Environmentalism has become so inextricably mingled with anti-consumerism that the two have become virtually indistinguishable. In the combined environmentalist/anti-consumerist perspective, environmental protection is not about a trade-off, with losses in material living standards being weighed against environmental damage. Enforced reductions in consumption are not presented as a necessary price to pay for fending off environmental disasters. They are seen as virtuous and desirable in their own right - a weapon against mass consumerism, which is perceived as vulgar and plebeian. There are even environmentalists who criticise this tendency in their own ranks. Lord Deben writes about ’the more extreme of green campaigners, whose penchant for misery is unbounded. Their puritan belief that we would all be better off colder and less well fed fuels the proposition that a low carbon future will mean considerable and extensive self-denial.’
The consequences of this ideology cost the people the poverty lobby claims to represent dearly. Most environmental taxes in the UK are already so high that they are no longer commensurate with the environmental damage caused by the taxed activities .. Yet the poverty lobby is completely silent on this matter. Fuel poverty is a big topic for them, but the green taxes and regulations which cause it are not.
Green thinking is arguably a fad of bored middle-class metropolitans. Of course, they have every right to follow any fad they want to, no matter how costly. But they should not be able to force it on those who do not share it, and who cannot afford it.