Friday, 4 July 2008

Green Rage

According to the Sun, Britain's eco-warriors are so wound up about environmental issues that they are put off friends, partners or colleagues who are less zealous in their planet-saving palaver.

As well as being put off a "love match" as the Sun calls it, the tree-huggers are turning their fury on workmates who print out unnecessary documents, or leave their computers running over night.

Interestingly, the survey - of 2,046 adults across the UK - says nothing about the Inverse Green Rage phenomenon, despite its rapidly growing prevalence amongst Brits with even microscopic amounts of common sense. It is characterised by right-thinking individuals mocking, teasing and generally lambasting any self-confessed recycler until they promise to leave the lights on all day and all night, for ever and ever, amen.

Ok, that's not entirely true. But it is entirely true that many, many more people are put off friends, partners or colleagues who have been bitten by the environmental bug than are put off those who think Global Warming (as it used to be called until it was found to be neither Global nor Warming) is total crap. Face it, when people find out that someone's a mental enviroist, they slap in place their glassy smile, nod politely and back away FAST. We've all done it, and then gossiped about them later.

Not too long ago it would have been knowing looks over the coffee machine. Today, in this unenlightened age of no indoors lighting up, rumour flits between departments as folks gather at the side door for a quick smoke:

"Got a light? Ta!"
"Seen that new bird in Accounts?"
"Nope. What's she like."
"Blonde, big knockers, tree hugger."
"What a waste..."

And so on. Nobody, barring fellow eco-nuts, who don't really count, likes an environmental zealot, and while the zealots may get mad with the rest of us, they are very seriously outnumbered - they've been annoying us for a long, long time, and getting ratty because we all think they're deluded isn't doing their cause any good at all.

But then, what could do their cause any good? Some credible evidence might be a good place to start. So might turning their anger on those who use "green" issues a means of making a profit - ever noticed how "environmentally friendly" products are also financially unfriendly? That just makes the rest of us resentful and disinclined to be further harangued by the office crank.

No, if they want to get anywhere with this saving the planet lark, they need to make if financially and practically viable for the rest of us. I couldn't care less about the environment, and, when it comes to saving the planet, you could pave the whole surface for all I care. But, given the ever-rising price of power, I wouldn't say no to some free electricity.

Being of a slightly technical nature, I can see the obvious pitfalls in doing a Crazy Cameron and nailing a windmill to the side of your house - in and of itself it's never, ever, going to provide enough power to make it worthwhile. But I can also see that, in combination with some other methods, and with a little lateral thinking, such an approach could, for many people - not all people, unfortunately - make a noticeable dent in electricity bills.

With energy prices set to rise by another 40% by the end of this year, that has to be an attractive prospect. And, coincidentally, it's very much in line with the tree-huggers' dreams. So they should quit hassling us about leaving the PC switched on, and start thinking up ways to make this kind of thing work well, cheaply and easily enough for the average home owner to get it up and running in a weekend.

Do that, save us some brass, and, weirdo tree-huggers or not, they'll be heroes.

Billy Seggars.

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