We need to talk about hypocrisy.
hypocrisy hɪˈpɒkrɪsi noun
The practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case.”his target was the hypocrisy of suburban life”
It is a word that I have heard often used in and around the climate debate. The gathering of world leaders arriving by private jet, only then to be whisked around Glasgow in massive convoys of gas guzzling luxury vehicles. The eco-warriors who chug around in old vans and take sneaky foreign holidays. The virtue signallers who fill their expensive houses with eco-technology and their garages with Tesla supercars whilst having a carbon footprint many times that of their neibours.
The COP has started with some interesting announcements. Two proto-fascists (Modi and Bolsanaro) have made big promises. Even BJ has said things that make people like me nod in agreement. Now we just need action.
I have even heard Rainbow Warrior called hypocritical for forcing traffic to stop over a bridge whilst it sailed upstream to protest outside the COP. Or protesters who glued their hands to the road called hypocrites because an ambulance might have to take a detour.
Then there is my own hypocisy. I grow my own veg, try to live simply and in ways that do as little damage to the environment as possible. I write pompous poems and try to convince others of the rightness of my cause. I have decided not to fly anywhere ever again. Meanwhile I drive a diesel car, and live a live of comfort that most of the world could not dream of in my own house, surrounded by my own land. Even though I try to eschew consumerism, I am not immune to the allure of gadgets, even though I already have far too much stuff.
But there are worse things to be. Better to reach out towards something good than never reach at all.
It has been said there are three kinds of people
Hypocrites (whose actions never match their ambition)
Cynics (mostly only adept at calling out hypocrites) and
The morally pure who could throw that first stone
(If it were ethically permissible)
Me, I know what I am, for
Like St Paul, if I rise on my own pride
A thorn in my side soon bursts my bubble
I crash back to earth and lie
But intent is not nothing
Better hypocrite than cynic
For there is no fool more foolish than
Those who only see the fool in others
Who see a brick as something to throw
When in fact it a palace in embryo
A school seed
It is the foundation of my teetering tower