Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Pensioners Burning Books to Stay Warm

Mark this down as another of those stories I never expected to hear. It seems that some old age pensioners in the U.K. are burning books, instead of coal, as they try to stay warm during this unusually cold winter weather (are you paying attention, Mr. Gore?).

The complete article can be found here at this Metro website:
Volunteers have reported that ‘a large number’ of elderly customers are snapping up hardbacks as cheap fuel for their fires and stoves.
Workers at one charity shop in Swansea, in south Wales, described how the most vulnerable shoppers were seeking out thick books such as encyclopaedias for a few pence because they were cheaper than coal.

One assistant said: ‘Book burning seems terribly wrong but we have to get rid of unsold stock for pennies and some of the pensioners say the books make ideal slow-burning fuel for fires and stoves.

A lot of them buy up large hardback volumes so they can stick them in the fire to last all night.’

A 500g book can sell for as little as 5p, while a 20kg bag of coal costs £5.

Since January 2008, gas bills have risen 40 per cent and electricity prices 20 per cent, although people over 60 are entitled to a winter fuel allowance of between £125 and £400.
Just when you think you've heard it all...


  1. I am utterly speechless! Surely there is SOMETHING else to use.

  2. While I applaud you for bringing this tragedy to light, the dig on Mr. Gore, climate change science in general, is really misinformed. Global warming doesn't imply that every region on the planet is getting warmer every year. It is simply a factual trend which notes that the overall average temperature is rising nearly every decade. The consequences of global warming are not that we're all going to need sunblock 2000 spf lest we get fried in the sun, but rather, that the oceans are rising (which they are, at an accelerating rate) and that fertile soil will begin to dry up and put a vice grip on the food supply.

  3. Fre, yes, temps have risen a bit in the last decade or so. But there is plenty of room for debate about what is causing the rise and what can be done to stop the trend without bankrupting the world in the process...and making Mr. Gore a billionaire at the same time.

    I simply do not buy into the hysteria surrounding global warming. If my assessment of Mr. Gore's personal character offends you, I you, not to him.

  4. Kayo, it does sound pretty cost efficient, though, doesn't it? As much as I hate to see books being burned this way, I can easily come up with some that should have never been printed and would be no big loss to the world...James Patterson books and DaVinci code books and clones would be a great contribution to the folks needing a source of heat, IMO.

  5. No, I am not in any way offended by your assessment of any individual's character, I was more concerned with the idea that a cold winter in England can be used to dispel the scientific fact that the Earth's average temperature is rising.

    I don't believe that there is much room for debate on the cause of this rise either, as science has many models showing the effect of greenhouse gasses on our climate. However, there is plenty of room to debate whether this would "bankrupt the world", but I think most economists would agree with me that this is unlikely, and if debated honestly we'd realize that going to a renewable model of energy production has more long term benefits on the global economy than the current model which is oriented towards scarce resources in the hands of sheiks and other similar oligarchs and dictators.

  6. I can't agree on that. Yes, greenhouse gasses play a role, but so does variations solar activity and I don't believe that Gore and others want to discuss that. And, yes, if this whole thing is not properly handled, the world could very well be bankrupted. The rush to jump in with both feet is ludicrous, IMO, and will lead to a bigger disaster than the one we are trying to figure out.

    OK, enough of the debate. I had a political blog for a long time and grew tired of the head-banging that went on there. I do respect your opinion and appreciate you stopping by - but let's get back to books. Thanks.

  7. No worries. I'm more concerned with the science part of it - didn't mean to hijack by making it all political.


  8. Fre, it's my fault it became political- my reference to Gore invited politics into the discussion. Sometimes I can't resist the temptation...