Just A Little Breathing, Surely
One of my favourite moments of many in the comedy classic Fawlty Towers is when Basil Fawlty is cornered by the two gushing old ladies who live in the hotel just before he heads off for a weekend away with his wife Sybil.
Miss Gatsby: And don’t do anything we wouldn’t do!
Basil (through gritted teeth): Oh, just a little breathing, surely.
I’m always reminded of this exchange during events when someone complains about ‘superfluous’ use of resources for fun or recreational purposes. Take a seasonal example like Christmas lights – yes, they are strictly speaking ‘unnecessary’, but so are TV, music, theatre, presents, cards and holidays. If you kill off your organisation’s traditional Christmas decorations in the name of the planet, you will put normal people off the whole sustainability message. Sustainability has to be sexy and fun, not dull and worthy.
But there’s a tricky balancing act here. You can’t go to the other extreme and put up Christmas lights that resemble the Las Vegas strip in full swing and then scream “But it’s Christmas!!!” at any one who has the temerity to suggest it just might be a little over the top.
The answer, as is often the case, is to replace “or” with “and” – green and fun rather than green or fun. Such as energy efficient lights, preferably powered by a sustainable source of energy, lit only between dusk and ‘bed time’. If you can deliver a wonderful display that is also a demonstration of low energy technology, you’ll get an extra gift for the sustainability Santa this Christmas!
PS: I’m breaking my iron rule never to mention the C word before 1st Dec!