Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Conflicting Interests

One of the nice things about Junkk.com is that we are not, and will try never to be, beholden to any interest groups and their agendas. There are of course lots of other ones too, like the fact that we really don't care what gets done, so long as it's done well, efficiently, cost-effectively, for the right reasons... and ends up saving the planet.

So it may seem odd that I immediately share here something I have just read that doesn't exactly, per se, shall we say, on balance, serve our main areas of interest, namely re-use, and especially re-use of packaging, followed, quite closely, by related recycling issues.

Because it seems new research has revealed that 70% of us believe that recycling is the most important thing we can do for the environment, while just 5% think taking fewer foreign holidays makes a difference. So people's perceptions about what they can do to help the environment are out of step with their actual environmental impact.

Rationally, I cannot and would not dispute the facts at all. What comes out the back of a 747-load of delegates to a climate change conference in Bali (may as well discuss such things where the climate is nice) kinda puts the consequences of my 5 sorting bins to shame (especially when it appears they don't have a clue what to do with the raw materials when we give it to them - see yesterday's blog).

So... oops! Revise the Junkk.com business model? Nah! I don't think we need to. And for a lot of reasons.

For one, we do and will continue to focus on all such issues, and the minute we see a travel company, aircraft maker or airline doing their bit for green and good we'll report it. Heck, we may even let them broadcast the fact on our pages!

Also, to mangle one of my Mum's OWU's (old wives' utterances), a bigger right doesn't mean you divert from committing to a smaller right. So we'll keep right on doing our little acorn bit, because what doesn't really trash your day makes the planet stronger. And we figure helping you save time, save money and having a bit more fun doing so still ticks all the boxes that really matter.

And finally, there's the small matter of pragmatism vs. idealism. Just check out these spiffy stats that came along with the report:

15% of a household's annual energy consumption results from personal transport, and home heating accounts for 24%. So... "there are many simple things that we can do that would reduce our impact on the environment. For example, driving a mile less a day or turning our home heating down by two degrees, saves the energy of a whole year's worth of packaging."

But here's my personal favourite:

"21% of people acknowledge the value of taking public transport, the same proportion as recognise the value of walking or cycling, rather than driving their own car. This is has risen from 9% and 7%, respectively since 1999

I don't know about you, but when I see phrases like 'recognise the value', I feel a warm fuzzy glow inside, even if it is somewhere closer to the pit of my tummy. Knowing that some campaign has actually 'proved the value' usually means it has only proved the value of spending money in the media to raise awareness. But with no incentive attached it is more likely consumer code for 'fine for other folks, but not guys like me with jobs to go to, or two kids and a ton of shopping to collect'. But I for one shall certainly 'seriously consider' (another research goody to trot out) getting out of my car and walking the last mile of the journey. Not.