… to get seriously worried about the rising tide of fairy lights threatening to engulf our land. Possibly literally. Everything I read about global warming these days seems to go like this:
Scientist: you know how we said that according to our models if we don’t cut carbon dioxide emissions by [insert some date comfortably in the future] we would all die in a pit of our own making?
Public and politicians: Yes…
Scientist: Well, it turns out our models were wrong
P & P: Phew
Scientist: It’s actually much much worse than that. It’s already too late. We’re all going to die. Possibly tomorrow.
Small islands in the Pacific have already disappeared. All the scary tipping points – melting permafrost, drying out peat bogs – are beginning to happen. The US has run out of letters to name hurricanes after. So what do we do? We go out and buy strings of flashing bulbs and musical snowmen and run the things all night outside our houses, where we can’t even see them. Archaeologists of the future dissecting the last dying days of our civilisation will shake their heads and murmur about death wishes. Kyoto protocols and tax on aviation fuel and encouraging people to use their cars less and building wind farms – those things are difficult and complicated and involve compromise and long negotiations and we don’t have time for them. But banning electricity-wasting Christmas decorations would be easy. Nobody would be inconvenienced, the fairy light factories could be converted to make low energy lightbulbs and we would save (according to the Institute of Physics) 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. And as an added bonus, I wouldn’t have to walk past the wretched singing santa outside the cafe at Vauxhall Cross every morning.
Anyway, there’s one set of flashing lights I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of at any time of the year – the jolly little orange ones on the sides of cars. This evening about half a dozen drivers took one look at me waiting to cross the junction at Kew Bridge, decided I was clearly psychic, and turned left without so much as a single flash of their indicators. How hard is it to turn on your indicators? Or does the little ticking noise interfere with your enjoyment of the music? Next time, just think how much more annoying it would be to have to stop, get out, and scrape bits of pedestrian off the front of your car.
This is my last blogging day before Christmas. Tomorrow I go up to Scotland in a convoluted journey involving trains, tubes, a taxi, picking up keys and a car at a secret location in Scotland and rendezvousing variously with a stray cousin, a crate of beer and the rest of my family. Happy Christmas to all my loyal readers and I shall be back after the festivities are safely over.