The great dichotomy of our times, given that everybody knows we all agree that environmental yadda yadda is the globe’s greatest concern, is how come, now everyone’s on side for planet-saving, nobody wants to vote for the saviours? Why is the green movement unable to make any appreciable dent in a western democracy? Nobody likes politicians, but apparently we like green politicians even less.
The truth is, environmentalists are just not attractive. They’re not winning, engaging, amusing or empathetic. They are ranty, repetitive, patronising, demanding, deaf, weirdly bonkers and smelly. Environmentalists are the nutters with degrees in composting who sit next to you on the bus.
But that’s not their real impediment. The real killer thing is the schadenfreude: the naked, transparent, hand-rubbing glee with which they pass on every shame, sadness and terror. No disaster is too appalling or imminent that the green movement can’t caper and keen with a messianic glee.
This is a real problem. Or, rather, it’s a serious blockage on the road to solving the real problem. Eco-advocates are viscerally unconscionable people. The enormous, vicarious pleasure they get from frightening folk makes them repellent, and they get all hurt when we don’t thank them for it. Nobody wants to trust a future to a bunch of malcontents who plainly have so much of their self-worth and cachet invested in it all going to hell in a recycled handcart.
This isn’t merely a question of presentation, or marketing, or tone, or spin, this is serious cultural blindness and childish arrogance. Green campaigners are a larger part of the problem than jumbo jets and cow farts, and if your children drown in rising seas, or die of thirst or skin cancer, well, you can just blame the Green Brigade for being so crawlingly unattractive.