The annual excitement that is the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival began today, so the blue sky of spring was full of the helicopters of the affluent, delivering beautiful people to the racecourse for a day of (mildly) risky excitement, smoked salmon and champagne. It was also full of advertising planes, towing banners - and it was these that irritated a group of gentlemen with whom I was working this afternoon. Looking up, they grumbled and berated not the pilots, nor the firms that were sponsoring the adverts but the green lobby for even thinking that increasing the cost of commercial flights, flights for ordinary people, might be a helpful measure against climate change.
The gist of the conversation was broadly this
In the UK, we're only responsible for 2% of the damage to the world, - if there's really any damage at all. What's that in the grand scheme of things? If I never went on another holiday, it wouldn't help anyone else. And anyway, scientists say that it's possibly not a manmade problem at all. We're just moving naturally into another ice age, that's all. It'll be good when the millionaires houses on the Thames are so close to the flood line that they're being sold off dirt cheap. You could make a killing then...And people like visiting Venice, so if a few more places are under water that will be good for their tourist industries, won't it.
Anyway, until they stop people like those from flying, we don't think its fair if we have to spend more to take our holidays. Global warming just isn't the fault of ordinary people.
This after a winter of such un-natural weather that the crocuses in the garden came into bloom just before Christmas, and the flood plains around Burford have been under water since October at least...
It would not have been helpful for me to start sharing my beliefs fully at that point but I did point out that I knew young people who were seriously proposing not to have children themselves, because they felt the world would not be around to sustain them. That silenced them for a second or two...but they quickly recovered.
If you live in Cheltenham, global warming is not your fault - unless you've invited friends to the Festival.