The modern, environmentally-aware citizen wears the latest ranges from American Apparel to Pants to Poverty (a fairtrade trousers initiative supporting Indian farmers, which began in 2005); they buy organic and get from A to B a bike. The Brits lead the way when it comes to eco-bashing; those who are environmentally-savvy are teased in slang as being 'mother Earth lovers' or 'bug-eaters'. You don't just get dried bugs in organic food stores: there’s also Italian antipasti and luxury chocolate to be bought. Apperently, the nickname 'tree hugger' originates in the Chipko movement, a protest from a group in India about commercial logging. Hugging treets prevented them from being chopped down.

The real linguistic shenanigans come from the Germans; whilst being Ökos (ecos) is seen as neutral. They have a pacifist stance and have registered the name 'Friedensbrezel' (Peace Pretzel) as well. Formerly known as 'Müsliesser' (muesli-munchers) or 'Körnerfresser' (grainivores), in the last few years the German-speaking countries have established the description 'Bionadetrinker' (Bionade drinker – Bionade is an organically made non-alcholic drink).

The French join in with the slandering too. The concept of 'bobo bio' is French-language ridicule in its purest form. The citizens known as bobos (bourgeois-bohème) are affluent Parisians, or who would like to be as such, that parade their bourgeois-bohemian lifestyle like some kind of medal of honour.

What brings up bile with the majority of eco-enemies in Europe is the self-righteousness and hypocrisy displayed by many friends of the environment. In Poland, they talk of people who are ciemnozielony (dark green) 'Ciemny' means dark, but also refers to ignorace. Adding that reference to the 'colour' of the supposed Ökos points out that their ‘green’ halos do occasionally slip.

Our neighbours on the Mediterranean on the other hand hold themselves back. Aside from the dreary Italian 'fanatico dell’ecologia' (eco-fanatic), the imagination of the Spanish pales in comparison 'bio obsesionado' (bio-obsessed). It could just be that the trend of jumping on the eco-bandwagon has not yet arrived in the Mediterranean regions.

Lilian Maria Pithan. Translation: Aatish Pattni