Is it ethical to force people to be green?

Our ethical columnist explains what we really need to do to stop climate change.

Ethan Greenhart

Topics Politics

This is a bit of random text from Kyle to test the new global option to add a message at the top of every article. This bit is linked somewhere.

Dear Ethan,

Last week, the IPCC brought out another report saying that time is very short to stop catastrophic climate change. Yet, it seems to me, governments are not doing enough because they still seem to think it is wrong to make important environmental policies compulsory. Is it ethical to force people to be green?


Jacques Brodequin

Dear Jacques,

Every week, I send a copy of this column to the world’s leaders because I feel that I explain the lifestyle and social changes required to return to a state of harmony with Nature – and I do it in a way that any idiot could understand. Apparently not. People voted for these clowns and this is what we get. I always thought letting everyone have a vote was a bad idea after my own terrible experiences with the electorate.

So let us be clear: we should declare a state of planetary emergency right now. It may already be too late but I’m an optimistic kind of person and with the right measures in place, I think we can still save the day – and the planet. We shouldn’t be afraid to be unpopular. If you look at events in Pakistan, where General Musharraf has taken decisive action to save the country from terrorism or something, the government hasn’t let protests and the like get in the way of doing the right thing. Of course, he’s not trying to save the planet, but we could do with more strong leaders like him.

(Although, I must say, he’s arresting all the wrong people. I mean, doesn’t he realise that Imran Khan was married to Jemima Goldsmith? And the Goldsmiths – the family who gave us The Ecologist magazine – really are the most caring, right-on, planet-friendly millionaires one could possibly find.)

What do we have in Britain? Gordon Brown. Now, he made a speech this week that sounded radical. Well, it sounded radical to people who don’t know any better, but there you go. He said we should cut carbon emissions in the UK by 60 per cent – maybe even 80 per cent – over the next 40 years or so.

And how did he propose doing this? By extending carbon emissions trading. By having a one-stop helpline for people wanting to insulate their homes. By thinking about the possibility of banning plastic bags. Err… that’s it. Meanwhile, his government has just basically given the go-ahead for another runway and terminal at the world’s busiest international airport! That’s like trying to put out a barbecue with a can of petrol. (Don’t try that at home – think of the emissions.)

See what I mean about the clowns thing? Either Gordon Brown is incompetent or a hypocrite or both. Who knows? And Brown the Clown is just one of a whole troupe of circus comedians who run the world. All the other presidents and prime ministers talk in the same mealy-mouthed way about what we need to do. ‘Oh, let’s have a ridiculous conference in Bali to chat about having a new deal to replace the useless Kyoto Protocol! Let’s fly so many people around the world to so many such jamborees that the planet will be a veritable sauna before we even start negotiating!’

To answer your question: it would be unethical to do anything else but crack down on eco-criminality. As I’ve said many times before, the only way out of this man-made mess is to allow intelligent, right-thinking people – who understand the gravity of the situation – to take charge. No dissent can be tolerated. There must be an iron fist inside the green velvet glove. You can’t tip-toe around people’s feelings when you’re wearing green jackboots.

The message is simple: if we want to stop climate change, we need to just STOP!

Here’s my five-point plan to save the planet from climate change:

  1. A ban on all motorised transport
    We must only travel using human-powered vehicles. It’s a small world – and it will feel like it when travelling more than 20 miles becomes impractical.

  • A ban on all petro-chemical, poison-spraying agriculture
    All food should be locally grown and organic. Given that moving food any great distance without lorries will be extremely difficult, this will be a necessity anyway. Spreading insecticides and fertilisers to try to grow more stuff and to stop other creatures from eating it is simply unnatural. Let Gaia decide if we eat or not.

  • A ban on all space heating
    In a properly insulated house, you should be able to keep warm just be eating, exercising and wrapping-up warm. So why do we need all those stupid, planet-scorching heaters? You will, of course, need heat for cooking. Lentils would be inedible otherwise, and that simply wouldn’t be practical.

  • Restrictions on health care
    Hospitals, medicines, vaccinations all put a dreadful strain on the planet because they only encourage people to live longer than they would otherwise do if nature took its course. As a result, a number of important organisms have been all but wiped out; smallpox is a good example. The longer people hang around on this mortal coil, the more of them there are to feed, clothe, educate, transport. If we must have medical care, I would introduce a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ system.
    The best way to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint is to have fewer footprints. Point 3 should really help with the old people, but we may need to consider enforced euthanasia at some point.

  • Reducing the number of children born
    As I’ve noted before, having children is one of my biggest regrets, a selfish decision with negative consequences for the fragile web of life. I constantly remind my children that they are a terrible drain on the planet. Sometimes they cry. I think it’s good that they share Gaia’s pain.
    Following on from point 4, I would only allow one child per couple – good idea, China! But I’d go further than the Chinese have. I would only permit some, carefully selected couples to have a child – which would be taken at an early age to be raised in special eco-villages where they would learn to be the protectors of the planet – the Green Guards (another idea I’ve borrowed, sort of, from China). Current efforts to indoctrinate our children at school by force-feeding them green propaganda are very worthy but they really don’t go far enough.
  • Ultimately, the world’s population must be reduced – by 5.9 billion. But the 100million left, devoid of cars, planes, heaters and fertilisers will be a much smaller burden on the planet. What a happy place it will be!

    Ethan Greenhart is here to answer all your questions about ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him at {encode=”” title=””}. Read his earlier columns here.

    To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

    Topics Politics


    Want to join the conversation?

    Only spiked supporters and patrons, who donate regularly to us, can comment on our articles.

    Join today