"This report is essentially an audit of nature's economy, and the audit shows we've driven most of the accounts into the red," commented Jonathan Lash, the president of the World Resources Institute.I've probably never taken the environmental issue as seriously as it deserves and, I would have to confess, the reasons for this aren't at all rational: I first became aware of environmental issues through primary school and television. As it was the 1970s, the customary 25 year forecast fitted rather neatly with the millennium. Now, perhaps my memory has exaggerated it but the general impression I took was that by the year 2000, we'd be all dead or at best choking for breath on a desolate, parched landscape, barely able to scratch a living from a burned-out top soil.
It really involves no exaggeration (I was only 9 or 10) to say this terrified me; I couldn't believe my father's nonchalance, for example, at the destruction of the Rain Forests (which they were forecasting would happen in 2000, of course). I distinctly remember going around the house to check if we had enough plants so that at least the family would still be able to breathe.
Now, I don't want to be a flat earther and I know that there's ample and mounting evidence of global warming but dammit, these tree-huggers unnecessarily terrified a young child and I think it's their bloody fault if I now treat some of the more apocalyptic warnings with a dose of skepticism and I want an apology if I'm going to take all this greeny stuff on board (I did say this wasn't rational).
Which reminds me: one of my erstwhile colleagues (who was partial to a bit of recycling, energy-saving and general environmental do-gooding) was banging on about disposable nappies. Being slightly more realistic and somewhat less self-righteous than the average tree-hugger, she acknowledged that the average parent wouldn't necessarily have time (or, in my case, the inclination) to wash nappies, so she was suggesting tax incentives or some other boring idea for companies that would provide this service.
I had a better idea: all the childless, leisured souls who have got nothing better to do than pontificate about land-fill sites and the like can feckin' shut their gobs, get the finger out and wash everyone else's nappies if they feel so strongly about it. It's a win-win situation: they get to save the planet; we get clean nappies and a bit of respite from their sanctimonious whining.
Needless to say, this idea didn't go down well. Maybe it was all the swearing but in fairness (to me), I'd only had about 5 hours sleep in the last 36 hours.
Then there's cyclists: Nazi cyborgs the lot of them! But that's another irrational rant I'll need to leave for another day; medication time...