Friday, 8 August 2008

Being green is not cool

The most read article on Times Online today is one written by Alice Thomson on "Suddenly being green is not cool anymore."

She quotes Julie Burchill, who can't stand the eco-warriors, describing them as "po-faced, unsexy, public school alumni who drivel on about the end of the world because they don't want the working classes to have any fun, go on foreign holidays or buy cheap clothes."

But she cites the main reason for a cultural shift away from being green as being the credit crunch.

I have always had rather 'light green' principles, which have stopped far short of solar panels on my roof. I have tried to embrace an organic lifestyle as much as possible, mostly eating organic, Fair Trade, and seasonal food, not buying cut flowers from Africa (see previous post on flowers) and using natural beauty products (some of the time). But this probably comes more out of a concern for my health and the ethical treatment of others, rather than the environment. But yesterday I bought a tin of non-organic tomatoes for the first time in ages, because they were 44p compared to 88p for the organic ones.* I covertly ran to the till before some eco-spy saw me doing it...

A friend who studied Agriculture at university gave me a lecture recently about buying organic food, saying it is a London middle-class phenomenom (as in the Times article) but that people in developing countries were never going to be able to eat organically as the yield from an organic crop is much lower than a non-organic crop, and how we have a whole world to feed. It made me think.

*This was in Waitrose. I live equidistant from Waitrose and Lidl - I should check out if Lidl has a cheaper organic option.

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