Friday, 13 June 2014

Environmentally conscious?

You know, I'm all for recycling, saving the planet, charitable causes and such like but there are times when I question the motives behind it all.

What particularly irks me is when things are done "in the interests of the environment" when really they are not at all - they are done in the interests of the organisation.

Hotels are a prime example. In most hotels these days you'll find various planet-saving policies in place. A common one is a complete lack of a plug in the bath - message being - don't have a bath, have a shower. If you can find any literature relating to this you'll find that it's in the interests of conserving that most precious of natural resources - water. Which I think you'll find we have pretty much an inexhaustible supply of - it's recyclable you know.

Fair enough if you're in a hotel in the middle of the Sahara desert, I can go along with that policy but when you're looking out of the window of the Holiday Inn at Gatwick at the never ending torrent of rain pouring down outside the window it's slightly less convincing.

Anything to do with the hotel's hot water and energy bills, perhaps?

And it doesn't stop there - you've got towels and bed sheets. Nowadays you'll find a little sign in a hotel saying "In the interest of the environment, bed sheets are only changed twice a week and towels once a week".

Now again I don't have a problem with the policy - I can live without clean sheets every day - who changes them every day at home? I don't. But it's the way the hotel tries to make out they are doing it for the benefit of the world rather than saving money on laundry that annoys me. If they could just be honest and put up a sign that read "In the interests of keeping costs down to give you the lowest room rate possible, we only change towels twice a week". There - no problem, it's honest, and it makes the customer feel good because by doing their bit to save the planet they are saving a few quid of the bill as well.

Such policies are everywhere. I made the mistake of signing up some time ago to Parentmail. For the uninitiated this is the system where you get all of your correspondence from school on email rather than on paper. Good idea in principle. It's sold as saving the environment. Unfortunately once you've signed up, that's it - no more paper copies. Now I used to find it very useful to have these things pinned on a board in the kitchen. During any one term at school there are no end of events and trips which require money, special clothing etc. In the mad panic that constitutes most breakfast times in households with small children in them it is very handy to have such newsletters to hand - much easier than having to boot up the computer or search around on a phone for them.

Other forms have a slip that needs to be signed and sent back - so you end up having to print them off anyway. So you don't save the planet at all - all you do is save the school the cost of the paper and ink and incur it yourself instead. That's assuming you've got a printer of course. Otherwise you can waste time go into the office to get a form at pick up or drop off time in the morning, that's assuming of course you can remember or perhaps email the school and ask for a copy but it's all unnecessary admin!

I wish I'd never signed up for parentmail - but once you are on it, you can't get off it seems. Try to protest about it and you're marked down as someone who doesn't give a shit about the environment so you're basically screwed. It's not done me any favours, just made life extremely disorganised as a consequence.

There was one bit of good news from the school this week - the building of the replacement school on Kingsmere continues to be beset by building delays. The longer the better as far as I'm concerned. I love the school being where it is and it will be a sad day when the children have to move.

Separate topic - I see there are now loads of people moaning on facebook about all the football talk relating to the World Cup - some even going so far as to say that "football is shit". Well no - that isn't the case - it's simply the case that you don't personally like football. When will people get it into their heads that something isn't shit just because they don't personally like it. These same people have no problems posting endless statuses about whatever it is that floats their boats but do I complain when there's endless pictures of cars and motorbikes and pets and god knows what else that to me are about as exciting as watching paint dry? No I don't because while it is of no interest to me personally I recognise that is what they are into and they enjoy it so I live and let live. Well now the football's on and it's what I like so if you don't like it, tough. Live and let live, I say and follow my philosophy which is to remember that things aren't shit they are just not to my personal taste.

Apart from the X-Factor, obviously, which really is shit. That's my exception that proves the rule. Bye for now.

Jason xx

Jason Ayres is the writer of three humorous non-fiction books and new novel The Time Bubble, released June 2014. You can check out his profile on Amazon here:

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