The Hello Lamp Post initiative in Dundee encourages members of the public to start up a conversation with lamp posts, bus shelters and fences about the climate and nature emergency.
FEELING lonely? Depressed? Out of sorts? You might consider popping up to Dundee to have a chat with a lamp post. You can talk about a terrible relationship, or the noise from next door’s heat pump or moan about Gary Lineker. Sadly, the lamp post will quickly get bored with your lamentations and will embark on a long diatribe about how evil you are for wanting to keep warm and drive a car. Admittedly, the interaction might leave you feeling more distressed, but be consoled that the lamp post will feel much, much better, as will its sponsor, Dundee City Council.
If hanging round lamp posts is not your cup of tea, you can always try a nearby bus shelter or fence. They too will happily chastise you about the damage you are inflicting on nature.
The decision of the SNP-controlled council to allow the lamp posts to talk may or may not have something to do with Dundee being the drugs capital of Scotland. Perhaps, in a self-induced haze, a councillor had lengthy discussions with his kettle, or got the idea from talking to an environmentally aware waste paper bin. Who can guess what goes on in the wee minds of the SNP?
Asked who was responsible for the initiative, a council spokesperson dismissed the kettle/bin speculation and issued the following statement: ‘There is no truth in the rumour that the decision to create talking lamp posts, bus shelters and fences had anything to do with the use of illicit substances by any elected councillor. The decision was in fact made at a meeting of the Climate Emergency Committee which was attended by members of the lamp post, bus shelter, fence, telegraph pole and pillar box communities. The casting vote in favour of the proposal was made by a wind turbine. A dissenting voice came from the representative of traffic lights. They indicated that they disliked pedestrians and protested that the demonisation of cars would render them redundant.’
Approached for a comment, the wind turbine gave no response. However, the Deputy Convener for Climate, Environment & Biodiversity, Councillor Jock Strap, had this to add: ‘The platform is a two-way conversation, with the views picked up from locals being used as valuable ways to understand community perceptions on climate change.’
Dundee has recently undertaken a scheme to revamp its waterfront district. In a report on the value of the project, the Accounts Commission said: ‘The £1billion regeneration of Dundee’s Waterfront which has so far delivered the V&A museum and a new railway station has failed to change the lives of its poorest residents.’ It believed that the investment to transform parts of the city, most notably the waterfront, sits in ‘marked contrast’ to the endemic poverty, inequality and drug-related deaths.
At least as they stumble through the Dundonian thoroughfares, the frozen, poverty-stricken addicts have various types of street furniture to chat to. Unfortunately, they will be informed about Net Zero policies which will make them even colder and poorer.