If anybody can spot the blatant hypocrisy, or disturbing ignorance, which is a prominent feature of the extended entry below, please feel free to comment.
I expect the guy from Hood River will want to have his say.
The guy from Hood River, Oregon, was convinced that climate change was entirely the responsibility of the Chinese and the Indians, along with the closure of American textile mills and car plants.
“It’s about time we stopped trading with these guys,” said the ship outfitter, on his way home “for good” after his first trip outside the US, even though he accepted that the ‘world’s a big place – it’s just that I don’t want to see anymore of it.”
He had thought, before being assigned to work in Singapore, that the island state was part of China; and when he asked where I came from, which is the UK, he expressed the opinion that “there’s not much in England apart from London and Scotland”.
It carried on. As the next 13 hours on the flight to Los Angeles spread before me like a giant chasm in a melting glacier in Patagonia, I unwisely chose sport as maybe an area where we could connect.
The Rugby World Cup was taking place at that time, I told him that my team – England – (not part of Scotland, by the way) was struggling, and he said, “I saw that sport on cable once. Does it get many spectators?” An estimated 4 billion TV viewers and 2.4 million spectators watched the event, by the way, making it a far bigger sport than American Football.
This is not made up, honestly – every word is true and is consistent with other conversations I’ve had with other US accidental tourists on planes, in airport lounges and in bars.
On the way back to my home in Singapore from LA a week later, though, I met an urbane and well-travelled property developer from San Diego, California, who admitted that the US had to take the lead on climate change. “But the world’s got no chance,” he said, “as long as there are guys like the one you’ve just told me about from Oregon.”
His point was the world’s biggest consumer and thrower-away of things, from outsize gas-guzzling SUVS to an annual consumption of plastics sufficient to cover the Amazon rain forest several times over, had to take the lead on climate change.
But he added that politicians needed the votes of the guys in Oregon with their three pick-up trucks who believe that cheap gasoline is a God given right and that global warming is the fault of foreigners.
We agreed that there was no hope for the planet and got stuck into the generous quantities of free in-flight booze.