It has been a fairly significant few days for the planet.
We witnessed the music world rocking the Earth with a show of strength to tell us all why we should be doing more to save our fragile environment.
Then, every green campaigner’s favourite bogeyman Jeremy Clarkson reared his coiffered head as it emerged the BBC programme he fronts, Top Gear, has just been filming sequences of the team driving around one of the world’s few untouched wildernesses. It is alleged they have caused serious damage to the Makgadikgadi salt pans in Botswana.
Today saw Boeing unveil the world’s mosst environmentally friendly passenger jet plane – now if that isn’t a contradiction in terms, I don’t know what is.
Throw in the amiable Bill Bryson’s appointment as president of the Campaign to Save Rural England and a survey saying most people haven’t the first clue about green motoring and most news lists are dominated by the environment.
So what are we to make of these environmental stories?
To begin with, I doubt Live Earth has changed very much – although Ricky Gervais probably hit the nail on the head by admitting what others were studiously trying to avoid when acknowledging the environmental impact of transporting scores of rock stars around the planet in private jets.
I doubt whether Joss Stone imploring people to dig a little hole and plant just a single tree will actually make a difference, but as with Live 8 and every other grandiose gesture made by the music industry it sold a few more records, gave a few people a nice ego massage and helped the BBC fill a Saturday’s schedule during the notoriously tricky summer months (although they would probably have preferred the show to go on next week after Wimbledon had finished).
Top Gear is a programme made for petrol heads by petrol heads – why is anyone surprised that environmental concerns have absolutely no place on the agenda of this series?
Boeing’s new Dreamliner aircraft undoubtedly is the most environmentally friendly commercial aircraft in existence. But that really isn’t saying much. Yes, it uses greener materials and less fuel than other aircraft, however, it it still leaves a large and damaging carbon footprint.
There are also concerns that if people believe we’ve entered an era of green air travel then even more flights will be criss-crossing the planet in the years to come. Little wonder that many activists have the aviation industry firmly in their sights at present.
Bill Bryson’s love affair with this country is well-documenteed in his many books, so he could well play a big role in keeping England glorious in his new high-profile role.
But, despite all this an the positive and misleading spin being put on most of these stories, perhaps the most significant revelation of recent days is the survey showing that nearly half of car buyers don’t have the first clue about which vehicles are environmentally friendly and which are gas guzzlers.
What it all boils down to is whether consumers, in other words each and every one of us, are ready to make compromises and sacrifices in order to live a greener life.
The power of the pound, dollar, euro, yen and every other currency in our pocket will ultimately dictate whether we’re ready, willing and able to make a positive difference to our environment.