I like reading articles by George Monbiot – he’s an investigative journalist and writes columns in the Guardian on a broad swathe of environmental issues. Anyway on Friday I watched an interview where George declared that we need to use the phrase “climate breakdown, as calling it climate change is like calling an invading army unexpected guests…” A stark reminder of the challenges ahead.
But given the time of year I wondered, does George struggle to reconcile the excessive consumption of the festivities in the face of what he regularly writes about?Does he bristle at the first sign of wanton gifts to him or his immediate family – products of materialism and endless consumption? Would he seek the receipt to exchange the “made-in-sweat-shop” tea set for a leafy plant or a bird feeder? Do his friends and relatives make him a little craft item, bake him a cake or give him the gift of a tree planted in some forest regeneration project? Just wondering.
Perhaps George is like Batman – during the day he’s a normal guy and at night he’s a environmental activist and campaigner telling us all the grim stuff that we’d prefer not to acknowledge. I wouldn’t blame him if he called himself Norman and drank pints on Tuesday afternoons.
In societies like Ireland where alcohol has a damaging grip it’s sometimes said, “You don’t need drink to enjoy yourself.” The bearer of this wisdom is often insulted, belittled (damn party pooper / born again) or directly challenged by a comment such as, “But it helps…” Maybe drink does help wit fun but hangovers are a bitch. Equally trying to debate the rationale for a less materialistic Christmas generally falls on deaf ears. If you persist with well meaning lecturing be prepared to be compared with Scrooge.
Personally I just try to blank out the excess, choose my gifts carefully and for the sake of the kids, let them enjoy their new toy or trinket. Sorry, if you were expecting to find a man of principles in this article I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere.
But one thing I can say with conviction, have a Merry Christmas George, wherever it finds you.