Magazine article The Spectator

Global Warning

Magazine article The Spectator

Global Warning

Article excerpt

Theodore Dalrymple begins a new column -- on globalisation, moronic technology and modernity in general.

The environment is what we all live in, of course, but to judge by their behaviour the British don't think much of it. They can't see an open space, or a landscape, without throwing a plastic bottle or a tin can at it.

Our trees are like Ophelia in the brook, except that they are not with weedy trophies hung, but with plastic bags.

The main reason for this is that no young Briton is able to go further than 100 yards or longer than ten minutes without refreshing himself. We are a nation of Pooh Bears; it is always time for a little something. I was astonished recently when examining medical students to see them arrive in the examination hall each with a bottle of mineral water, mostly provided with a top that looked uncommonly like a baby's dummy.

Now I know that the United Nations has warned that whole continents will soon be draught-stricken, at least between floods, but surely medical students -- who, after all, have studied physiology -- cannot really fear dehydration in the course of a 15minute viva voce in an examination hall in the middle of what, for the moment, remains our damp little island.

What would they do, these students, with their bottles once they had finished with them? If the state of our island is anything to go by -- on a recent drive from London to Glasgow I found that the roadside had been strewn with the detritus of light collations almost every yard of the way -- they would dispose of them in the same way that sheep and cows dispose of their droppings in a field, that is to say unconsciously, carelessly, without thought. …

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