If the biosphere is wrecked, it will not be done by those who couldn’t give a damn about it, as they now belong to a diminishing minority.
It will be destroyed by nice, well-meaning, cosmopolitan people who accept the case for cutting emissions, but who won’t change by one iota the way they live, says George Monbiot in The Guardian
I know people who profess to care deeply about global warming, but who would sooner drink Toilet Duck than get rid of their Agas, patio heaters and plasma TVs, all of which are staggeringly wasteful. A recent brochure published by the Co-operative Bank boasts that its “solar tower” in Manchester “will generate enough electricity every year to make 9 million cups of tea”.
On the previous page it urges its customers “to live the dream and purchase that perfect holiday home … With low cost flights now available, jetting off to your home in the sun at the drop of a hat is far more achievable than you think.”
Environmentalism has always been characterised as a middle-class concern; while this has often been unfair, there is now an undeniable nexus of class politics and morally superior consumerism.
People allow themselves to believe that their impact on the planet is lower than that of the great unwashed because they shop at Waitrose rather than Asda, buy Tomme de Savoie instead of processed cheese slices and take eco-safaris in the Serengeti instead of package holidays in Torremolinos.
In reality, carbon emissions are closely related to income: the richer you are, the more likely you are to be wrecking the planet, however much stripped wood and hand-thrown crockery there is in your kitchen.