Now, you probably think I’m going to hit you with the usual nonsense about recycling more, flying less and generally living a more miserable existence, on the off-chance that it might help to save the planet in some tiny useless way.
Well, I’m not! Maybe because I travel abroad a lot, I see the situation a little clearer from an outside perspective. Because what I really think is that we Brits, whilst having many admirable qualities, are just too damn polite. And it might just be the death of us!
Just look at what’s happened in recent years — the government reduces the country’s standard of living to such a degree that people can barely afford to heat their houses or keep their families fed, and there’s barely a whimper. The water companies pollute our rivers and then award their CEOs massive bonuses for their incompetence, and yet most people seem more concerned about the latest celebrity scandal. The NHS is crumbling, along with our schools, councils are going bankrupt, and aside from the odd cry of injustice, the majority of the British public just say, “Oh bother” and go back to politely sipping their Indian tea.
The country is falling apart before our very eyes, and no-one seems willing to do anything about it. Are we in a mass sense of denial? Are we simply apathetic and resigned to our fate after years of austerity, cutbacks and broken promises (not to mention the countless follies of New Labour)? Or, do we feel too powerless in the face of geopolitics and heartless corporations to make our voices heard?
Well, whatever it is, it’s got to stop. Because this attitude simply isn’t sustainable, and no amount of plastic straws or meat free meals is going to change that, nor will it help to solve the problems that we as a country collectively face.
We need the rebel spirit of the ULEZ protesters. Because whilst I don’t encourage or condone illegality of any kind, when the public voice is no longer being listened to, democracy has failed on the most fundamental level. And that’s exactly the time when the people should stand up and say, “Enough is enough”.
I DO NOT agree with any of the so called ‘environmental’ protests from Just Stop Oil and other such Muppets that have dominated the headlines over recent months, but I sure as hell support their right to do it. Because the right to protest is a fundamental freedom in any country that calls itself a democracy. It’s how we hold those in power to account when they don’t conduct themselves with the integrity that their position demands.
So make your voice heard, in whatever small way you can, sign petitions, start petitions, write to your MP, see what can be done in your neighbourhood to help the local community. And just as importantly, don’t be afraid to call out any bullshit when you hear it. Refuse to capitulate to outright lies and hypocrisy ( which by the way encompasses a lot of the sustainability world these days!! ) by exercising your political rights and exploiting any power that you have, however seemingly small and insignificant.
Gandhi once said to “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Now, this could be dismissed as overused trite, but I believe that it’s repeated so often because it communicates a simple yet powerful truth — idealistic, yes. Naive? Perhaps. But maybe idealism is exactly what we need right now. Because if apathy breeds inaction and idealism breeds change – then which do you think we need more of right now?