company of Lancaster
> University
> Registered office: 44 Greenside, Kendal LA9 5DT
> Registered in England No. 4389483
> Books:
> ‘The Burning Question’
> Written with Duncan Clark
> Publication date 18 April 2013
> ‘Fascinating, important and highly recommended’ – Al Gore
> ‘How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of everything’
> 2010
> —–Original Message—–
> From: Marianne Birkby []
> Sent: 18 July 2013 08:02
> To:
> Subject: Nuclear support
> From: Marianne Birkby
> Subject: Nuclear support
> Message Body:
> dear Mike,
> Thank you for the talk at Kendal and receiving the Flying Dodo Award in
> good spirit. You said that you did not mean to say what you did in the
> book about nuclear. I am not quite sure what you mean by that. The book
> reads that you are in support of the government’s push for new nuclear
> build including at Sellafield. is this not the case? if so it would be
> very helpful if you could make a statement to the effect that you are not
> in support of the government giving green light planning consents for new
> nuclear build.
> Best regards,
> marianne
> Radiation Free Lakeland

> —
> This mail is sent via contact form on Small World Consulting

The Burning Question

“campaigning against nuclear seems like an odd use of time and effort…”

7 thoughts on “Flying Dodo Award to Mike Berners Lee

  1. Pingback: - Radioactive Raspberries and Radishes – | Radiation Free Lakeland

  2. Pingback: Radioactive Raspberries and Radishes – Dystopia unleashed? « nuclear-news

  3. Reblogged this on and commented:

    An encounter in 2013 with Mike Berners Lee who promotes nuclear to prevent the burning of fossil fuel. However in 2017 none of those nuclear loving, and supposedly coal hating gurus, from Berners -Lee to Monbiot are opposing the plan to open a new coal mine here in Cumbria. The coal mine would be a stones throw from the nuclear industry’s mountain of radioactive wastes at Sellafield. Why the silence from these ‘environmentalists.’ who have previously sneered at antinuclear campaigners? Why are antinuclear campaigners now the only ones voicing opposition to a new coal mine in Cumbria.?

  4. Pingback: Radiation Free Lakeland: Review of 2017

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