I know someone has already invented the term “greenwash”, but if they hadn’t then I would have, OK?

Do you know what makes me cross? Well, if you’ve ever read my blog before, you’ll know that lots and lots of things make me cross. In fact if you judged my state of mind just on the basis of my blogging, you’d think I existed in a state of constant cross-eyed fury, steam permanently puffing from my purple, inflamed ears.

Which couldn’t be further from the truth, of course. Dear me no, in real life I’m a cheery wee bauchle, skipping merrily through life, merely popping online every so often to complain about everybody else being so infuriatingly WRONG all the time and then plastering my customary cherubic grin back onto my face. (I initially typed “cherubic gin” there. If that doesn’t already exist, then I claim the trademark, associated logo and all future profits.)

Anyway, do you know what really does make me cross? I’ve almost forgotten myself in all that distraction, but I dimly recall that what I actually sat down to blog about is pseudo-environmentalism. Specifically, signs in public places saying things like, “We care about the environment! So we’ve made one teeny-weeny change, like washing our towels every three days instead of every one day, which is really more about saving us money than protecting the planet, and we’re going to make a great big fuss about it so you don’t notice how utterly inefficient we are in every other regard!”

I was standing in a concert hall the other day, slogging through the interminable political party conference season which seems to begin again immediately after it’s ended (honestly, you go and work for a charity because you’d like a way of changing things that doesn’t involve joining a political party, only to find that instead of just having to turn up at one party conference a year like politicos do, you have to go to the whole bloody lot of them.) And on the wall in the loo of this concert hall that I feel the need to remind you about because of my last digression, there was a sign saying, “We’re going green!”

Great, I thought. Have you switched all your electricity to solar or wind power? Have you started using proper crockery instead of polystyrene cups? Are you re-insulating the whole place to prevent needless waste?

No. They’d installed a new hand dryer, which used an infinitesimally smaller quantity of power than the old one did. In fact, they’d probably used more power than the hand dryer saved just by getting the posters printed, telling me how green they’d gone.

It’s nonsense, isn’t it? We’re focusing on tiny changes and bugling happily about how brilliant we are for having done them, while ignoring the really fundamental alterations that would make a proper difference to the environment. And I don’t mean that I agree with those irritating self-satisifed people who say things like, “Well, obviously I can’t possibly make any difference, it’s down to the government to make a change, so I’m just going to drive twenty metres down the road in my gigantic four-by-four so I can throw all these plastic bottles in the bin and probably punch a few kittens on the way back”.

No – I fundamentally believe that we can all achieve change at some level, and if you don’t think that I honestly don’t know how you can bring yourself to get out of bed in the morning. I just mean that there are far bigger modifications to our lifestyles that we should be thinking about, and actually I only wrote all of this as a prelude to a blog about precycling, but as usual I’ve got sidetracked and chuntered on about everything but the thing I meant to discuss, so I will just have to stop for now and write the blog I actually intended to write later.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *