Town alone can't save the planet
PUBLISHED: 15:11 26 April 2007 | UPDATED: 10:19 31 May 2010
KING Street in Saffron Walden was blocked on Saturday morning so I tried a short cut through the town hall instead. However, inside I was diverted to the council chamber where there was a Footprint Chapel . The weirdly dressed followers explained their p
KING Street in Saffron Walden was blocked on Saturday morning so I tried a short cut through the town hall instead. However, inside I was diverted to the council chamber where there was a 'Footprint Chapel'.
The weirdly dressed followers explained their philosophy. Like Esther Rantzen did some years ago with fruit and vegetables, they worship unusually shaped, er, lightbulbs. You know the sort. They cost three times as much, don't go in any of your fittings, take an age to warm up, and give a harsh, white fluorescent light.
An altar displayed them all. They explained that using these would cut my use of electricity by 20 per cent, re-freeze the polar ice caps and save the world.
I tried to point out that it didn't seem very likely, particularly since I'd heard an eminent chap on Newsnight say that even if the whole of the UK saved 20 per cent til the end of the century it would only delay the progress of global warming by the grand total of seven hours.
I also said China would be commissioning more new power stations in the coming year than all those presently operating in the UK, that we are only one per cent of the world's population and produce just two per cent of the world's carbon dioxide, and that whatever we do in the UK, let alone in Saffron Walden, won't make a ha'porth of difference.
Faced with these truths, however, they became as deaf as a double glazing salesman. I turned to leave. On the way out, I noticed another altar, this one dedicated to babies' nappies. Don't ask.