IT IS alarming that the world is gravely concerned about the natural environment in 2019, the same year Cumbria has been celebrating the 200th year of John Ruskin's birth.

Recently people all over Cumbria joined people around the world protesting at the rapid changes to the natural environment (Gazette, September 26, 'Climate strikes snowball as collective voice gets louder').

John Ruskin lived at Brantwood, beside Coniston Water and facing Coniston Old Man. From his home he made meteorological records, including colour of clouds. One day in August 1880 he observed a dirty veil. He concluded: "Changing weather pattern caused by industrialisation" (to quote from the Abbot Hall Art Gallery exhibition catalogue for Ruskin, Turner and the Storm Cloud).

The exhibition (which closed on October 5) showed why Ruskin admired Turner so much, and offered evidence for the effect of pollution on mountains, including the Alps, in his lifetime!

Ruskin also noted that if nature is respected, it will respond kindly and beneficially to mankind, but will react inappropriately if treated badly.

I suspect the rapid melting of the icecaps on Greenland and Iceland is due to ash ascending from fires in the Amazon and elsewhere and descending on the Arctic, for, as they say, what goes up must come down.

Meanwhile, referring to the headline for September 26's Gazette (£5m gateway for new jobs'), I ask, will the gateway also be the entrance to causing the county and local councils to enable traffic to reach Plumgarths roundabout from the A6 without having to go through the centre of Kendal, and before Victoria Bridge is closed again, as we have been told it will be.

Nicholas J Stainforth