Wednesday, July 06, 2005

.. fun, supplemental

I don't know if it's 'form' to do more than one a day, but I couldn't resist this just in from Reuters in proving my point, entitled "Food axis of evil invites Chirac to dinner":

'Jacques Chirac's mouth must be watering. Finland and Britain, the French president's two gastronomic nightmares, have invited him to dine on their finest food.

Stung by Chirac's reported comments on British and Finnish cuisine, Finnish European lawmaker Alexander Stubb, married to a British woman, has asked him to dinner.

Stubb was thoughtful enough to allow Chirac to show off the glories of the French table if he takes up the offer. "We hope that, as the president of an esteemed wine-producing country, you could provide the wines," he wrote.'

Prig, pompous, humourless... nil point. Humour, balloon, prick... one-nil.

Saving the planet was never going to be easy, but it can still be fun

Last night, purely by coincidence, I chanced upon a TV programme entitled 'Big Ideas That Changed The World'. This episode was introduced as a history of environmentalism by writer Bjorn Lomborg. Now, I hope I have remembered all that I watched correctly, and I stand ready to be corrected on fact. But as a blog is meant as personal opinion, here goes...

Mr. Lomborg's claim to fame was writing a book called the 'Sceptical Environmentalist', which it seems did what it said on the jacket. And hence one could not dispute that what he was outlining should be viewed in context. His basic premise was that the green lobby relied (relies?) on faulty information, and in the show he made a valid point on the pessimism at the heart of environmentalism, and that environmental groups have a vested interest in painting it black, and keeping it there. And I must say I couldn't help but contrast the sincere aims of Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring (which got DDT off the spice rack), or the noble group of Greenpeace protesters who braved an Alaskan nuclear test, with the dogmatic, grant-dependent academics and salaried, head-officed, international conference-attending personnel, stances and actions of the activist corporations (you know, the, er, good kind) that exist today.

Mr. Lomborg did not seem to be a corporate (the, er, bad kind?) apologist. And there were countless interesting facts, theories and examples though, as is always the way, one has to be aware that this was a single, one presumes self-edited viewpoint, with no live debate from alternative views.

But I was taken with points such as Kyoto costing $150 billion a year. I have no problem with that if it is working/works in its aims, but this was contrasted with the benefits of diverting this money to world poverty (so, by no coincidence it's time to focus again on their Bob-nesses, and I deliberately note the spread from Geldof to Mugabe).

What did strike a chord were notions I had not previously heard, and hence considered, before. And these made sense, whilst freely acknowledging that it appealed to me on a rather selfish basis. A lot of global warming is from poorer countries using inefficient carbon fuels because they don't have the technology to do otherwise. Help them raise above this situation, and they can afford to avoid greenhouse gases and the mistakes of industrialising nations in the past. Now that's something I can subscribe to: end-benefit.

And to build on that shameless allusion to's core values, I'd like to end on one last image. There was archive footage of Mr. Lomborg's book signing, when a po-faced activist from central casting (no obvious beard, but there were very possibly sandals below shot) mouthing some 'you dare to disagree with us so we need to make you pay' polemic, smacked a Baked Alaska in the author's face.

You know what I loved? Despite his surprise, Mr. Lomborg seemed to crack a smile almost immediately, and in wiping the goo from his face with his finger even managed an appreciative lip-smacking taste. There is nothing as irresistible as a sense of humour. The way we will eventually win out over global warming is to be professional in what we do, but always chill out as we do it.