Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I have always shared Jeremy Clarkson's view on what makes a hero, so I read this Who is the greenest of them all? carefully. Some here are, by his (and my) definition worthy: lives were put on the line, and in a few cases lost. Others are simply too facile to worry about.

Anyway, here's what I added:

'Ah, top 100 lists; what would life be without them? You know, despite being introduced each time as the result of a ‘massive poll’, I have always missed my chance to vote either as a member of the general public or member of a niche industry. I guess I’m not on the right PR/researchers speed-dial. Or they don’t fancy going outside of London to ask.

As pointed out, in the absence of any apples vs. apples, or indeed any real stated criteria, it’s all a bit of a laugh really. Though it was nice to pick on some thoughtful suggestions I wouldn’t have considered, but now will.

Personally, I would vote for all those who DID/DO something over those who whitter away a lot (with a few exceptions, whose manner of saying made a difference - and as opposed to those simply booked a seat as an employer's (usually a medium) rep at the next Bali climate conference, or as an ‘expert’ or commentator).

Speaking of Santa, especially a Green one, you may be interested in the Science Museum’s ‘I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas’ show next week:'

In Inconvenient Blog?

Here's another organ of the media that seems to have a problem accepting my contributions: Coca-Cola in early stages of green tea variant launch

Anyways, bearing mind the names Coca-Cola Green and Green by Coca-Cola I thought this was worthy of posing:

"Those clever tinkers. Just wondering whether, in due deference to the tea's colour, and with the exception of being one presumes healthier (ie: less sugar packed), there is any aspect of this product or packaging that has an environmental or ethical angle?"

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

With friends like these...

BBC Newsnight Ethical Man's been at it again - Save thousands and live longer with ethical living, and so have I:

What I do with these posts is copy and paste what’s been written, with the comments below, and then work through jotting away to come up with my contribution. Here you go:

The first thing I thought was “Oh, wow. He’s managed to persuade someone else to give up their car.” But then I find that what looks like a fairly OK piece of kit has been crushed and sent off to the recycler (how much energy in the air from all that... right now), and replaced by the Saab. Now at least that’s not a new car (at 5-25% bad eco-stuff, depending on who you believe, in the making), but really...

So basically you still get to use the car almost as much as you would (ie: when you only need it) and Gid gets to drive around the rest of the time, emitting away. It’s not the car that pollutes (figure above notwithstanding), it’s the driving it around that does, isn’t it?

So basically more traveling is going to happen, and you save on capital and most running costs, and Gid covers the rest. Neat.

You can afford a lot more than most obviously, but then you shunt the cost elsewhere anyway.

I wish I could be so ethical. Or have such friends. I have a bit of swamp in Florida should you wish to get in touch.

For those (Justin, you’re welcome – it’s in London. But I’m afraid I’m driving in as it’s all the demo gear and the family!) wishing to find a few more fun and practical things to do whilst staying at home, pop along and visit us and a few other sat ‘I’m Dreaming Of A Green Christmas at the Science Museum

If only the trains ran... at all

If you're going to p*ss people off, you may as well make it all sides.

So I decided to reply* to this: If only the trains ran on time . . .

Let me begin, as I always do to articles penned by the great and good of British journalism, in London, to note that for some of us the option of a tube is not always open, with children or without, outside your fair city. There is, of course, the bus, and here we start to meet on matters of... 'delivery'. I am sure we will have many a merry tale of those raped and pillaged catching the last bus home on one side, and various photo ops of HRH, Ken and whoever is the eco-pol of the day on the other (won't say anything about a possible mix of the two livening things up). Moving on, we then become as one: defunct routes. I look out on the Ivy-covered arches of Mr. Beeching's brainwave. And hence to make any kind of trip I need a car to even start with the train , and once I get there, I may as well keep going, not just for convenience (last back to catch the connection , if it comes, is around 6pm), but also the price. With those darn kids in tow, we're looking at £200 vs. about £7 a head. And to some in the country, that is a saving still worth making, planet or no planet. And I say this as one doing all I can to help save it in other ways.

