When Greens Go Bad

I’m surrounded by brand new Prius’ in traffic. My neighbours have installed solar panels. Organic food is now trendy. Can I afford to be “green” anymore?

THEN (the past 20+ years)


NOW (the past 12 months)


Should my track record be dated back to 1971 I figure that I’d be getting a hefty pay-out from the New Zealand Government Kyoto scheme.

For most of my life I’ve…

  • Worn recycled clothing.
  • Grown our own veges.
  • Had very few appliances – sometimes not even electricity.
  • Wrote letters to politicians and helped save huge tracts of native bush.
  • Very rarely used plastic bags and recycle.
  • (Until recently) mostly used public transport.
  • Used eco-bulbs in the past 5 years.
  • Composted our organic waste.
  • Been a vegetarian/vegan for over 30 years (low environmental impact).
  • Gone around turning off lights and appliances (yes, that was probably me).
  • Only flown overseas six times (and then only over the Tasman Sea).
  • And more…

I’m what some people not that long ago would have called an ‘Extreme Woo Hoo Crazy Green’ .

And then, flying in the face of Climate Change and public opinion, I took a few lifestyle liberties…

  • I bought a small car and now drive to work (this 10 year-old car uses the same amount of fuel as a new Prius).
  • After years of freezing and massive power bills I bought a wood burner.
  • My weekly organic vege-box is transported from 250km away in Hawkes Bay.

And then the comments started flowing from various people:

  • “You should think about car pooling”
  • “That’s not so good for climate change”
  • “Have you thought about food miles?”

Oh yeah, so I’m an EVIL POLLUTER now am I?

But even more irritating are the wealthy people who have not given a toss until recently and are now going out and buying brand new eco-cars, solar panels and eco-homes.

But are they really all that green?

How much energy did it take to build that new car? (Fact: untold more energy than you’ll ever use driving it).

How many of these people go overseas for a holiday every year and burn-up jet fuel?

How many holiday houses do they have sitting empty when NZers can’t even afford a house? (Raumati Beach waterfront is a classic example of this).

Maybe what they’re doing is ultimately better for the planet (long term), but the true greenies (often the poor), cannot afford a $350,000 energy-efficient house, $35,000 Prius and a $3,500 solar panel.

Instead they’re faced with ever-increasing power bills, drafty damp houses and medical bills after being cooped-up with coughing people on the train or bus.

So, while the life-long greenies stay static, the new wave of greenies are leaping into ‘greenie-nirvana’ by simply spending cash.

I’m in two minds…

…thankful that society is taking notice.

…but bitter that those who really need energy efficiency, cost reductions and sustainability are those who will miss out on the green revolution.

One response to “When Greens Go Bad”

  1. John Dumbrille Avatar

    Hey, don’t be bitter, you are doing what you want to do AND it sounds sane. Almost any dictionary – incl wikipedia – see "Green" as more than a handy consumer product. Good blog, by the way.