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.

What’s wrong with these service providers?


I am generally not that cynical, but after quite a few experiences with service provides here in the UK I have grown angry and frustrated with the way they handle customers.

The latest shock for me was to realize that I have been charged the full broadband fee by Toucan after two months of disconnection and transferring my account to Sky broadband, I had been with Toucan for more then two years but when I switched to Sky and called for MAC code from Toucan they told me that I was entered into a new Contract since I changed my broadband package from 2MB to 8MB 10 months ago, and I could not transfer until the contract expired, that’s just great!  Specially when this was not even mentioned to me when I switched from 2BM to 8MB. However being a good customer I kept on paying two more months to both Toucan and Sky and once the contract expired got the MAC code from Toucan and supplied to Sky and got the connection switched, my Toucan online account said that the account was marked for disconnection. The Direct Debit was also cleared from my bank account. Now after two months while going through my emails I realise that I am still being billed by toucan and on checking my Direct Debit setup I realised that Toucan had again setup the Direct Debit and were charging me L .

In my anger I could not sleep the whole night and called toucan customer services first thing in the morning and gave them my peace of mind, their argument was that Sky had not informed them about the MAC code being activated by them, the general excuse like always, place the blame on someone else L  and hide your incompetency. Toucan have said that they will return my money, but still all of this had left me with a very bitter feeling about Toucan and their services, the broadband speed itself was horrible.

The moral of all this post is not to trust in anything these service providers say and bug them until you get what you want otherwise they will find ways to stitch you up, and bring grief to you. Had the same experience when I switch from npower to Scottish Power Last year for my Electricity and Gas supply and they not only made me lose money but kept me in limbo for 3 months or so L , so my suggestion is to adopt a no trust policy when working with any service providers, and keep yourself alert and informed of all their rules and regulations.

Anybody else like to share their experience and anguish is most welcome 🙂 , suggestions to avoid such situation will be great.