Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First they came for the 4x4s, and I did...

With all due deference to the seriousness of Pastor Neimoller's words, it looks like next in line for a bit of high priority trendy liberal media angst is... patio heaters!

And for once I am quiet happy to be on the side of good... er... green. At least, so long as it's basically letting all and sundry who think they're nifty that, on balance, they are not perhaps the greatest contribution to global warmin... er... climate change. In fact I was livid when the Ideal Home stuck my stand during their 'Environmental Theme' next to one selling the blooming things.

So we have the usual perky BBC blonde bouncing around post flood duty asking some outdoorsy types 'what they think'.

My favourite was the girl who said they were required because 'we need to experience the outdoors'. Sweet. Then there was the pub landlord who reckoned they stopped people flying to Spain. And the pub chain CEO who was dead against them and had commissioned much PR to get the BBC to advertise him.. er... them... er the good works they are doing. Plus fresh prawns at £6.99 and a bottle of Chilean red thrown in...:)

Seems this is the unintended consequence of the new anti-smoking laws; all the smokers don't like to be chilly when they are outside, so need the exterior brought up to speed temperature wise, along with the rest of the planet, it seems. Actually I never found out what the carbon cost of a fag was. Must check.

It has coincided with a minor debate I was/am having on an eco-blog (members only, don'tchaknow) following a post asking what was the best way to heat outdoors. Sadly my idea of either buying woolly jumpers from the local charity shop, or commissioning the knitting circle to whip up branded shawls (think of the PR!) was not favoured.

I am currently having an exchange with a guy who is telling me underfloor heating is radiant and only heats the person and not the air, which I'm having trouble grasping.

So to a long and growing list we can now add patio heaters. I just hope Dave's Humveee terrorists don't get wind of it or they'll be flying over to blow them up.

Meanwhile, the forests get cut down, the oil shale is being strip mined, etc, etc. Oh, and the floods were soooo yesterday.

BBC - 'Dump patio heater wear a jumper' - I'm sure they don't mean dump it. Just don't use it anymore. JunkkYard - hatstand?

Indy - Hot Air - How do you 'secretly own' one? And 'environment hypocrisy is a new concept?
Indy - Enemy of the planet: The ethics of consumption

Guardian - Not in my back yard

I think there are few that can disagree that the things are hard to justify on any count, but especially in an era when unnecessary man, er, person made emissions are figured to be accelerating climate change.

I, for one, was livid that my (eco) stand (of about 6 out of 700) at the supposed Enviro-themed Ideal Home Show a few years ago was positioned next to one flogging the things by the score.


In the great scheme of things, I would dearly love to have some kind of understandable comparative table that shows where the areas of greatest enviROIs are. There will of course be those of a communal nature (governmental, local authority and corporate), and then individual.

Such as patio heaters, 4x4s, budget airlines and Evian bottles will fall under the latter (noting that two of those might have been missed somewhat in certain areas lately had they been fully banned as advocated by some).

Whilst recognising every little thing adds up, matters and makes a difference, I am more than interested in where these iconic examples of activist and selective action chattering class ire actually rate against, say, home insulation.

With such information to hand perhaps we can more effectively prioritise the big hits that will make a real difference first, and sweat the small stuff later.

Especially as the shrill nanny nature of most efforts I am seeing so far seem almost inevitably destined to create a backlash from those who are less likely to chain themselves to the local pub's heater whilst sipping a nice chilled Chilean Chablis. And are the ones who really need to be brought onside.

But I guess it sells a few more papers and fills a slot at the end of the news stirring the pot.

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