I am constantly amazed at the antagonism that many people hold towards those who claim to be ‘green’ or to care for the environment. To me it seems perverse. An analogy that comes to mind is that of a group of friends who find the dream share house to rent. The house is huge, beautifully furnished with the very best quality furnishings and materials, it is freshly and immaculately painted. The kitchen is packed with all of the latest gadgets and, of course, top-of-the-range stove and cookware. The bathrooms have spas and large walk-around showers, and all of the bedrooms have 52″ television screens on the wall opposite the foot of the king size bed.
The garden is vast, with plants and trees of myriad variety, flowers, fruit and vegetable proliferate, and birds, in all their splendour, flock to the lush, green haven. A grand, shiny, stainless steel BBQ is set adjacent to the huge swimming pool, and garden furniture is set up in the shade around fishponds and fountains.
The friends, myself included, are in absolute awe. How could we be so lucky as to land this one? We move in and, within a very short time I find that my house-mates are not as respectful of the property as I may have expected them to be. Pretty soon there are cigarette burns on the carpet, dirty marks and scratches on the walls and paintwork. Furniture is torn and damaged. The kitchen is a mess – no one washes up or puts away. The bathrooms become filthy, the toilets blocked.
The original group of friends has blown out to three or four times the original number with people sleeping all over the place. There are wild parties most nights and the antics in the garden by day have driven the birds away.
Out in the garden the grass is knee high and the flower beds are overgrown with weeds. Empty beer and wine bottles clutter the long grass, newspapers and other paper and plastic waste blows around in the breeze. The swimming pool is no longer safe to swim in – who knows what one may contract!
When I protest they turn on me. “Ah piss off, you’re just a bloody cleanie!”