Lie to me

Wild waterfall
True wilderness?

Today I saw a sticker on the back of a ute that said “The only true wilderness is between a greenie’s ears.” At first I sneered at the ignorant attempt to denigrate people who care about the environment, but then I kicked my wilderness into gear.  Let’s see now – wild, untamed, beautiful, containing abundant diversity, sustaining all living things… I’m proud to claim that epithet as my own!

I am happy to be called strange, weird, and freaky. It seems that to be normal in this world is to have a huge carbon footprint, to have the attitude that it’s a dog eat dog world, so it’s every man for himself. To believe that it’s ok to lie, cheat and deceive, because everybody does it. Toughen up, man, because that’s the way the world works now.

Last week we had a door knocker turn up with a strange story about high meter readings in our area meaning we were eligible for a discount. He said he was from our “utility company”, and only when pressed did he admit he was from TruEnergy – a company with which we have no account. He said we were eligible for an 11% loyalty discount, and wanted to know what our electricity and gas bills had been lately. I told him we weren’t interested and firmly closed the door, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised his story made no sense.

The next day I called TruEnergy, who said that there probably had been doorknockers hired by them (or at least a smaller company contracted by them) in the area, although they couldn’t be sure. When I said that he had lied, they said yes, they did that sometimes, best just to ignore it, really. When I persisted they put me through to their doorknockers department, who were most concerned. “Was he rude to you?” they wanted to know. “No, he was perfectly polite, but he lied – it was deceptive practice, and I want to put in a complaint.” They seemed nonplussed by this, but recorded my complaint (after asking me several times what I was actually complaining about), and then said they could get someone to call me back about it if I liked. I asked them to do that, and a week later have heard absolutely nothing from them. It is clearly not a priority for them.

He lied to make sales. Well, these guys are under pressure, they need to fill a certain quota. Best just to ignore it, yeah? After all, politicians lie all the time. Salespeople lie to make sales. Why should it bother us?

Until we expect and demand integrity from the people around us, and especially the people we elect to represent us, we won’t get it. Broken promises are par for the course. Deceptive practice is fine. Conflict of interest? Who cares. Minsters leaving politics and walking into jobs with companies that were directly affected by their portfolios – well, it just makes sense, doesn’t it? Ministers making decisions that will impact on their personal wealth via their share portfolios? Oops. No biggie. We all make mistakes.

Massive oil spills all over Africa – hundreds, if not thousands of times the impact of BP’s Horizon oil spill. Nobody is holding those companies to account, so guess what? They don’t bother to fix it. After all, the only people affected are poor people, and they don’t buy much oil. It seems we only get grumpy about lies and bad behaviour when it soils our own backyard.

I’d rather have a green wilderness between my ears than buy into that.  Let’s start a new movement, and aim for truth. Next time someone obviously lies to you, call them on it. Next time a doorknocker is deceitful, call the company and complain. A politician breaks a promise? Send them an email. It’s a couple of minutes of your time, but the cumulative impact could be huge. Let’s get really wild.

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