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Wednesday, February 27

Me! Me! Me!

Reading through the comments online as the Daily Mail launches its campaign against plastic bags is an object lesson in:

  1. intergenerational responsibility
  2. blatant selfishness
I recycle bags, this is about taxing ME, this is inconvenient for ME, I am upstanding, I don't litter ... I, I, I ...

What sort of a future do these sorts of people want for their children (or if they don't have them, like me, the generation of humanity who'll support them as they age)?

They want a future which they're not responsible for - that's for someone else (my bloody local council, Gordon Brown, chavs, my neighbors, politicians etc.). Anyone but me.

It's very very, very easy to put the blame elsewhere but we all make decisions, do actions, do non-actions, which have collectively created the polluted, litter-full world we live in. Angels didn't descend from heaven, spaceships didn't land - humans did it and we're all part of it.

Tellingly, the Mail is hanging it's campaign off the impact of rubbish on glamorous sea creatures. Look at this poor turtle, here's a gull wrapped in a plastic bag. I'm sure they know what they're doing and what works best with Middle England.

But howsabout talking about what sort of world our collective kids will inherit?

It's extremely encouraging that the vast majority of commentators have at least some sense of this at last - that concern for the environment is not about fluffy animals but our kids.

I was chatting about this today and there's one person who I'd pin as responsible for the British change-of-heart and that's David Cameron. He has 'normalised' environmental concern on the Right and thus marginalised the sort of selfish loons who appear to dominate American discourse (and used to in Australia).

None of this is to say that changes by individuals is enough - it's not. But we all (can) vote, we all decide, we can make companies and governments change tack. That's why we like being here, in the UK, rather than, say, Saudi Arabia. The public's opinion is what needs to change and it seems to be happening.

The Mail's campaign is very encouraging and - as they did with UK racism over Stephen Lawrence - it will result in a further normalisation of environmental concern. And that's for the good.


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