It struck me a few years ago that our society is in the process of inventing a whole new set of 'sins': eco sins. There have already been instances of 4WD owners being leafleted and picketed for driving gas-guzzlers on the school run, so how long before you become a social outcast for dropping a glass bottle in a normal bin instead of a recycling one?
Seriously, I'm actually very pro-environmental protection, although I still consume more energy and raw materials than I should. For example, how many grammes of CO2 will I generate writing this blog? The mundane answer is that the computer would be on anyway, but apparently a Google search or two could make a cup of tea.
The tricky bit is what makes a positive difference. For example, when I change my car, I intend to replace it with a model that emits less CO2 per km than the one I have now. We have already done that for our other car - a super economical Daihatsu Sirion (118g/km)
NB 2 cars is already bad on the enviro score sheet!
However, our old Xsara is presumably still driving around emitting its 185g/km owned by someone else. There will only be a 'net gain' when it is scrapped. So buying a 'green' car only starts to help when the overall population of cars has the less efficient ones removed from it. Just because I own a much more efficient car doesn't take the other one out, unless I scrap it myself.
And it's not even that straightforward. What about the emissions in design, testing, manufacture, maintenance and eventual disposal/recycling? Jeep would have us believe that they score well here, even if they burn more fuel when on the road. They may be right - I hate to think what a hybrid takes to produce, let alone what nickel mining does to the surrounding landscape.
I guess the best we can do is stick to the obvious - fewer car miles, switch lights/appliances off, recycle everything possible.
Returnable bottles - that's my next campaign!