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by Sandy McDonald

My Dad was a pilot. When I was young he flew a plane called a Vickers Viscount with four turbo-prop engines. If I was flying with him, I was allowed to sit in the cockpit for take-off.

As soon as the plane was airborne, my Dad, and the First Officer, and Flight Engineer would light up.

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Most of the passengers over 18 would smoke in the cabin, and the ‘hosties’, that is what they were called back then, would smoke away in the galley, between serving drinks.

The fact that you could not see much at the end of the flight didn’t appear to trouble anyone, not even the mothers with little ones.

My folks would have dinner parties with china ashtrays and cigarette holders and Ronson lighters at every place, for their guests to light up between courses. All completely normal.

But can you even imagine it today?

Is it possible then, that our children and theirs will write stories like this about the way we used fossil fuel to power energy; the waste of food; the profligate use of plastic; the clogged oceans; poisoned waterways; and our consumerism, with the same head-shaking disbelief that it could ever have been so?

And will these stories be redemptive? As in look what could have happened had we not understood in time what was happening? I hope so.

First published on LinkedIn.