*It won't get printed as they seem to 'moderate' (see pic) me every time. Ah, Freedom of the Press.

Sticks and stones

Will never hurt me, but poor ratings will with luck sink in with the producers and sponsors, where what a few brave souls were trying to point out from the outset once we saw what was going on (and saw ourselves being vilified by the few acolytes - one suspects mainly staff of the production (the website numbers tell their own sorry tale) and, worse, the vindictive twists of the edit suite :

Media Guardian: On Saturday night, another of Sky One's big hopes for the autumn, The Big Idea, a business reality show featuring The Apprentice's Ruth Badger as a judge, ended its seven-week run with a whimper. The final installment of The Big Idea attracted just 24,000 viewers on Sky One between 9pm and 10pm.

Am I in 'told you so' mode/mood? A bit. But I take no pleasure in the failure, as we invested a lot in getting seen.... by a rapidly diminishing audience, with almost no media coverage in complement.

One can only wonder what may have been had they not tried to engineer the heats to suit whatever bizarre notion they had of the kind of audience they were trying to reach.

My personal view is that this could have been a BIG idea, but a slow burner. People of passion getting involved, pitching genuine ideas with substance that could go on to make a difference, and creating a groundswell of support from those fed up with Dragon's Den egos and similar editorial manipulations.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Well, at least they are consistent.

Or should I say symmetrical?

It all started so well. We didn't go into the SKY Big Idea expecting it to be Shakespeare, but it was a good chance to get some exposure and win some seriously useful money.

What I didn't anticipate was just what lengths the organisers would go to to steer the show the way they wanted. And the more I became aware of this, the more I asked questions, as did others - the website is worth a read, especially the Forum, to see the disconnect between what was promoted to both contestants and audience (25p a go texters).

And the more I asked questions, the more such coverage as got went down the pan. At the beginning we were those kooky guys with the neat idea. By the finale, they had edited us with a very nasty voice over and judges all saying it was the worst thing ever. Which of course they did not. Fear the man in the edit suite!

Well, fear too the man with a hard disc recorder.

I just had a scope through the footage, and another thing about the final has been raised:

From the sequence above, in addition to getting first pitch of the night (and hence the most chance for people to vote), who had their glee club right in shot at the back, and with a convenient, perfectly positioned placard throughout the entire show and all other contestant's pitches?

I'll give you a few hints: he won. He is the only one not there (there were seven, so I decided on symmetry, too). And even at this pathetic size and resolution, do you notice that curiously well contrasted yet back illuminated bluish panel at top right, often right next to the guy's heads. That's his product... in everyone else's pitch!

For what it's worth I doubt he knew, but I am prepared to bet the production guys did. No camerman or producer would let that by more than once. Even the guy holding it looks like a stagehand (I've been called paranoid once, but at full res in digital... it would be fun to find out who he is)!

Thing is, on balance it was about the only truly innovative idea in the final, but having micro-structured the set-up over the last several weeks, with all sorts of odd things befalling those who thought they had a chance by the originally stated criteria, it seems they couldn't take a chance even on that.

Who says you can't trade in Carbon?

I don't know if they were here (that is, compared to saving the planet) first, but for a bunch of folk with sod all to do with anything to do with it, these guys are certainly making the most of that name.

This should be a no-brainer.

I'm not really in the business of pushing new cars, but I'm a red-blooded male and I've seen hyrids overtaken by milkfloats and Smarts as the custard filling between two Euro-lorries, so when the trusty R-reg gives up the ghost I will need another. Unless, of course, they sort out the transport syst... well, it was worth half-mentioning.

So I really got excited by this.


Price £23,270-£29,015 (not so excited by this)

Performance 0-62mph: 7.9sec (yup, that worked)

Top speed: 147mph (when using E85 fuel) (well, if you are an off-duty copper or judge maybe)

Power/Torque 210bhp / 228 lb ft (when using E85) (that's more when it's eco!)

