“Well ma’am, that’s because if you’re hoping to charge up a car on a solar panel, you have either got to have bloody big solar panel covering your entire neighbourhood or be talking about a table-top remote controlled car”
I never actually said the above sentence out loud, but I would’ve if I had been sitting on the “panel of experts”. And god or bog (Yes, I’ve been reading A Clockwork Orange!) help us all, but I think I, just me, actually had the answers to pretty much all questions I overheard at the UKAware discussions that I actually sat in on.
The thought has bugged me before, but it hit me particularly hard today, and that is that I think I’ve outgrown environmental events such as UKAware. Perhaps I have entered the skeptic morose teenager stage where I feel the need to roll my eyes at most of the questions I heard and most of the exhibits I saw today.
For example, there was a disproportionate amount of stalls dedicated to cloth bags to replace people’s use of plastic bags. I really hope I won’t be quoting George Monbiot all the time on this blog (and this is not a negative reflection of Monbiot – I think he’s great, but I know if I let myself then most of my posts will point towards Monbiot), but frankly, although I’m glad people are making a genuine effort to use less plastic bags, the use of plastics bags are one of the tiniest of the things we should be concerned about.
Then there was the stall selling a wind-generated garden ornament. WTF? I honestly wonder how many people bought one and what on earth they were thinking.
Although the financial sector never actually crossed my mind when I turned up at UKAware, I found myself picking up the leaflets for all the financial environmental services I could find – there were some interesting companies there looking to pick up some green investors including a charity bank, an ethical investment fund, a microloans company and a brazilian farming co-op. I do need to reinvest my ISA which is currently collecting an interest rate below current inflation, and have been thinking about investing it in a transparently ethical way.
I would say people have a lot to learn about being green. I’m glad so many people are on board, but generally knowledge is still in its infancy. Things like how people don’t realise that solar panels don’t appear out of thin air – a lot of energy and resources go into producing a solar panel and that a solar panel, particularly in the weather-challenged UK, just isn’t efficient.
Saying that, however, I probably am wrong on most things myself, and it’s entirely a process of learning and thinking things through. But good golly, don’t go all up in arms because the government disallows you to do something that may not look obviously stupid to you, without first sitting down and thinking “now why aren’t I alllowed to do this? Is it because the government is trying to get in my way of going green, or is there a flaw they’ve spotted that I should probably sit down and try to spot too?”