HYPOCRISY, eh? That is one of the charges levelled against local climate change protestors in the piece last week from Malcolm Mime. Well, Malcolm (whoever you are), I was there in support of the Newport demonstration, so allow me to respond.

At first glance, the points you make are ones I could begin to agree on. But with each comes a mighty ‘but’. I share your distaste for scaring children (or adults) on climate change. I would have preferred a lighter tone, with happy singing from a positive songsheet. Like you, I am uncomfortable with the presence and maybe use of children for what could be seen as political ends.

But...experience shows polite protests, however large (from online petitions signed by millions to the mass gatherings in London), get brushed over by the media and ignored by politicians. Softly, softly hasn’t worked. I don’t agree with Caroline Criado Perez that ‘no one ever changed the world by being nice’. Nor would I ever condone violence or damage to property, but I can see why frustrated people turn to shock tactics and disturbance, much as I dislike these.

Keeping politics out of the classroom sounds like the right thing to do. But everything is political in some way, not least our children’s future. We have got to this point thanks to a schoolgirl in Sweden bunking off and millions following her lead. They have taken the initiative only because adult authorities have failed to pay adequate heed to current emergencies.

The Amazon is burning, glaciers melting, whole countries and environments are under threat and you write in to complain that your wife was held up in the car on a shopping trip for frozen food. The Island has a council leader who still (in April) saw climate emergency as ‘un-evidenced’. We do not need a page in the paper to be filled with spurious justifications for doing nothing.

Hypocrite? I’m sure I am, if that is defined as one who makes use of the things he condemns. We all are somewhat, as imperfect beings in an imperfect world. None of us could easily survive without some use of plastic, non-renewable energy and all the rest. Hypocrisy is what those who try to go green are always accused of. It’s an easy jibe and no doubt bolsters its makers with a sense of moral superiority as speakers of truth. But the finger-pointing accusation is just a diversionary tactic — a way of turning the spotlight away from the lifestyle and consumption of those who continue without a care for the world or thought for others in it and on to the inconsistencies of those taking positive steps.

We don’t expect advocates of healthy eating to give up food entirely. Neither should we judge those concerned about climate change just on their failure to abandon all use of cars or plastic, meat or dairy.

I belong to no organisation and can speak only for myself. If you, Malcolm, wish to challenge my greenness, please contact me privately and I’ll tell you more. I won’t do that here, not just for lack of space or for fear of sounding insufferably smug, but because I know I still fall far short of what is required. I’m guilty of ungreen practices in countless ways.

Is that hypocrisy? Not really, as I’m fully aware of these shortcomings and have never sought to hide them. My dictionary defines hypocrisy as feigning to be better than one is (I’m not) and concealment of true character or belief (maybe that’s something that you, Faceless Malcolm, have yet to come clean on).

When we hear the words ‘I’m not a racist, but...’, we all know what’s coming next. You write, ‘I’m not a climate change denier, but...’ and then appear to be just that.

Which is the bigger deceit, to fail to be perfect or to deny outright the hard truths we face (or maybe accept the conclusions of science but choose to do nothing about them)?