It's cleaner faster, gruntier and greener. So then this just plain doesn make sense:

Only 13 places in the UK sell E85 and they’re all Morrisons supermarkets, mainly in Norfolk and Somerset. Until cars are taxed on net carbon dioxide emissions, there is no cash advantage to buying.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

What's 'It's a Shame To Waste' In A Dozen Languages?

Make sure you are abreast as many of the facts first, but this looks like a well worthwhile campaign to support.

The link to find your local MEPs is a very nice tool, and useful in its own right, too!

The European Union (EU)'s main waste law is currently being reviewed, which forms the basis for waste policy in every EU country.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are about to vote on a revision of this law, and environmental groups across Europe are calling on MEPs to improve waste prevention, reuse, recycling and composting around Europe - without encouraging more incineration.

Please join our campaign to Stop the Waste - email your MEPs at

If at first you don't succeed..

As I prepare to take on yet another brick wall, I can at least find consolation and inspiration in stories of others who have tried, and succeeded, against major obstacles (often put) in their way by those tasked to help them. Better yet, an example of actually winning award from the very system that in some cases was there to thwart them: Tradecraft wins over the judges

However, I have to groan and applaud this from another section:

Chris Manze, a partner in Nottingham's The Stone Soup Project, which teaches teenagers rejected by the school system about music and film production, welcomed the initiatives. He said the Government needed to improve delivery. "If they could do anything to support social enterprises it would be to fund teams of bid writers to support the new social enterprises, because you don't have the resources to do it," he said.


You couldn't make it up. Well, you can.. and get it on air, probably!

I've been a grumpy bunny of late, so a littel levity is in order.

This rather excellent clip on the notion of UGC (user generated content. Or, as lampooned here, 'You do the work, don't get piad (or vetted for accuracy too much) and we rake it in still) via Newsnight.

When the spinning has to stop

I almost passed this one by, but having sat with my Mum in the (not local, oh, no, we had to go to the big city) hospital for 2 hrs beyond appointment time (staring at two posters, attached. Is it just me who sees a slight disiencentive to trying to help out?) because there was only one doctor (served, it seemed, by about a dozen gossiping, tea-making, paper-shuffling staff, all of whom left bang on clock-off), I have more than an interest in what is claimed to be delivered and what is.

Hence I did read this; Sack Hewitt (and not just for her voice)

Now the Torygraph has obviously decided that Cross of Ross is persona non grata, so it won't get published (big up to the Guardian for at least embracing some measure of free speech), but here's what I wrote:

'And today's target is...

Substitute (in the case of my area of interest) the environment for health, the suits can pretty much stay as is for all the difference their expertise can add (though salaries to match, and trips to Bali to discuss climate change inc.), and add appropriate talking head plus meaningless, open-ended, non-accountable (for all the targets) platitude ('this IS a problem and needs looking into...'), and we have another day of this nation’s governance in the media.

Yet it all seems to work out. Because will careers or salaries or perks be affected? No. A flurry of fuss and then the system moves on to the next issue, with detail lost in the whole.

So things will change how? Thank heavens for the vote. Now all I need is someone (as opposed to an amorphous entity like a constantly morphing party collection of ministers) to vote for.'

Matters of fact

This will take some careful phrasing: I was recently taken to task on my blog for expressing doubts (actually I was just being cautious about what was expressed there as fact) about some advice, and in doing so cited some other facts that had lead me to do so.

If nothing else, it confirmed my oft stated view that we are in a world of extremes, where black and whit are the only shades of green, and whatever makes the best headline or pushes the most vocal agenda is what will be served up.

So, despite being the one who freely admitted to still being confused, I was required to fall into a camp. Which I won't do.

All I know is that at present, my request to the authors of the two polar opposite views, respected experts in their fields as may be, have not replied to my request for clarification of their methods and how they arrived at their results.

