Have you ever had the sudden urge to reach through the newspaper that you’re reading and strangle the writer on the other side? Such is the feeling I get whenever I will myself-nay, ‘dare’ myself-to read through the Comment section in the Sunday Times. Pick a random page and you can be sure to view such infuriating ignorance about pretty much everything that would make you want to kill yourself.
Today, the source of my suicidal anger was the columnist Charles Clover. It’s almost as if he used to belong to the vast swathe of Tories with their head in the sand about Climate Change, and is now realising that we have to do something about the problem or see our civilisation destroyed.
But the spectacular feet-dragging he uses to make this shift is what really annoys me. Instead of joining with the Green lobby, and demanding higher industrial standards and lower carbon emissions, he has taken to targeting them with queer articles which promote strange ideas.
Sure, some of these ideas are good, and should be looked into, but certainly not at the cost of abandoning main Green initiatives like renewable energy. For some reason he joins with hundreds of other right wingers in his strange, random and obscure hatred of wind-turbines.
He spends this week’s column ‘Shut that cat flap: jut one of the easy solutions eco-moaners ignore’ writing about the benefits of introducing green ideas into urban architecture. Talking about Nigel Dunnett’s ‘Blue Water Roof Garden’:
“…a green policy where the sun’s rays go into carbon-absorbing plants and the ‘urban heat island effect’ is minimised. All in the interests of preventing flooding.”
My response to this? Great. I couldn’t agree more. But why do you spend so much time distancing yourself from other Greens, portraying them as hypocritical imbeciles who don’t understand the true nature of environmentalism, when this IS a mainstream Green idea?
The Greens have always wanted urban agriculture. It is a prudent idea to use our urban space more effectively, not just to reduce the pressure on our countryside but also to cut transport emissions. It would do all the great things which Clover talks about, but being in favour of this doesn’t make you special and the idea certainly isn’t original.
He then goes on to talk about the pros and cons of re-introducing wildlife back into the countryside.
“Sir David Attenborough tried to tell some hard truths…His theory of why we are so devoted to our countryside is that we were the first to lose it in the Industrial Revolution…Why are so many species declining? Because of the growth of the human population, he argues.”
The first statement I have no problem with, but the assertion that human population is the only or even the main factor in environmental degradation is nonsense. Most of these problems, the decline in bumblebees for instance, have arisen from the never-ending greed of Free Market Capitalism. If the right government restrictions were put in place, we would be able to live more within our material boundaries.
If we didn’t have such a rampant consumer culture, then perhaps we might be able to start living within twice our means. That would be a start. The vast disparity between different countries and their consumption is shocking.
If everyone on the planet was to consume as much as the average US citizen, we would need five earths. Such would be the strains upon our planet. You don’t have to be Charles Clover to realise that we only have one.