The main thing we've done since we got here is making everything green. It's an agonising financial experience. We've spent about a hundred grand ...
We have solar panels, and are having photovoltaic panels fitted as soon as we can get hold of them, but the demand is very high. They are full-on energy-producing panels – they will run your lights for you and contribute to the national grid. You can get photovoltaic panels in the UK but the waiting lists are long. Also, the Government has set a cap on grants for installing them, at the same time as saying, "Yes, we are taking climate change seriously!" I am getting my panels in from a Chinese plant, the only one in the world with a really solid eco-record for making them. A lot of these things you buy thinking, "Yes, that's the right thing to do", and then you find out that the carbon footprint caused by construction and transport makes the action useless.
Ah yes. Those famously eco-friendly Chinese. And they're delivered by magic pixie rather than ship.
It's an iron law that the more you parade your green credentials, the more long-distance flights you make - hence all those "Bali from £17.99 if you fly Tuesdays" ads in the Guardian's travel section, and all that one-upmanship about finding somewhere "totally unspoiled" off Sumatra. One can never know how trustworthy the figures are in sites like this or this - one says a return flight to Miami releases the same CO2 as 10,000 miles in a family car, another says return to NY "has as much effect" as that 10K of motoring - something to do with high-altitude CO2 emissions being worse. But the general message is clear.
Our Mr Green is an archetype :
"I first skied when I was 15"
"People who have listened to my Giles Wemmbley Hogg series are sometimes surprised to discover that I am he. I spent a great deal of my gap year in his shoes, travelling round Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia"
"When I was in my twenties, we used to go to Mallorca a lot"
"We spent our honeymoon in Mauritius, at the Paradise Cove Hotel"
"My last three holidays were all snowboarding in Méribel, at the beginning of this year. Ideally I’d like to go for two or three weeks, but what with work and family, I can’t do that. Instead, I go several times for three or four days."
"In summer, we go fairly regularly to Canada"
Guardian commenter CaptainCrunch sums it up neatly :
I can't get over the number of people who claim to be concerned about climate change but still feel the need to take foreign holidays.
Either they really haven't joined the dots between their holiday activities and the global climate, or their outward concern is just an act designed to portray themselves as caring middle-class liberals. Either way, I wish they'd give up the pretence and come right out with it: my travel plans are way more important than the environment.
(Just put the icing on the Giant Cake of Hypocrisy, Mr Brigstocke tootles off on a freebie to the Arctic to tell us all about the horrors of climate change.)
According to his Wikipedia entry, Brigstocke's essential theme is "the hypocrisy of the affluent".