Power To The People

Having spent time discovering the wonders of New York City, I’d drawn up our list of all the usual sights to see and we had the sore feet and empty wallets to prove it!  I think we were the only happy faces in that neighbourhood in that month. Anyway, if you’ve ever experienced the ‘Big Apple’ you’ll know that everything is done to excess yet I had thought that the energy saving ethos may have filtered through, even just a little bit. I had thought that perhaps recycling may have caught on, even in a small way. Well, as Sir Richard Branson was signing his latest tome in an excessively illuminated Times Square and Nigella Lawson was cooking up a storm of culinary delights on daytime TV I saw no evidence that New Yorkers were aware of their extravagant excesses and their effect on global warming. I saw mountains of perfectly good food being thrown away as one restaurant after another competed to see who can give the largest mountainous portions of food to their ever expanding clientele. At home in Gretton we have adopted the use of energy saving light bulbs in our attempt to save power. We recycle and compost everything. Our cistern has a brick in it just to save that extra bit of water. Yet, as I stood in the centre of Manhattan at midnight, I wondered ‘what is the point?’ The place was burning an amazing amount of electricity, probably in much the same way as every other western city at that time of night. They say that New York never sleeps, well; perhaps it’s time for a reality check and a bit of a kip. It seems to me that there is one moralistic rule for one set of principals and another for the rest. It brought to mind another recent event which was hailed as one of the most successful and expensive of its kind: as if, somehow, that made it all so right. It might seem churlish to criticise the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympic Games and yet not once did I hear a single commentator comment with horror on the sheer magnitude of wasted power and energy. You see, that’s the problem with being a ‘spoil sport’, it’s often the truth that no one wants to hear. Well, none of this will stop us from using our energy saving light bulbs, not because we particularly like them, but because one day someone will be the last one to switch the last light off as they leave the building: forever.


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