The British are fickle and easily swayed into new fads, and the current fad affecting the UK is the environment. Nobody cared about the environment in the 90s when all the other European countries seemed to be worried with it, but now that Blair and other opinion makers (e.g. Al Gore) told us that the environment is the key challenge of our times, we are completely obsessed with it.
People tell me that kids nowadays are constantly being taught sustainability and other trendy stuff like that at school. I presume this happens at the expense of other subjects like maths, english, geography given the poor preparation they seem to have. Why on earth we use schools to create citizens that follow particular moral trends rather than giving them the tools to become fully thinking citizens?
The press continuously bombard us with environmental stuff: a Channel 4 programme that claims that global warming never existed (to create controversy), Al Gore going around pretending to be thoughtful and insightful, Sheryl Crow doing college tours, companies telling us how we can best offset your carbon emissions, newspaper articles on how to be more green, Tesco giving money for plastic bags… the list is almost infinite.
The problem with all these obsessions with the environment is that nobody is willing to change the way they live. All the solutions are directed to a simple paradigm – how can we continue to live in a wasteful society without damaging the environment. A simple example, in London people commute like mad so they can live in their little paradises with gardens. Would they be willing to live in a 60s-style block of flats so they don’t travel so much? Not a chance. Nobody in the UK is prepared to make any significant sacrifice to change the way they live. So what is the point of all this? To make everyone feel good that they are actually doing something about it.
I keep telling everyone. Ignore the environment. That is not the real problem. The possibility of a civil war in China is what we all ought to fear.