It is now 9 months since I presented the idea of ‘Carbon-Neutral Cuddington’ to the Cuddington Parish Council and, I’m afraid to say, I have little progress to report. There was a flurry of interest and activity when the village was in the running for the national village of the year competition, but since then we have aborted a group meeting and participation has been minimal.
It seems that throughout the UK, with certain noble exceptions, ‘The Environment’ is seen as a bore. People do a bit of recycling, often complaining that it’s probably a waste of time as ‘it all goes to China anyway’, and may install a few lightbulbs. But if one suggests putting in some serious effort, or changing the way things are done, or heaven forbid, some expense, then the look goes blank with incomprehension. People can get quite emotional about their ‘right’ to have as big an environmental footprint as they want.
Many people acknowledge that there IS a problem, but usually say that they believe there will be a technical fix that will rescue the situation…. IF Global Warming is a reality of course. (It is, by the way.)
The local hall was full for a showing of the film ‘The Age Of Stupid’ the other night, in which the question was asked, why didn’t the known threat of global warming in the first decade of the new millenium provoke a ‘Dunkirk spirit’? Why didn’t people take on the challenge and start to behave as if there were a threat to their entire planet and to their grand-childrens’ entire existence?
This is the question that is vexing me. Al Gore says that it is because we lack the political leadership to take the challenges on, and I agree with him. People seem unlikely to demand that leadership is shown on the environment whilst it remains more comfy to continue with business as usual.
Political leadership is at every level. A few of us around here are trying to kick start the process, but are currently kicking a lead football, and it hurts.