GOB 178 – New Year’s Resolutions

This article first appeared in the January 2024 edition of Birdwatching Magazine

Most people who make new years’ resolutions promise to stop smoking, give up the booze or eat less red meat. Well, being the paragon of virtue that you all know I am, I haven’t smoked for a quarter of a century. Last year I had as many as nine beers in total, so I’m not teetering on the alcoholic brink. As for red meat, nothing higher up the phylogenetic scale than a mollusc have I ingested since the early eighties. Unless cauliflowers are an endangered species, I’m not a threat to biodiversity. If my memory was in a bit better shape I might remember sex and drugs and rock and roll, but the body is too far away from hench for the former, and my hearing is too dim to appreciate the latte

So, here is my festive list of projected self-denials… or rather total indulgences!

  1. Rant even more about water companies… after twenty years of polluting our waterways for profit they now want us to pay for the clean up!
  2. Rail against my local authorities’ roadside herbicidal mania – despite my local district council banning organophosphate, the county council comes to my doorstep and sprays it regardless.
  3. Continue my one-man campaign against the use of carrots in all supermarket soup – yes, I know it’s not bird related, but someone has to stand up and be counted for those of us who do find methyl orange to be bitter and most root vegetables to be the spawn of the devil. (Parsnips, Celery and Beetroot beware, I’m gunning for you next!)
  4. Campaign to make removing any tree over 100 years old a criminal offence – I’m sick of seeing people put forward the argument that the tree takes their light, or is ruining their patio, or gets in the way of their tractor when the fault lies with greedy landowners and builders straying too close to the trees – they were there first!
  5. Urge the authorities to make punishments fit environmental crimes – fly-tippers should have their detritus tipped into their lounges, and petrochemical emissions should be piped into the company chairman’s office. Cabinet ministers taking private jets to places where trains run, should be forced to take unruly teenagers on holidays at their country cottages.
  6. Press for us to legislate so that builders, planners and councillors, who allow houses to be built without full insulation, double glazing and solar panels, are made to move into those houses and give over their homes to the homeless.
  7. Lobby Kellanovaó to improve their packaging – actually make all packaging biodegradable or easily recyclable – but, as a recovering Pringleó’s addict, I single them out for using a carboard tube with a built-in metal bottom and removable plastic top; how do you recycle such a tube? Change the metal for cardboard!
  8. Conduct a self-audit… I preach a lot about how other people are ruining the world, so I am duty bound to try and reduce my own negative impact. Everything we do has consequences and that means all of us have to think about how much we drive, what we waste and how we excuse our lapses.

In fact, my resolutions have to start with reducing my personal indulgences. It’s too easy to see one’s own consumption or usage as insignificant, but multiply that by sixty million or so and its one whole shed load of waxed cups, a mountain of stale bread and an island wetwipes. Not to mention the dry reservoir we helped to drain and disappearing rivers depleted by the tap running when we brush our teeth.

Who knew I was so powerful… just discovered Pringles in an all cardboard tube!

Rant it out!