So for now, I think I'll follow the advice of my mate Dave, who wrote to me in a private email. He is a definite 'man who can' and guru, who says ' in such cases about all you can do is split the difference between the two extremes'.

No way to save a planet, but probably the best we have. And that's the fact of the matter.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bottom of the class

Anyone who knows us, what we do, how long we've been going, and who we have done (or tried to do) business with may find this interesting.

Nice to see public money supporting another 'non-profit' organisation with some ad branding, as opposed to little old free us, with our terrible 'commercial' stigma

We're getting noticed... and published!

Just put down the phone to a Daily Express reporter (Very nice. I hope she stays that way about me/us in print) following my 'Bin Loading' blog.

And the mail has just arrived with a very nice Green Guide for Christmas, which I'll hopefully be reviewing very soon.

Great. More money where it's really needed.

Another one to which it will be interesting to see if my reply gets posted: London launches recycling push in supermarkets

"Cool. Encouragement is to be applauded over the recent high-profile spate of threats and (mostly?) failed attempts at convictions.

The film (which I had never heard of until now - so thanks for that) sounds like a true heir to the Wombles and Clangers.

I would point out that this is more about reuse, and there are many worthy complements to recycling in this and the related sphere or repair, which deserve equal support, though their target-meeting, box-ticking potential is less attractive to some funders.

Learn more via a nifty exhibition on having fun with environmental initiatives, by visiting ‘Dreaming of a Green Christmas' at the Science Museum on Dec. 6:

We look forward to greeting such as Mr. Barlow there, and sharing how doing their bit for the environment can also benefit local taxpayers in their own homes.

And considering the online resource I'm posting this in, we are also keen to show a few marketers how they can turn green into gold, and their primary producer responsibilities into great enviro-pportunities, too."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bin Loading - the new terrorism?

This made my blood boil: £100 fine if you dump food in the wrong bin

So I wrote:

"Bin there, done that, got the ASBO

Have you been a victim of Britain’s bin bureaucracy? If you have contact us on
0871 520 2982 or email

Forgive me writing slightly off question, but as the "Have your say' section didn't seem to have a topic for this yet I hope you'll understand.

As a committed believer in not wasting anything (one look at the site signature will show you by how much), I am totally in support of anything to encourage recycling (though it’s a shame that householders not being acknowledged better for their unpaid labour role as daily sorters). Reuse & repair is even better, but the box-tickers don't seem to like that as much as it can't be measured as easily to claim a met target).

Such extreme methods of enforcement can only lead to a total backlash, and result in an even worse environmental situation... and possibly civic disobedience.

We are talking fines, and possible criminal records, for 'offences' that are pretty minor anyway, but for which people might not have committed. Where is the burden of proof going to be? Who is paying for all these new officials (and their qualifications are...?), not to mention the lawyers and court time for the inevitable appeal and case dismissal. So far they forces of Bin Loading have scored how many convictions? At least the courts still have some sense of justice, sometimes.

We need to get people to want to do the right thing: being their mates, helping and advising. Not by nannying, not by threatening... but by incentivising and rewarding. Show the ones that do will that they are appreciated and others will follow. Ignore the small minority and concentrate on the majority. This country is getting obsessed by fines first, workable procedures (to actually avoid the fines) second. Our authorities are almost running a protection racket: "Shame if this Tesco carrier ended up in your paper wheelie squire... whoops.. look at that. That'll be a pony or you're nicked"

Come to the Science Museum next month to see how much fun we can have... whilst saving."

Sorry (again, all round), the guy's a genius

Dodging a bullet

This story in the Telegraph caught my eye: Cheap bullets put lives of paratroopers at risk

I've pretty much given up on not being 'moderated' by their blog pages, so I wrote a letter:

Should the story about the low-cost, defective ammo supplied to our troops prove as shocking as reported, may I suggest as a way of establishing who is responsible and punishing them via a modern-day version of an ancient practice: a witch hunt. We release all involved into the woods and let our fine armed forces pursue them, armed with the ammunition in question. If there is no problem, then their innocence (post mortem) will be established. If however they survive, guilt will be clear and they can be suitably promoted sideways with full pension and benefits. Why is we reward officials only for saving money as opposed to getting best value to do a job right? I'm still waiting to find out who thought not making Navy warships (Sheffield/Falklands) fireproof was a good idea.

