People Just Aren’t Interested

Oh dear.

We’ve just installed solar water heating, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, and it’s working brilliantly. Completely, so far, doing away with the need for any additional gas water heating.

But, what’s the first thing the neighbours said when we first encountered them this week after the installation?
“Did you get planning permission?”

Not, What a good idea, How is it working, Tell us about it. Glad to see that someone is trying to make a difference.

OK, we live in a conservation zone. But as long as the installation doesn’t protrude more than 20cm, there’s no need – I have it in writing – for local authority permission. And, Severn Water rapidly stumped up £1000 towards the cost with not a quibble, with a further £400 from the Government’s Carbon Buildings Trust, and those grants together covered a quarter of installation

Somebody wants us to do this. But ordinary folk? They/we may worry (sometimes) about climate change and the implications for our children and grandchildren. But, DO something serious about it? Or support the immediate neighbours if that changes your accustomed view? That’s a different story. Not In My Back Yard.

And there is more this week. Last night at the Frontline Club in London, where discussions about Obama’s foreign policy, or the Middle East, or press freedom, or the future of newspapers otherwise pack them in, the Club’s first serious discussion about climate change and the approaching “perfect storm” with Labour MP Colin Challen attracted, perhaps, 35 people.

Compared to the usual standing-room-only 120 or so.

Challen has just published a book on the politics of climate change, Too Little Too Late, and has long been one of the most vocal activists in Parliament pressing for much more investment in alternative technology and climate change mitigation.

Clearly, those at the meeting last night were a self-selected group of those already engaged with climate change – and indeed, in a quick hands-raised poll, about half agreed that it’s already too late for the survival of our current civilisation.

But, otherwise, let’s face it, the human race doesn’t want to know. And when humanity’s (and journalists’ and our Cotswold neighbours’) collective alarm systems do fire, it will – it really will – be too late. And probably very messy.

How soon? A therapist friend gives it two years. I perhaps would give it five. In the meantime, I think I do after all need to cycle around the world. While stocks last.

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