Sunday, March 02, 2008

The higher you look down from, the poorer your view. Or chance of being heard.

Do you feel harassed by eco-snobs?

There’s rather a lot going on in here it’s hard to answer all at once, or simply.

For a start, there the definition of a ‘snob’, which is telling: ‘somebody who looks down on people considered to have inferior knowledge or tastes’.

This places knowledge WITH taste. But in matters environmental, they can often be exclusive.

I certainly feel frustrated by ill-informed, cynically media-stirred e-fashion victims leaping on distracting, minor carbon priority Planet Ban-it banwagons to the delight of those who should be taken task right now and more often for much worse.

That said, effecting social change though trying to influence behaviour for the better IS legitimate, and a bit of PR-influenced social pressure can often be of value... so long as it is valid, accurate and correctly targeted.

The problem is that so much is not, being simply knee-jerk, activist-agenda or politically-motivated public manipulation, ably supported by any media addicted to getting ratings building up an icon... and then getting more smashing it down if proven to be on a shaky pedestal.

Hence making the task of those working more diligently on more coherent, practical and probably more cost and enviROI effective measures, which the public can and might be persuaded to engage with, that more difficult.

So yes, I do have a concern on a backlash, thanks to the cack-handed simplistic messages being pumped out, and the dubious qualifications and motivations of the green-elite messengers so often associated with them.

Hence I think there is the social dimension inferred by the word ‘snob’, and a divide is being driven by the ‘My third car is a Prius’ persons who rather selectively cherry-pick their eco-target du jour at the expense of the broader challenges faced by more climatically significant (in total population) but less financially-insulated Fiesta Family.

That’s not to say we do not need to seek to effect necessary reductions and/or mitigations wherever possible. But by heavens I’d like to see it all done in a less divisive and patronising way than currently. And hence would make a plea for less TELLING each other what not to do and more incentive-driven PERSUADING each other what profit and fun-driven ways there can be to work together on this.

As a minor example, in your picture caption you lampoon Tesco, one presumes being shown up by the M&S/Daily Mail ‘campaign.’.

By my understanding they have long had a policy of giving card points for bringing old bags back, which seems to be a reward-based method for taking the things out of the loop, or at least away from the landfill.

I remain unclear as to the attraction in comparison of paying 5p, and how once used this bag ceases to have the potential to choke a turtle.

Equally, I am still trying to fully understand all the other options, with Charles Clover elsewhere suggesting not all ‘solutions’ bandied about might be as great as claimed.

But looking forward to getting my Eco-bag posted back from you guys. I’ll carry it with pride and endure the joshing with good nature, whilst hoping the cheery example I set might sway a few. Seems to work better than shouting or sneering.

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