Posted by: Matthew | November 5, 2009

Have you asked your neighbours?

One reason that people think woodburners are so cheap is that they externalise costs onto other people. That is it is cheap for you, but other people have to bear the real cost. For the neighbours of wood burning people that is a cost paid in nuisance, pollution, a reduced quality of life, and a reduce lifespan. Sometimes those costs are realised too, especially when the pollution is bad enough that they have to move away. Sometimes it might be that they can’t dry their washing out naturally and have to pay more for electricity to use a clothes dryer. Sometimes it is a social cost and their house is so smoky that their friends won’t come and visit them. Sometimes it is a health cost, such as having to give up rugby because the woodsmoke on practice nights makes it no longer practical to train. Or it is a mental health cost. You might be sending your neighbours mad. So when you burn wood or coal in your house really it is your neighbours’ business too. But have you ever thought to ask your neighbours if your smoke is okay with them? Nobody has ever asked me, and if they did they would find out that no it isn’t okay with me. We neighbours lose every time. It’s not fair. In fact it stinks.

And once you find out your neighbour isn’t okay with it, will you continue your behavior knowing it annoys and hurts them? If so I recommend looking up a dictionary for a word between self and selfishness.



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