Monday, November 28, 2005

'Peace, man... or else

Speaking of energy... (stay with me here; it does all make sense).

First up, I have had a reply from Sir John Whitmore of the Telegraph Motoring page, which inspired a previous blog. Pleasant enough and I appreciate that he did reply at all, though I'm still weighing up whether progressing the debate by getting back to him will be productive. Suffice to say that I suspect we may at best end up in 'agree to disagree' territory, or worse if his 'anything less is unacceptable' last word is something to go by. Watch this space.

What got us to this point was my wondering whether some of his more overtly critical comments (he had accused some drivers of being 'selfish' in an article) or thoughts on others' actions (he was fairly warm to some 'direct' activist behaviours) were going to further the cause.

Let's say for now he favours doing whatever is necessary now, as time will permit nothing less. I agree with him on the doing something bit, and the urgency, but still not with what he seemed to be advocating under the 'whatever we can' banner.

Which brings me, for all sorts of relevant reasons to this thread, to Greenpeace. They, as you will know from earlier blogs, I have mixed feelings about. And in the way of, may I share again by raising an eyebrow that can only be described as... 'enquiringly critical'.

Last weekend I was with the family in Gloucester. As we parked I noticed several cars bedecked with a windscreen 'sticker' and wheel-sized cardboard clamp emblazoned with the following: 'Greenpeace: this gas-guzzling 4x4 has been clamped to stop climate change'.

Uh-oh, I thought, along with wondering why the mud-spattered 1.6l Vitara with the 'Young Farmers' badge got this treatment, and not the dirty great 5.4l Jag next to it. Or the plane the happy clampers will doubtless board to snowboard Verbier this Xmas.

And when we came back later, my sons wondered why it was allowed to have all this litter on the ground, as the folks who had been 'spoofed' obviously didn't feel like taking these fine bits of promo material to the cardboard recycling bin (doubtless to create no carbon consequences at all being turned into such materials and then distributed around to be re-affixed).

And I then had to also wonder how it was allowed to fly-post commercial ad messages in this way. Because interestingly, and I told you this would all tie together, it also had the following website emblazoned upon it:

This actually links to a section on the Greenpeace site. And if you really work very hard navigating around it, it gets you to a link (which doesn't work at time of writing! D'oh!) to Juice, which is part of npower.

No problem at all with that. Renewable energy is a great thing to promote. But as you'll note from my last blog, it seems npower is not the only bunch offering it. So why is that the only one offered by Greenpeace as an option?

No, really, why?

On we'll happily put any such thing, for free, in our diRE:ctory, should anyone offering such things go to the effort of telling us about it (that, by the way, includes organisations such as Greenpeace - we may not agree with all they do, but you still should hear what they have to say). We'll also write stories/reviews about them once we feel qualified to do so, and update them if we have not been fair in sharing all the options... again... only if we're told about it. Fair enough?

And to be able to afford to do so, we'll also happily take paid ads from folk wanting to push their commercially-based CSR initiative over those of anyone else. But we'll stick them where they can and should be, on the ad sections of our own site, so you can make choices without guilt or threats to cloud the issue.

Have I got the energy?

While in London last week I saw a poster from British Gas about converting to renewable energy at no extra cost, which is of interest to me both personally and obviously professionally. 

However, their website does not seem to have anything about this (renewable energy has no results under search). So I called and  talked to a nice young lady on the number given (0845 602 9027) but she only knew it was a feature of signing up to their fixed fee programme, which sent up a few red flags as that is something I do not yet know I wish to do.

It seems a shame that what seems to be a very good initiative is rather obscurely advertised, and also comes tied into something else (which may be the whole point). 

I have requested more info via their website. It will be interesting to see what the come back with.