“Andy Pag, Eco Hero”, “Eco Warrior”, “Environmental campaigner”. Even “Activist” no less! No wonder my friends can’t stop taking the piss. They know none of this is true. I’ve been a petrol head since I was 21. I love cars, bikes, trucks, anything that propels itself. Planes, oh my god, planes. Don’t get me started on planes. I’m in total awe at a machine that can lift off the ground and go anywhere it wants. Microligths, paragliders, jet fighters, helicopters. The sight of a 747 roaring off the tarmac into the air, oh wow, look at it, so big and free.
The sad thing is that most things that propel themselves run on fossil fuel, so it’s hard to love the machine without loving the juice they run on. We’ve been digging the stuff out of the ground, burning it and letting whatever’s left float into the atmosphere for the best part of 70 years now. That’s a fact. Rising levels of CO2 in the air are a fact, Greenhouse gas inducing climate change is a fact. People argue about how fast it’s happening and how significant it will be, but regardless, it’s a fact,
I’m not particularly happy about it, but what I’ve read, and what I’ve learnt, makes me think it’s a pretty serious threat. Not everyone agrees, fine. I’ve been wrong about other things and I might well be wrong about this. But I don’t want to be the one that’s to blame if it does go pear shape. I want to do something to help, not so I can say that I’m the one that saved the world, but so no one can point at me as say you’re the one that destroyed it.
So what can I do about it? It’s pretty hard to be carbon neutral, unless you sit in a cold dark room, without eating or breathing. And actually, as individuals, we don’t need to be carbon neutral. We can emit some carbon, as long as it’s no more than the planet can recycle. Scientists can work out what the sustainable level is pretty accurately. It’s not a lot though, and it requires changing the way we do things, and the unpalatable conclusion I’ve come to is that we have to give up a lot of things, particularly consumption of energy and raw materials. (And that needs global relationships with more social justice, but that’s another rant for another day)
I’m doing this trip around the world, primarily because I want to drive around the world. I want to discover the countries and places along the way for myself. But there is an obvious hypocrisy of contributing to climate change while trying to understand how the world works. Not everyone sees it like that, fine, but I do and this is my journey. So that’s why I’m trying to run the bus on waste based fuels all the way. It’s not a perfect solution, there are things about the way I’m doing it that don’t add up, but there are some things I’m doing that really make sense and work well, and that I’m immensely proud of.
I don’t want to give up now, not because I think my journey is of worthy global importance, but because I’ve put this much work into it so far, I’ve come this far and I now more than ever, I really believe it can be done. I don’t want to see that hard graft destroyed without good reason, and I really want to get back to London and be the guy that drove around the world on chip fat. Pride, pure and simple.
The hardest part is dealing with intransigent people who put up barriers, which most of the time have no relevance. Well I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this phone business. The longer it goes on for, the longer it looks like it will go on for, and it’s all pointless. The police know it, the newspapers here know it, I know it, so in the words of one of the regulars from Radio4’s Down the Line, “What is point?” really? Other than to save the embarrassment of a few police officers that screwed up, (again)? Hey we all screw up. Admit your men screwed up SP Tak, and everyone else admit that it’s OK they screwed up. They're only human doing a tough job in an uncertain world. We all make mistakes, what sets us apart is the integrity of how we deal with them. I only have 2 weeks left on my visa and have to be back in Pushkar right slap in the middle of the 2 weeks, so really I can’t do anything or go anywhere. I‘ve taken the bus to Mumbai to get some fuel from a biodiesel sponsor, Royal Energy, who filled my tank for me, but it was a long way in the wrong direction and the only way to get down there and back for this pointless hearing on the 10th was to fly back.
Thanks to this arrest, I've lost a lot of money, squandered a lot of time, and now I've even lost any chance of hitting the 2 tonne target. Great.
So this weekend I head to Delhi in the hope of being able to get a 3 month visa extension. I’m not optimistic, but having been impressed by the Mumbai mindset maybe I am about to be impressed by Delhi’s.