I​ want to love cars and the environment – am I a hypocrite?

5w ago


Will cut his teeth as a designer on Evo magazine, before slinging a U-ey and writing for them instead. So if it has four wheels and an engine then there's a chance he's drifted it in front of a camera, driven it incredibly hard and then written about it. When he's not writing he's can be found fettling his 1971 BMW 2002 and trying to stop Wagtails defecating on his old Range Rover.


I am such a hypocrite, full of dichotomies. You see, I love being well turned out and smart, but I also have an unhealthy obsession with fleeces – proper granddad-on-a-hiking-holiday type fleeces.

There’s an inordinate amount of small, accurate rear-wheel drive four-cylinder cars in my top 10 all-time favourite vehicles, but I also really want a huge American pickup. I have an aversion to make-over shows, yet I could watch Queer Eye for days.

But the biggest contradiction in my life is that I love cars, mostly performance cars (and the occasional big American utility vehicle, yes), while also being keen on the thing they are destroying, the environment.

Take away cars from my life – if that’s even possible – and I could be a better environmentalist, I’m sure. I probably fly too much and I don’t use public transport (not that there are any busses near me to actually use), but I do my bit. I throw away as little as possible, I repair, I reuse and, if all else fails, I recycle. I keep my single use plastic to a minimum, I follow that advice on the bottom of emails and barely print anything, and I turn off lights when I’m not in the room.

I want our world to improve, I want the seas to be clear of trash, I want the air to be clean, I want animals to thrive and I want the world to be a quieter place.

The thing I love most of all about the environment is a good view. I want to peer out over a dramatic landscape made of harsh cliffs speckled with clumps of foliage, all overlooked by a foreboding sky. Or green and yellow springtime hills topped with a hazy cloud of pollen and small flies. I really do appreciate admiring gorgeous vistas, but more so than simply looking, I want to drive right through them.

Slap a dirty big, black road right over those hills, or gouge out a tunnel in the rock face so I can motor my way right across that beautiful landscape. That’s my idea of heaven.

What sort of animal am I? On a recent walk across the Derbyshire Dales, I looked down this sun-drenched valley with a sparkling brook running through it and thought: ‘how wonderful would this place be with a road scoring into the side of the gorge. And how much better it’d be if, rather than the faint chirping of birds and the distant trickling of water, there was the wailing induction note of an open trumpet twin-cam reverberating off those rocks.’ I can’t help it, this is what I love.

I do wish all that was emitted from the exhaust of my car was bird-feed and life-giving oxygen, and that it hovered over the landscape without disturbing a colony of ants as they transport your crisps to their home without you knowing. Sadly, the cars I love don’t get close to doing that.

Nature. And cars.

Still, I like to tell myself that I, and people like me, aren’t the biggest problem. We do our bit with our cars. Yes, they might emit a few too many particulates, noxious gasses and decibels, but we don’t treat them as disposable items either. No, we adore them and keep them on the road long after their eight-year proposed lifetime has ended.

We aren’t mindlessly, recklessly tearing around unaware of our surroundings either. We’re not cutting short the lives of some sparrows or making it tricky for a hedgehog to get from one free bowl of cat food to another just so we can get from one place to another. No, we’re doing it for the love of it, the love of driving. And you know what? We really do appreciate our surroundings too, why do you think all the best driving roads are in the prettiest parts of the world?