Do We Really Need Ambulances?

01-08-07

By George Monbiot

THEIR screaming sirens, their back-to-front writing and their dirty deisel engines have become a fixture in our modern lives, but does anyone ever stop to think if we actually need them?

Allow me spell it out for you. Ambulances are notoriously inefficient in terms of fuel consumption. They are either screaming along dual carriageways at more than 90mph, on their way to some self-inflicted 'emergency'. Or they are plodding along carefully at 30 because they are carrying some fascist polluter with a fractured spine.

I performed a peer-reviewed calculation on my phone and discovered that British ambulances make up 0.00023% of our annual CO2 emissions. Look at that figure again and tell me you don't feel an overwhelming sense of shame.

It is my belief that we must re-order Britain as an ambulance-free society. It won't be easy. De-ambulancification never is. But we must reach down to the very roots of our being and rip up everything that allows the ambulance to prosper.

Why do we need ambulances? Because people hurt themselves. Or get sick. Therefore our first step must be to stop using things.

Hoovers, Magimixes, television sets and angle-poise lamps are not just power-sucking planet-killers, they are death traps. I use none of these things and yet I am still able to go about my day and make a comfortable living writing articles about ambulances. Why can't you do the same?

More than half of all UK heart attacks are caused by easyJet. Peer-reviewed fact! Every time you fly you are causing a heart attack which requires the dispatch of an ambulance to take the fat polluter to hospital where it is hooked up to electrical machines, only to recover and go on yet another holiday to one of easyJet's 74 European destinations. And so your filthy, gassy circle keeps turning.

Those of you who have ever been so complacent, so self-absorbed, so willfully ignorant as to allow yourself to be carried in an ambulance should ask yourselves this question: Am I really good enough to go on living among people like George Monbiot and some of his friends from university?

If the answer is 'no' and you do decide to kill yourself, please try and do it properly. The last thing we need is another ambulance hurtling down the M4 because you failed to take enough pills.

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