Actually, and having sent it, there seem to be two extremes. Penny-pinching to an unsafe degree. Or spending waaaay over the odds (in the case of anything environmental - consultants, research, contractors, etc). Something to do with villas being free for compliant signatories perhaps? Whichever way, those who have the power seem to see careers and benefits develop nicely no matter what.

It's (Not All) A Gas, Gas, Gas

Good news, in that it is 25 times more, er, bad a greenhouse gas: Global methane rise slowing down

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Green Corner. Black Corner.

Being one of the Top Gear Triumverate, and adapt as all heck with a cunning phrase, James May is a power that be with a broad demographic (Sun Readers, and those who just look at he pictures when their jacuzzi installer is on her break). So this is worth a read: As seen on TV: phoney environmentalists are taking us for a ride

Though a LED torch against a searchlight, I reckon so's this (if they publish, the Telegraph have a JunkkMale filter lately):

"For a start, like some, I’m not quite sure what an environmentalist is, phony or not. Like usual, we seem to have to fall into a Bush-esque ‘You’re either for us or against us’ camp. It’s hard to be truly green if you’re only black or white.
I had a look at a few definitions and didn’t much fancy any of them. All I know is I have a crumbling pile, live nowhere near any useful commuter transportation, have 2.2 kids, in-laws in Singapore, spend more than I make and have demands on my money and time the like of which civil wars used to be fought over (Now, being self-employed, it’s just quietly sorted by civil servants from me... to them). So between that and whatever it is that counts as hating waste and being more than a little concerned about how what we do now impacts later on, I fall into a middle ground: neither ‘mentalist nor climate denier (which is what I see bandied about a lot by folk who tend to oppose notions like, well, some of yours).
I know some right wing folk who do care about all sorts of green stuff, and live the life. I know a lot of left-leaners who hate 4x4s but don’t think Evian and skiing in Klosters is the same thing. I certainly know a few who are, I think still within your definition, sacrificing for the future’s sake. One can only applaud them now, while history will be the judge of those who didn’t feel so disposed.
Can’t fault the population comment: Finite space to stand on. Reducing areas on which to stand and grow stuff. End point = the political dilemma that dare not speak its un-PC name. I certainly ain’t going there. So we turn to ‘bailing with a leaky bucket’ approach.
Good on you for the recycling thing. It’s really a no-brainer, if done right, ignoring we are turned into unpaid (though fined for poor workpersonship) sorters for target setters and high paid meeters of same.
Reuse is a tad different, and sadly low on the ‘grand scheme’ scale, especially to the box tickers, but actually that’s where a lot of good can come inspiring people at home. Especially kids. Check out our site (link in name) to see what is being planned at the Science Museum next month. Not a spam tin in site. Though, now you mention it...
Reduction is big and pretty relevant. So why, on God’s little Earth, would it still seem sensible to leave a TV on standby all night, using energy and creating pollution, if it wasn’t necessary? I can see how lifting one’s finger all the way over the barn conversion is a drag, and when you have multi-media income streams to fund the consequences £-wise, why bother? But really... c’mon.
With you on the nuclear thing (along with Prof. Lovelock, so that’s Gaia on board too), except for the ‘if.. make it safe’ bit. Remember Space 1999? But at least we’ll get to meet all sorts of alien mutants. Just hope they don't turn out to be from Sellafield. As you say, don’t see a credible option yet, so fingers (currently five per hand) crossed!

