Ever since I read Nick Hornby?s About a Boy, in which the hero measures his coolness quotient, I?ve kept a little inventory of my own cool status. For instance, I?m sitting here in Nicole Farhi grey flannel trousers (5pts). The top button doesn?t do up (deduct 5pts). I saw the new film 2 Days in Paris in Paris (5pts). The French was so fast I needed subtitles (deduct 5pts).
Actually now that Green is the new ?cool?, I?ve been scoring higher. When you live in the country, it?s easier to be Green than cool. For example, I have my own farmer?s market every week, nestled in the old sheep pens (10pts). Every other Friday, I go to Waitrose and buy hunks of Parmesan Reggiano, Lavazza coffee, Puy lentils (deduct 5pts). I have my own vineyard, which dramatically cuts down on road, sea and air miles (10pts). Each evening, I yearn for a glass of Forest Ville Napa Valley Merlot (deduct 10pts plus 5pts off because Merlot is now uncool).
If this sounds ?Green lite?, I can do better. I know Al Gore (100pts). I haven?t seen him since we were in the Religious Club together at school (deduct 50pts). I voted for him seven years ago (10pts). It didn?t count (incalculable). Last Christmas, we watched An Inconvenient Truth instead of It?s a Wonderful Life (5pts). My family called it ?How Al Grinch Stole Christmas? (deduct 10pts). Still, I?ve soldiered on: I?ve banned plastic bags from Wyken despite complaints from customers. My house is a bottled-water free zone. But frankly, I?m beginning to lose heart. It?s not just all those stories about a new coal mine opening in China every 48 hours, nor even the voice of David Attenborough pointing out that, as the ancient sea turtle deposits her doomed eggs in the sand, a chemical plant is being built 100 yards away. No, what has me feeling forlorn is the way the movement has been hijacked by self-righteous politicians hell bent on legislation that won?t save a single polar bear.
Of course, I want energy-guzzling lightbulbs phased out, but I?m terrified that when the 2011 deadline comes (which also outlaws all lights on dimmer switches), dolphin-friendly folk like me will be left sitting in the dark, the twilight of our lives spent in the twilight of energy-efficient lightbulbs. Reading in bed is one of my great joys in life, followed by my first cup of coffee in the morning. I grind my beans. I boil my (filtered) water. I make my organic, Fairtrade, shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee in a glass Chemex coffee pot using unbleached filter papers. I then add Jane Capon?s organic Jersey milk. So imagine my surprise that Defra wants consumers to switch to UHT milk to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions so that, by 2020, 90% of milk on sale in the UK will not require refrigeration.
I may not be Everywoman, but I feel the inner tremors of a backlash. Not wacky ?global warming is a myth? tremors, but ?governments expanding airports/starving public transport/building thousands of new digital-television towers? tremors. When governments stop causing the ecological crisis, I?ll be more inclined to drink old milk and sit in the dark.
Meanwhile, I?m designing a refuge where I can escape the fundamentalist rhetoric of Green politicians. The outer walls are made from volumes of Hansard 1979?1997, the inner walls from copies of Country Life 1996?2007. The insulation is by Nichole Farhi, size 10s and 12s.