Monday, November 14, 2005

You are what you eat. Interesting what it takes to get to you.

The Sunday Times magazine had a photo feature this week called the
World on a Plate taken form a book: What the World Eats, by Peter
Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio. It compared the shopping of 'average'
families from around the world, including UK, Chad, China, Egypt,
Philippines, Australia, India, Turkey, USA and Germany.

The main thrust of the piece was the cost rather than the dietary
side (in fact the weekly shopping was broken down into similar
categories, such as grains, dairy, beverages, etc). And while the
West/Others divide was not unexpected, I couldn't help but notice
that the UK family spent half that of the German one, though the
national weekly income figures included seemed to show they were not
necessarily applying like with like.

But the thing that struck me most in these photos was the amount of
packaging the 'Western' families' foodstuffs involved: bottles,
Tetrapaks, cardboard boxes, etc. Especially... the Germans. But I
guess they do at least recycle all this stuff. In Chad of course,
they shop local and practice 'reduce' above all.

Oh, The Disappointment

So in the very blue.. er.. green corner we have the eco-activists, and in the red.. er.. black (hearted? 'in-the-black-at-any-cost' profiteers? 'Black day for my political career?) corner we have those traditionally ranged against them, or at least subject to their (often justified) scrutiny. 

As various folk square off, historically (that from which we should learn to avoid repeating...) a very bad place to be is in the middle. But that is where we proudly stand. Yet our best defence is that we have always stood there, and are firm in our resolve to stay there (blimey, I sound like a a cut price Churchill).

Yet there are a few other folk, who really cop it having strayed from total commitment to their cause, and find themselves in 'if you are not with us you are against us' territory, and I have a particular sympathy with these poor guys. Like the Gaia chappy who went from being the father of the Green movement to Jeremy Clarkson's patio heater mechanic (the way he got vilified). Or David Bellamy. Changed their minds. Had another opinion... whatever. Desertion gets you shot by your own side, and it is not a nice feeling, I'm sure. The reactions and comments made were very personal.

But there there are those who wanted to straddle all camps and, when the dust settles, clap the victor on the back and say 'I was always behind you chaps'. The problem is, you can get hung out to dry a tad when circumstances move quicker than anticipated or not quite as planned. And as you were never quite with anyone, then it's hard to be welcomed by anyone when you need a parapet to re-duck under.

 (Reuters) - Environmental activists accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday of failing to tackle global warming despite many pledges of tough action. As Greenpeace dumped five tonnes of coal outside Blair's London residence in protest at what they said was his backsliding, the World Wide Fund for Nature accused him of saying one thing but doing the opposite on climate change. "Blair has gone from being the great hope to being the great threat,"


But in the spirit of trying to be balanced, a hint to possible reasons behind the backslide from 'threat', if not justifying the move to that point from 'hope', can be seen later on in the piece here: 

A report last week by a European think tank, the International Council for Capital Formation, said hitting the Kyoto targets could wipe out at least 200,000 jobs each in Italy, Germany and Britain and more than 600,000 in Spain.

Who... would be a politician these days? Can't please all of the people...

However, there is one good thing to come of this:  I think I may have sorted our heating bills for winter. Now all I have to do is figure out how to disappoint Greenpeace. At least a tonne's worth. 

But knowing my luck they may figure 'we who would salute them' (I'll leave out the 'about to die' as that is too depressing) would perhaps have been more sympathetic if it had been a lorryload of white feathers. At least once tidied up they make good insulation.

Fly me to the moon... one way (the Earth is pretty much sc@££$ed)

Hot on the heels....

This from the Sunday Times quoting Michael O'Leary, Chief Executive
of Ryanair, 'rejecting claims that his low-fare model is increasing

"If preserving the environment means stopping poor people flying so
only the rich can fly, then screw it".

I don't think he's actually rejecting the claim. He's saying he
doesn't care. Which is almost a bigger worry.

Because he's in a corner, and in defending 'his' business he's kinda
showing what I have been banging on about for a while is coming to
pass, where we're seeing trying to deal with this getting swallowed
by a 'them and us' war.

And I can see a good few folks squaring up against each other here.
With only one set of losers. Us.



Considering their father's bad example, it is but a matter of time before my boys start to swear like little troopers.

But for now, thanks to a saintly mother, a certain amount of hypocritical (don't do as I do...) guidance by me and their own sense of what gets you brownie points in polite company, they do not. At least, not bad words. I wish I could resist as they do. Yet having read the following I am moved to coin a few choice phrases:

Sample : Although rising concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and other gases are almost certainly driving the global rise in temperature observed in recent decades, the natural greenhouse effect - without which the world would be considerably colder - is largely down to atmospheric water vapour.

I'm sorry, but isn't just about everything we're looking at transport-wise to mitigate this is of 'the and all you get out the pipe is water' variety? Of everything I have been reading, hydrogen was the one that made sense to me, even if we ended up in a Blade-Runner permanent rainstorm. I guess a fair bit drips onto the tarmac, but won't an awful lot go up in... er... steam?

Solar powered 747's anyone?

So until I can get my head around this I would like for now to borrow from one of my son's very worst: Oh... crud.