Thursday, 4 November 2010


Channel 4 has just screened a fascinating documentary on how wrong the green movement has been over the past 40 years, with its Manichaean approach to the environment. The documentary discussed heresies such as as the idea that nuclear power might act as a 'stopgap' to reduce carbon emissions from coal powered energy while cleaner technology is developed. It also raised the thorny issue of organisations like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace stopping GM foods from feeding starving people for ideological reasons. That's a 'bad' by any measure.

Now, I have tended towards the green side of the debate for many years and I do my bit to live a green-ish lifestyle, so this documentary was a bit of a shocker for me. However, what impressed me was the analytical approach to this range of issues. This may mark the start of a sensible debate.

Frankly the green movement has gone too far into the realms of zealotry and that turns off a lot of people who drive to work, who fly on holiday and who like fast food, for example. As one of the last contributors said, organisations like Starbucks and McDonalds have a far greater chance of greening the world than a bunch of middle class lobbyists.

Let me reiterate that I consider myself a green - I cycle, I buy 100% green electricity, I recyle everything I can etc etc - and I want the greening of the world to be achieved practically, not at the expense of the lifestyle we all enjoy. I hope this programme starts a process of making greenery more practical and more responsive to the real world, not the imagined world of rich people like George Monbiot, who make a living out of trying to scare us, instead of addressing the real world with real, achievable ideas. To bring Starbucks back into the discussion, wake up and smell the coffee.

Mind you, I still think nuclear is a terrible idea!

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