Sacrifice What?

I’ve noticed the word “sacrifice”, or variations on it, popping up in discussions of global warming recently. The deniers and nay-sayers gleefully tell us that “ordinary people” won’t be able or willing to make the sacrifices- ie lifestyle changes- necessary to cut carbon dioxide output. I believe they are insulting the very people they pretend to champion, under estimating what the average citizen is capable of.

Sadly, too many Greens have taken up this idea and talk of the troubles we face. All talk of sacrifice suggests we’ll have to go back to the Dark Ages to cut consumption.

It’s all nonsense, of course. What’s needed is a fresh look at just what we’d be giving up and a more honest description of it. So let’s make a few sacrifices. Let’s sacrifice-

Paying too much for bland, boring food that’s over packaged and shipped halfway around the world. Research has shown that local shops and markets are consistently cheaper than the supermarket chains. They’re also friendlier, put more money into the local economy and stock foods you won’t find on Tesco’s shelves.

Burning money running a status symbol that increasingly says bad things about you, that is a danger to everyone on the road- including its occupants- and spends most of its life carting nothing more substantial than air. If people took the time to find the largest car they needed, rather than the ideal vehicle for a trek across Alaska with the extended family, they could save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds a year without sacrificing any of the convenience and comfort of having a car. Of course, it would be best if they could leave the car behind more often as well, but maybe they’d learn that when they realised how little they really needed it.

Teaching children to be unhealthy and dependent on others. They could walk to school, getting exercise, building self confidence and teaching them to do stuff for themselves. It would probably make them safer in other ways as well. Recognising, and being recognised in, their neighbourhood should help children spot trouble such as the mythical danger stranger if it ever appeared.

Paying exorbitant energy bills because our filament bulbs use more energy making heat than they do making light. Really, when a decent compact fluorescent bulb will pay for itself in less than a year, why do people insist on the false economy of filament bulbs?

That’s just a sample. Next time someone tells you the culture won’t change because of the sacrifices involved try one of them as a reply. We’re all in a position to make sacrifices which actually leave us better off as well as helping the environment. When we’ve pocketed the money from them, more drastic action will be less painful and easier to contemplate.