Friday, December 16, 2005

Better than nothing, but..

I have a certainly sympathy with politicians. They are, more often than not, 'damned if they do' and 'damned if they don't'. 

They are frequently lambasted, by folk like me, for spending all their time talking when there really is a need for a bit more doing.

Thing is, it has to be conceded that it may be worth trying to figure out if doing the wrong thing is worse than doing no thing at all.

What these chaps do have to do this quickly and well, which we do not, is resources. Oodles of them. The staff and money to check things out in trying to come to a good decision. All we have is what we can read off and online, or glean at the odd conference we we can blag our way into, and then apply to what we've learned a bit of street knowledge and common sense to what we opt to do... or support.

It may not be perfect, but it is better than nothing, and at least enables us to reflect the very real situation of harassed concern and general confusion that the average person in the street must be experiencing each day.

For instance, we are getting a proliferation of press releases and applications for directory entries from various organisations and businesses (usually the same thing - money does flow) that boil down to buying off the green guilt you may feel for being a devotee of 'Mobile ExEm' (Ok, needs work, but it represents Excess Emissions By Travelling. But you get the picture: you are one who likes to sit in a car or plane) by paying someone to whack a fir in some allotment to compensate for your... er... allotment of carbon footprint, trading, offset thingie. Or something.

Hopefully you are engaging with our dilemma, in that this has to be better than nothing... but...

I was minded to contemplate this more deeply by the latest one we've had where some chap is selling Amazonian trees to be prevent them being felled. Top Laudable so far.

And as a marketing incentive, this smart cookie with an eye to PR is auctioning off on eBay his 4x4 and contributing the proceeds to the progamme. Even more laudable.

And further, its future lifespan's emissions will be compensated for by the requisite swathe of Brazil being cordoned off. Better yet.

You can see where this is going, and indeed in the blurb the fact that a 4x4 will still be guzzling its way around has been covered by the fact that it is now 'offset'. What would be great is when it gets won it's by someone who actually needed a 4x4, in which case its impact would be lessened still further.

I guess I am still uncomfortable with the notion of buying off unnecessary, wasteful consumption and consequent emissions in this way. There just seems to be too much of a message that you keep on sailing on, doing what you do, and if you've got the bread you can make it all go away. Only it doesn't really.

But it is better than nothing. So I think it's going into the directory, so you can decide.

Do so with care, though. I'm not naming any names, but make sure whatever you choose to support is kosher. The one that piqued my interest and provoked this blog is from a company whose main industry seems little to do with planting trees, though there is a tie-in and the expertise may well exist. Hence our agreeing to carry their details.

Just... if you are buying off your guilt, make sure it's actually, effectively, efficiently... really benefitting the cause you think it is. And you are really doing your best in support by keeping on doing what you are doing in the way you are. Less can be more.