If there is one thing I hate it is walking the gauntlet of backpackers seeking donations at the corner of Hyde Park every afternoon.
Almost consistently there is the AIDS Trust person with their red bucket always asking for money, and then quite often the Greenpeace guys too.
Now I have no problems with supporting charities and I often do support charities in both monetary and non monetary ways. However I do not like being harassed every afternoon by some grotty back packer who earning money by soliciting donations.
The AIDS trust is a good charity but I don't give money to the guys on the street, if I donate it would be at an event or direct to the organisation. Most of the people soliciting are fine and you can say no, smile and continue walking.
About two weeks ago I was walking by and I shook my head when asked to donate and quite loudly as I walked by (there was no one else around mind you) he said "asshole"
Now let me get this straight (pardon the pun) you are some Euro trash backpacker calling me an asshole because I don't want 40% of any money I give going to you. More so I doubt you have ever met anyone with HIV/ AIDS, but yet you assume that just because I didn't donate I'm an asshole.
The Greenpeace Guys
The other ones that only turn up every now and then are the Greenpeace mob, they are a mob because there is always a few of them and they always follow the same pattern. I love it when I say no and these guys have the gall to tell me I don't care about the environment, I do care, but not about the organisation for which they are trying to raise money.
Greenpeace and I have a very very long history spanning back about 16 or so years when I worked for them for nearly five years on and off. I even sailed on the Rainbow Warrior for a short period of time when it sailed around Australia.
Unfortunately I ended up with a very warped view of this organisation and what it became, the view I have it is not a particularly flattering either.
I'm not the most environmentally conscious person, but I am environmentally minded if you will. But Greenpeace like so many community based organisations lost its way seriously in about the mid nineties onwards.
Around this time there were two main factions within the environmental movement. On the one hand you had the die hard greenies who were anti globalisation, anti development, hated corporations and basically believed that all progress should be stopped.
On the other side you had the Solutions Based campaigners, these people understood that businesses were not going to simply stop doing something, they needed solutions or best practices that were moving towards better environment sustainability.
To this end the Solutions people did all sorts of really cool stuff including investing in companies that made CFC free refrigerators and then giving away the technology to the rest of the world. In Australia the Greenpeace Solutions based people worked with the NSW Government to design the 'Green Olympics'.
As you might guess the two factions basically shook each other to death, the in fighting within the organisation was horrendous, as were the egos.
In the end that and a lot of other fundamental arguments pretty much wrenched the organisation apart and it has become an also ran in today's environmental fight.
I hate being asked for money every day it's insulting!