That people who own SUVs – dubbed 4x4s in the U.K., should be incarcerated is but one of a handful of distinctly odd, and almost certainly unproductive, ideas to get people in Britain to reduce their carbon emissions by 10 percent by 2010. Another is to wear a 10:10 necklace as reminder of one’s moral commitment to save the planet.
To Brendan O’Neill, writing in the Guardian newspaper, the necklaces reminded him “more than anything else of those youthful members of the religious right in the US who take pledges to be decent people, only where they “just say no” to sex and alcohol, the 10:10 supporters ‘just say no’ to junk food and flights.”
But the real problem is not blinged out environmentalism – it’s environmentalism that blinds itself to genuine solutions to global warming by reducing it to sacerdotal and ultimately trivial rituals. As O’Neill notes:
“There is a glaring disconnect between the scaremongering employed by environmentalists and their proposed solutions. In one breath they tell us we face the worst crisis in human history, one which will make “genocide and ethnic cleansing look like sideshows at the circus of human suffering”, and in the next they tell us we can avoid this disaster by wearing thermal underwear instead of turning on the heat and going to Leon instead of McDonald’s.
No wonder “ordinary people” aren’t enthusiastically signing up to the environmentalist ethos. They know it simply doesn’t make sense to say that we face an enviro-holocaust and then to claim we can prevent it by not taking a cheap flight to Majorca.”
More to the point, the hoopla generated by the 10:10 campaign, as it is called, distracts from scientific solutions. As O’Neill notes, while activists were donning necklaces at the Tate Modern gallery to mark the launch of 10:10, Britain’s Royal Society was urging investment in geo-engineering – something vociferously opposed by British environmentalists.