Apathy and the environment…is it too little too late?

Feeling slightly annoyed this morning and a little bit fed-up…

At least the sun is shining!

As I was having a cup of coffee still bleary eyed this morning, I heard a story being discussed on the news in regards to a UN report describing an urgent need to treble our use of renewable energy or face a massive and dramatic increase in dangerous levels of global warming. Not good news – at all. Living in Central London, I have become fed-up recently of breathing in so much cigarette smoke, smelling pollution and feeling as though my chest is getting tighter by the minute when I’m going to buy a loaf of bread. It has got worse in recent years and I have been here nearly a decade now.

That isn’t the only thing I’m annoyed with though.

My husband recently bought an ‘e-go’ electric bike which I think is brilliant. I wish everyone thought the same. Hopefully some people do. As he has had a lot of health problems and enjoys cycling, it seems to work better for him as a way of getting around the city. It isn’t as hard on his body and he has more energy to do other things. Not only that, there are no carbon emissions and he isn’t putting an extra strain on the environment and people’s health.

Sensible yes? You would think.

He came home and told me that a car driver had slowed down, rolled down his window and literally laughed at the fact he was riding the bike. It looked ‘gay’ apparently. ‘You need number plates for that mate!’ Ah no, it is classified as a bicycle. As long as it meets the EAPC rules, it doesn’t need to be registered and taxed. It doesn’t go more than 15 mph and he has a licence anyway (even though he doesn’t need it in this instance). This guy didn’t even know what it was! My partner explained exactly what it was and why it was good to use. Blank expression in response. If that is the case, how are we going to change our collective attitude towards global warming then? That is depressing and quite unbelievable.

If this is the kind of prejudice and hostility you meet when you are actually trying to improve not just your own life, but the life of other people around you, I am deeply concerned for the environmental future of the planet. We need to wake up and smell the fossil fuels. It is reaching crisis point as scientists are pointing out. Do we even have the time we need to sort this? If by ‘time’, we mean reforming people’s attitudes towards alternative energy, that is going to be a challenge and a half considering the level of severity. A lot more needs to be done to get it into people’s heads that we need to change the way we live in order to survive.

Instead of starting wars with other countries and hating and killing each other, why not (maybe) start dealing with real problems? Slagging someone off on the street on a busy Saturday afternoon for riding an electric bike is doing nobody any favours.

Being an individual doesn’t mean standing out from the crowd as a celebrity. Of course, as a nation, we are all so obsessed with that one and doing selfies is so important isn’t it? The perfect picture. (Don’t get me started on that one either). Being an individual means making a choice that exempts you from what is regarded as ‘the norm’. Here’s another picture – soon we won’t be able to breathe and eat properly if we don’t wake up soon. If you want to do something different in life, be prepared to feel very alone, even if it is the right thing to do.

(Apparently). Rant over.

© Christina McDonald 2014.

Here are the EAPC rules:
Sources:
https://www.gov.uk/electric-bike-rules

BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27007486

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