Friday, October 19, 2007

Excessive hypocrisy

It is Friday afternoon and the end of the working week. An unusual week for me in that I have been in the country the whole time, working Monday from home and the rest of the week in the office, near Rotterdam.

The mornings are getting noticeably darker (and colder - in fact we might even get some frost this weekend), especially the last two when it has been cloudy and people have been cycling around with lights on their bikes. In two weeks time the clocks will be put back and it will be lighter again. It is a nice time of the day to be hurtling through the countryside, with the sun lighting up the still green grass in the meadows, catching the bright colours of the cows and sheep which have still been left out to graze in the fields (soon they will be put away into their stalls for the winter). The countryside is mostly poldered and there are regular ditches, full of water, running in parallel at a diagonal to the rail track and it is nice to catch the rays on the sun as they reflect off the still water and off the feathers of the swans, ducks and geese which live on the water.

It is a lot better than a metro ride in Paris or an underground ride in London, where the journey, although much shorter takes as much time and then in crowded sweaty carriages. There is always space to sit and time to lean against the window and close one’s eyes and have a nap. A pity that I have not yet got into the habit of reading a good book, being happy and lazy enough to read the free newspapers, starting off always with Dagblad De Pers, which I have already mentioned is a very good paper, to be compared very favourably with some of the regular newspapers you have to pay for. Instead of printing news releases from the main agencies they have their own journalists reporting interesting stories from around the world, often on very different themes to what is being reported in all the other newspapers. In particular there is a lot of emphasis on positive stories from Africa and the Middle East and Eastern Europe as well as covering green issues, which is always welcome. Just they have a silly columnist, an old right-wing politician who is allowed to spout off about things, but never mind.

One very silly thing about these papers, and The Independent newspaper in the UK in particular is that whatever their green credentials may be on the front pages and opinion columns they cannot resist promoting excessive and unnecessary consumption by having articles and whole supplements devoted to the newest trends, fashions, gadgets, cars, holiday destinations, expensive hotels, second homes in Eastern Europe, the latest choice in tropical hardwood garden furniture or the latest designs for garden heaters, winter barbecues and the like. Complete and utterly wasteful consumption, the kind of which is killing the planet and its various animal and vegetable inhabitants.

Today in De Pers, we had to read about the plight of the pygmies in Central Africa whose fate is going to be similar ot the Indians of the Amazon Basin, as the World Bank sponsored projects are building roads into the forest to allow the timber companies in (mostly Malaysian and Singaporean owned) to cut down their trees, kill the animals for food and bring diseases - just so that we Europeans can have our nice maintenance free wooden garden furniture for their winter barbecues, which were featured in last week's 'Trends' section of the paper.

Shameful hypocrisy.. I just wonder if anyone else notices all this nonsense?


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