Ebenezer Monbiot

By Keith Kloor | December 21, 2012 10:13 am

George Monbiot is a terrific green Scrooge. Last week, the UK’s most popular and widely read environmental writer penned a cheery new column titled, “The Kiss of Death.” (The headline in the Guardian version is not quite so black.)  In it, he rails against the culture of consumerism and advises people to stop buying (for their loved ones) the usual array of made-for-landfill Christmas toys and to instead:

Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.

The sanctimony of some greens is truly a renewable source. It never seems to run out. I say that as somewhat of a Monbiot fan.  He’s got his head screwed on straight when it comes to the nuclear power issue, but man is he a downer, too.

Earlier in the year, after Monbiot realized that Peak Oil was no longer just around the corner, he got himself worked up into a tizzy:

There is enough oil in the ground to deepfry the lot of us, and no obvious means by which we might prevail upon governments and industry to leave it in the ground…Humanity seems to be like the girl in Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece Pan’s Labyrinth: she knows that if she eats the exquisite feast laid out in front of her, she too will be consumed, but she cannot help herself. I don’t like raising problems when I cannot see a solution. But right now I’m not sure how I can look my children in the eyes.

George, I know what you can do to make yourself feel better: Bake a cake, write a poem, give your children a kiss, but for god’s sake, stop the preachy moralizing. All it shows is that you’re holier-than-thou.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


See More

Collapse bottom bar