x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

The home stretch

London will have its work cut out over the next 100 days, but the payoff – a showcase for global cooperation through sport – will be well worth it once the Olympics open, readers write. Other letter topics today: climate change, wedding speeches, education reform the value of equestrians.

The UAE national football team, celebrating here after qualifying for the Olympics, is now in preparations for the competition. Readers say the real challenge, however, will be for the hosts in London. Sammy Dallal / The National
The UAE national football team, celebrating here after qualifying for the Olympics, is now in preparations for the competition. Readers say the real challenge, however, will be for the hosts in London. Sammy Dallal / The National

Your editorial Stubborn ice (April 18) made a good point.

The first evidence about global climate change got a lot of people very excited. This included politicians in many countries and bureaucrats, local and international, who saw a great opportunity to grab more power. It also included many journalists who know that scare stories sell papers and increase audiences.

Shamefully, many scientists who really should have known better also jumped onto this the-sky-is-falling approach to making public policy.

Were they tempted by the prospect of bigger research grants, or were they acting from altruistic concern for the planet? Some of both, I suppose, but it doesn't matter: either way these vocal self-appointed spokesmen embarrassed themselves and the scientific community with their don't-bother-to-check-the-data zeal.

My own belief is that something is melting the Arctic ice, and that the climate may well be changing. But it has never really been stagnant. If change now becomes faster than ever before, this will present some challenges and will have to be managed attentively - but not by giving more power to self-important popinjays or careless scientists.

Ian Macleod, Dubai

Olympics grow over the years

I refer to London goes for gold - cautiously (April 18).

We Italians had the excitement of the Olympics back in 1960 and of the Winter Olympics as recently as 2006, so I understand the excitement of the British this year.

It is a pleasure to see an increase in national participation. The 1960 Games included only 84 countries; London will have 200.

The Olympics matter because they bring all players to a single place to compete, regardless of colour, age, nationality and religion.

Gabriela Lombardi, Abu Dhabi

A crucial 100 days remain before London's Olympics.

The security, happiness and comfort of nearly 10,000 athletes, 20,000 media people and nine million ticket holders make up a tough task for Londoners.

I can imagine horrific congestion at key hot spots, but that happens in every Olympics venue.

Ayse Arzu Caglayan, Turkey

Don't offend with wedding speech

As someone who has made two best-man speeches, one successful and one not, I greatly appreciated Christopher Lord's column on the subject A best man knows his limits (April 18).

He's exactly right: judging the sense of humour of the crowd, and especially of the bride's family, is really vital.

In the case of my speech that went poorly, I am still careful to steer clear of my pal's mother- and father-in-law, who glowered at me all through my remarks at the reception.

Ray Summers, Abu Dhabi

It's time to take back education

I have a suggestion in connection with Teachers say mistrust slowing down education reform (April 11).

Officials should talk to students' grandparents and parents. Have them reflect on their life experiences, the effect of the last 40 years and the future.

Have them learn about the process of bringing their children and grandchildren into a 21st century unlike anything they experienced in their younger years.

The conflicts mentioned in the article reflect the reactions of people being treated like children.

With the best intentions, the UAE chose to engage and listen to western education experts.

But after many failures it is time for Emiratis to reclaim this responsibility and forge a direction and methods that are uniquely their own.

Tom Pattillo, Canada

Equestrians are eco-friendly

Like the person who wrote the Tuesday letter Horses do not damage the park (April 18), I have been riding in Mushrif Park for over two years.

In that time I have never seen either a rider or instructor show any disregard for the park's environment (Mushrif Park out of bounds for riding club, April 17).

As animal lovers we respect wildlife habitat, keeping to established paths wherever possible. It is this respect for nature that results in staff and volunteers spending many hours a year picking up the discarded trash of others and removing kite strings, sometimes freeing entangled wild birds in the process.

I have ridden in African game reserves and American national parks, so I know that the horse is an environmentally friendly way of exploring wild spaces.

It would be a shame to lose the opportunity to ride in this park in the UAE, which has a proud equine tradition.

Cate Warde, Dubai