Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cat. Pigeons... let the games begin!

I was going to write a headline similar to the one above, only using Fan, Hit and... well, maybe Blogger may find my son's choice of excrement-based pre-teen nouns unacceptable as well. So caution wins.

Anyway, check this baby out:

I'm going to assume you have broadband (in which case you'll be as gob-smacked at how totally awesome it, the BBC and the whole IT revolution is...  a 30 minute programme whenever you want it!!!) and/or saw it. Otherwise I'm not sure what to suggest, other than this quick precis:

BBC reporter tipped off to container loads of our rubbish intercepted en route to a landfill in Indonesia, only it was full of carefully homeowner-sorted goodies, all assumed to be destined for recycling. Er, not.

I predict fireworks. There will be many knickers in a twist. Certainly a few po-faced 'they must have gone to Specsavers' 30-something, going on 60 (weeeee, retirement) types will not have enjoyed their moment in the the full glare of the reporter's Q &... well, no A's, but a lot of 'will be looked intos'.

Note to BBC and doubtless well-smug editorial team: will anyone actually follow up, or will this be another in a long line of 'I've started, so I'll... er... move on to the next headline grabber'? I believe the phrase 'isolated incident' was used a bit, and will doubtless get trotted out a bit more. But it is odd that an isolated batch of 16 containers just happened to swing via Amsterdam on its way Jakarta and get nicked in favour of all those drugs and rogue nukes. 

Anyway, to the one possible prosecution for such breaches in the UK thus far, the man from the Environment Agency has told us to 'watch this space'. So that's all right then.

So what has happened, courtesy of the protagonists, the BBC and the various agencies interviewed?

Well, it seems the public's trust may have been dented a tad. That is, if we sympathise and/or agree with the ladies who got re-presented with their bin liner contents from last year were anything to go by. Or we engage fully with those empathetic Gov, Local Gov and NGO reps. So far, so down to performances of the players and the subsequent editing.

It's a tricky one. Don't do a story and abuses carry on. Do a story to its full ratings-garnerning potential, and you undo a ton (make that metric tonnes... in fact enough to fill the Albert Hall each day... don't they have a newer stat than that to trot out?) of no good to the vast majority of good stuff that is happening.

Public trust is a delicate and flighty thing. Like I say, watch for fireworks. But then, all the hoo-haa may well bring the debate and opportunities to the fore, so possibly there is no such thing as bad publicity.

I can't blame not having a review copy this time, but am just too plain lazy and time strapped to go over it again, at least for now. But a few niggles linger...

If the consumer 'victims' were faithfully separating things out, how did it all get remixed up again? Surely to heavens there is enough value to 'pure' paper to not even think of mixing it back with all the tat to then export? It's like paying extra to get caught!

Is the UK landfill tax the cheapest in the EU? I guess so. And that makes it uneconomic to export stuff? Er... is it? The bad guys.. that's Grosvenor Recycling (who had a lot of answers and proof that did not materialise, at least not in this country. Maybe it's in a container in Jakarta?)... came out with a lot that did not really get pursued. I'm sorry, catching them out in a whopper or two is not enough for laurels to be rested upon, any more than letting a grey suit stick with they will 'look into it'.

Meanwhile, a big up to Islington and Barnet for not doing the dirty (mind you, fining someone a grand for not recycling and then have this pop out would be enough to have you promoted sideways at the very least) and being held up up as shining examples of what can be done.

Final thoughts; having earlier today just fallen off our stools watching the investment of a helicopter to track David Cameron cycle to work (ok, ok, it's all about the entertainment value), in a much more overtly eco-aware piece such as this was it really necessary to have a flight for the top shot of a landfill? 

Maybe unnecessary consumptions of fuel in just trying doing your job is another topic? 

Or maybe... a BBC crew is as we speak doing an expose of a BBC crew... 

Just asking:)

Hot air and a mighty wind

Today is my Birthday, so I was woken up at 5.30am by my sons to be be given the Star Wars XBox game I've apparently always wanted. As it also seems my desire extended only to looking at the sleeve, and for about 30 seconds at that,  it got whisked away for testing on my behalf, so I thought I'd steal a march on preparing my 3 minute pitch for tonight.

A local(ish) networking initiative called @Wales, who has run a few interesting seminars I have attended in the past, has been running something like the [name your actual fierce and/or mythical creature here]'s Den TV programmes for several years now.

I had meant to enter, despite my proven misgivings about the broadcast efforts' true intentions, but actually didn't get around to it. But it seems Emma did,  slapped in a quick paragraph application... and 'we' won. Maybe it's a sign of how things should be. Others do the real work and I just turn up and mouth off.

But with 12 hours to go, it's all rather bearing down. (Probably mis-)quoting mark Twain, writing (or in this case saying) little takes a lot of work.

What do I share? The judges and audience are not really 'investors', so it's not that kind of pitch. So I have decided to play it more as a way to assess how well people 'get' what Junkk.com is trying to do.

Sure I can throw in a few facts and figures about the potential of the Green £ and making saving the planet a consequence of what we're doing but not the stated aim, but I mostly want folk to grasp that we are trying to offer a reliable, trustworthy and always entertaining path in what is becoming an increasingly more confusing and pressured life... on the ENV/RE: front at least (if not others). And in so doing doing get those precious visitor numbers followed, one trusts, by advertisers.

For instance, I just read a rather strident critique in the Telegraph to an equally 'we're all doomed' one in the Independent on Sunday. The former made some interesting points (a few factual), and did of course attempt to raise the often-ignored issue of economic practicalities. 

But like those in the other camp, there was little in the way of what can be done to try and maintain our lifestyles whilst simply cutting out the blatantly real waste and emission consequences of our consumerist global, growing population. 

It all seems a bit 'stop'... 'carry on', at each extreme, with most of us in the middle just muddling along.

With Junkk.com trying to help in doing just that.

So here is some good news, guys:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,176-1903311,00.html (be quick, it's only good 'til Saturday). Highlights:

War on climate change targets flatulent cows

There are 1.4 billion cows worldwide, each producing 500 litres of methane a day and accounting for 14% of all emissions of the gas. 

In Scotland, where there is a greater concentration of agriculture than in other countries, cows produce 46% of all methane emissions. 

Now scientists at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen say they have developed a diet that has done the most to reduce the amount of methane produced by cows.... by 70%

I think I'll enjoy that birthday steak a bit more now. 

But.... how do I get to specify if it is of the low-emission variety? No, really, how? 

If a system is in place for me to do that I can surely effect some change whilst still enjoying my hugely eco-inefficient but genetically pre-conditioned omnivore diet. The business that responds to that desire will surely triumph. And will place an ad with us to reach those who we attract with our messages and style.

That's what Junkk.com about. Now, how can I fit that into my 3 minutes?