Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Green Is The New Black

There's two letters in the Scotsman this morning questioning the energy policies of the main parties on the small matter of electricity generation. It highlights the claims of four over the parties who say. "Labour promises 50 per cent renewable generation by 2050, the SNP 60 per cent, the Greens 80 per cent and the Lib Dems 100 per cent." The letter goes onto say it's wishful thinking and hypocrisy; nothing new there then. This demonstrates all that is s bad in our politics and particularly electioneering. We'll say whatever we think will get us elected and then deal with it all later.

This is particularly true on environmental issues where green has become the new black. Parties feel compelled to demonstrate that they are greener than the next party in ways that are absurd and again have no relevance in the real world. I'm fed up with hearing about carbon-offset programmes, carbon trading and anything else that has carbon in the headline. Do any of the politicians understand these concepts; do any of us? People are turning all this talk into a pseudo scientific business, which is making them money and making us feel even more guilty.

I had an email this week from Book Marketing asking me to participate in the ‘British Book Survey’. It contained the usual questions about where do I buy books, how many etc and about three quarters of the way through it went all environmental on me. It got to a section where it asked If I considered, 'The social and environmental policies of the publishing company' and 'Whether the production of a book was carbon neutral'

From there it went to ask - 'Do you think it would be more environmentally-friendly to buy and read printed books or to download and read books electronically?'

Now I understand the reasons for the question about downloading books, it's been a subject sloshing around publishing for a few years now. But it's suddenly become a green issue. There’s an imperative of guilt being introduced into the equation.

The fact is, if anyone bothered to think about it for just a little while there’s a huge environmental issue over whether we should be downloading books to read on hand held PDAs, computer screens or some other new portable electronic gizmo rather than having them being printed on paper. There’s the cost to the environment of manufacturing these things, the cost of the batteries or the electricity to charge the batteries or device and then there’s the small matter of disposing of the gizmo when we replace it after a few years because some new super whizzy gizmo has come along.

We are becoming a guilt driven society where all forms of pleasure will be denied to us on the basis that they are environmentally damaging. Extreme? Of course it is, but don’t you just feel that’s how things are being presented to us when you watch the news or listen to politicians? I know I do. Oh yes, and having banned books on environmental grounds, then we’ll ban the gizmos because the electricity to power them is becoming scarce because the politicians failed to grasp the small matter of security of production. Society, as we know it, is in for a shock.


Ellee said...

I didn't pinch your headline - honest! But it does have a nice ring about it - great minds, and all that!

Richard Havers said...

No, I didn't think you did. I'm sure I pinched it from somewhere. I can't be that original. For years I've been saying Tweed is the new black. No bugger believes me though!