Do I care about being green?


Today I had a heated debate about being concerned for being green and environmentally friendly, I was very straight forward in saying that I did not care much about it specially when it comes to spending money or give away money for being green. After paying so much taxes in the form of income tax, sales tax and what not at such a high rate, government and other organizations are still inclined to take more money from our pockets based on some new fancy reason. Their attitude of give me everything you have completely annoys me, coming from a third world country where the tax rate was very low and I was able to do much more saving it seems to me an organized theft the way government and organizations convince people to give away money.

I am not saying that global warming or pollution is not an issue, it is an issue and people who feel strong about it should empty their pockets for it, but the issue is about being forced by law to contribute for a cause that in your view is not a priority.  All my life my family in Pakistan bought water of water tankers since we did not use to get water through water supply lines, so I have developed a habit of conserving water, and that hasn’t changed even after coming to London, same is the case with electricity , we used to get 1 hour of load shedding  each day in summer (For the more fortunate ones who don’t know what load shedding is, its not getting electricity in the house when you turn on the lights, cause the national Grid cannot generate enough electricity, and powerful countries have stopped you from setting up nuclear plants to generate energy)  and since then I have a habbit of turning off unused lights in the house. So if you ask me I do my bit for the environment.

Coming from a third world country where there is a huge majority of people specially children who are malnourished and do not have clothes to wear or place to live is a much bigger issue for me then being green, if I have to support a cause with money then I would support the cause to save the people who are currently alive and later think about what our children will do because of global warming. The money that we decide to give for causes like carbon offset for a flight (I was told proudly by a colleagues sometime ago that he paid some big airline 35 pounds for his carbon footprint to travel to malasia) is a  joke to me, the same money can be donated to UNICEF http://www.unicef.org/  to fund food for a child that can last him few weeks. Giving 5 pounds a week to save a Dog is great for some, but after seeing 6 , 7 year old children half clad with no slippers in December finding food in the garbage cans, my heart does not feel at all inclined to give money to save an animal, I would rather give money to save a human being.

It seems to me after talking to people here in London, that they have got no clue as to how people are living in the under developed countries, when people are not certain if they will be able to feed themselves and their families in the next 24 hours or not then how can they be bothered about things like climate change, these are fancy things to consider by developed countries who created the mess with their industrial revolution in the first place.

I am bitter about this yes, and I am angry at myself as well, because I did not do what I could when I used to drive to work in Islamabad and used to pass by the Afghan Refugee Camp,  Afghan Women and Children were forced to leave their country after American invasion and come for refuge in Pakistan , with most families with no males to protect and earn, I saw women and children collecting paper and plastic from garbage dumps to sell to small companies for recycling, generally being paid not enough to even get one full meal for the family.  Those images are engraved on my heart the misery and pain of humanity.

Same is the case for Africa, since there are not much Oil resources in Africa so the power hungry nations are not bothered about them, and since they are not bothered and they control the media so they are more concerned about things that affect them rather then people dying in other parts of the world which just makes heading once a month or when some great disaster happens and then goes in the background.

But all is not lost here, there are wonderful organizations that are doing a lot, and are making a change, If I am man enough to do anything then I would do for such great causes and when these issues are sorted I will think about working or spending money for less urgent causes like climate change. For me the priority is to save a hungry child now rather then saving a dog or saving the planet, for now I will leave the saving the world thing to the supermen or superwomen of the world, the least I can do is to pray and donate my money to a child in need.

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2 thoughts on “Do I care about being green?

  1. So the interesting thing about both climate change and international development is that it’s not about throwing money at the problem, it’s about changing behaviours and politics.

    There’s definitely a strong argument for helping people “now”, and perhaps in 100 years time they’ll be in a stronger position to help themselves from the effects of rising seas (Bangladesh).

    The two are not completely separate. It’s likely that we will see millions of people displaced, and increased famine because of our western lifestyles. Of course, this will all happen to the most vulnerable, those least possible to protect themselves from the effects.

    For example, Bangladesh and Holland are in similar situations with respect to land mass – Bangladesh will suffer hard, whilst Holland can afford to build flood defences.

    In the same way that we should encourage Trade not Aid, we should also encourage behaviour change, not carbon offsetting. Short term cash doesn’t work. Changing the paradigm does.

    Fundamentally, people need to care about both poverty and sustainability, understand the relationship, change their lifestyles and put pressure on politicians to take action, otherwise we’re all fucked.

  2. Thanks for your comment Tom, I totally agree with you, and that is what I have realised since doing some more investigation on the subject, that an attitude change is what can make the difference. If at personal level we just be more aware of what we use and how to use it , that will make a lot of difference, small things like not using plastic bags , and if we do then try to recycle it can make a lot of difference.

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