Mark Daniels: The irony of going green

Related tags Environment

Indeed, a tabloid newspaper has announced this week that beer prices could rise dramatically as climate change affects the production of a key grain...

Indeed, a tabloid newspaper has announced this week that beer prices could rise dramatically as climate change affects the production of a key grain needed to brew beer, with environmental changes in New Zealand and Australia possibly causing a decline in the production of malting barley.

I've long believed that there are two very distinct components to the whole issue of the environment, however: climate change, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon, and global warming, which appears to be a government taxation policy. You only have to look at tax on motorists to understand what I mean.

I drive a 2000 model Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 4.0 litre petrol engine that is neither economical nor politically correct in today's environment, yet because of its age it is actually cheaper to tax this vehicle than its modern day contemporaries, many of which are probably far cleaner.

I don't drive this vehicle because I want to be some form of motoring anarchist, however, but because it is hugely practical for cash and carry runs, versatile enough to take the kids and their paraphernalia of outdoor activity equipment pretty much anywhere, and supremely luxurious for taking the wife out on a rare evening off.

I love it to bits and it's virtually bomb-proof, yet I know I should change it for something a little bit greener. The trouble is, anything newer and greener will cost more to tax and, because of the rampage on vehicles of this type, it is now utterly worthless. I can't afford to get rid of it, and because of that I'm not going to.

This doesn't mean I won't do my bit to help the environment, however. We used to use the car to take the kids to school every day and do two, if not three, runs to the cash and carry each week as business dictated. I would even shove the tubs of empty glass bottles in to the boot and drive the short distance to the bottle bank to dispose of them, but I no longer do many of these things.

Today, the kids catch the bus to and from school every day, and instead of using big plastic tubs I bought a wheelie-bin from a local DIY store and now trudge up the road to the bottle bank with it when it's full. With the MP3 player blaring in my ears, it's actually quite a cathartic trip.

My wife and I shopped around for the best deal with suppliers who deliver and even discovered that our nearest cash and carry offered a delivery service for orders over a certain value. Hooked on the need to make our little village pub as environmentally friendly as possible we even found a company who come along each week and take away our disused vegetable oil to turn it in to penguin-friendly bio-diesel.

Suddenly, we seem to be saving a small fortune in petrol and we aren't wasting precious hours of family time racing back-and-forth between one supplier or another.

I have, however, just worked out that in place of using the Jeep most days, we now get six monstrously large, noxious delivery lorries arriving on our doorstep each week.

You have to love the irony of climate change.

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