A new concept: ecotism

In: Uncategorized

12 Nov 2006

I am starting to lobby for the creation of a new concept to describe a striking contemporary phenomenon: ecotism. Although the concept is used in various different ways the closest I can find on the internet to the definition of an ecotist I would use is: “a person who believes s/he might be contributing to global warming but refuses to trade the Hummer for a Prius”. I would suggest the more general: “a person who professes environmentalist principles but finds it hard to stick to them in practice”.

I started thinking about this when reading yesterday’s Ecotist column in the Guardian by Will Duguid (which I suspect is a pseudonym) on why weddings are environmentally unsound. The column is probably meant to be a joke but, with po-faced writers such as Leo Hickman of the Guardian and Lucy Siegle of the Observer having such a high profile, it is hard to tell. If anything the target of the column’s humour – if it can be called that – is those who do not consistently follow environmentalist principles in practice.

Mick Hume, the editor of spiked, wrote a related column in the Times on Friday. He discussed a Times / Populus poll earlier in the week which showed that there is a “green divide” between what people say they do for the environment and what they actually do. He makes the point that, as with more conventional religions, it is easier to observe the new eco-religion in the breach than in the observance.

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