Big up on the Hydrogen ra-ra, too, but I just hope we’re are spared pols and celebs (and motoring journos) extolling its benefits, with a diesel truck of refills trailing out of shot behind, when the rest of us can’t get a shot of water vapour (it is a greenhouse 'gas', too I believe) out the pipe for decades. Maybe I’ll keep the R-reg (ta for the OK) and ride out the LPG, Hybrid and biodiesel waves until the next big thing arrives.

Finally, discussing is of course fine, but a little bit of doing at some stage can’t hurt either. Especially when some options can save a lot of whatever it is (time, money, planet) we each hold dear."

A folly of Olympic proportions

Well, here's a surprise - Cost of London Olympics UP £900M.

When I owned my agency (I think this is my equivalent of 'When I were a lad..' and has been used before, so bear with me), we were held to our estimates (we tried, valiantly, to point out that a quotation was not possible on something not yet finished) to within the penny, and second. But 40% in a year?

Actually with, it has not been not too different. Funding well thought through applications that do not have every unpredictable 't' crossed and 'i' dotted fail, while those that are masterpieces of fiction, which fit into the system's expectations and aspirations, sail through.

What ever happened to 'promise low and delight by delivering high?' The beancounters have bankrupted the asylum.

Look at Wembley. Now the Olympics.

You pay peanuts; you get monkeys. You quott low, you get the job... you then come out with the most astounding tripe to describe a businesss plan I have ever heard.

Now as I don't play the lottery and don't live in London it really shouldn't matter much to me one way or 'tother, but should I find one penny of my money is going to supp


You know what sucks?

He does: Dyson in call for ‘truth in advertising’ law

Thouigh to this - "Dyson also denied widespread claims that he is “anti-advertising and anti-ad agencies”. But he did say that too many marketing, PR and advertising campaigns are "misinformed or oversell" - I have to say that as the person tasked with the job of conveying the message, the information or oversell was not really down to me to provide or approve.

Bumpy ride

The airlines must be desperate, if this is the best they can do: Stop this fear of flying; it's one of the greenest ways to travel. I must find out what you need to do to get to post such drivel as a piece and not a blog:

"Waaaay-hay!. When I saw this mother of a headline I knew we were in for a bumpy ride!

A few score land or sea-based wrongs do not make an airborne right. Whatever % it is or isn’t, if we concede that global warming is not helped by emissions, anything that contributes to the current rate, much less the increase in it... cannot be a good thing.

What people want to do is one thing. What they can is another. And what they should another still. And what they will be able to, one day...

So I may be able to live with the supermarket looking a lot different without fresh fruit or flowers (local points taken and showing this to be a red herring). In any case, my muesli goes great with dried apricots (please tell me they can be shipped!)

Great that ailrines are doing everything from making spoons lighter, to optimising the amount of water in toilets. Not so sure about the kilos of Sunday classifieds or duty frees, but OK. And Virgin turning the A380 into a gin palace doesn’t sound the best passener/Co2 emission ratio way of travelling either. Remind me, how much more space did they taunt BA with for their front/upper deck folks floor area? At least the Asian airlines are talking cramming 800 in. Then again, there is probably a weight/volume optimum too. Best to use a private jet, doubtless as advertised or via a press junket press-release op-ed rehash in many a quality Sunday.

And careful of the 'solar panel is the solution' thing. I’m still trying to assess who, and what, is right right:

I’d say the only pretty safe course is that advocated by Richie Remote, ‘til they prove that offshore wind farms cost more environmentally to build and run and distribute the juice than they save."


It's a cop show on SKY (my mates). Quite fun, and has made my kids a bit more interested in the power of maths, as opposed to statistics, which is anything you want it to be.

And what I have read here - Solar panels won't save the planet - seem to be matters of mathematical fact, and hence environmental (beyond the financial option) value:

"... a rather more general question-mark has been raised over their value by one of the country's genuine experts, Abu Bakr Bahaj, a senior lecturer in civil engineering, who based his figures on the experience of a large panel installation at his university in Southampton.

Since solar panels in Britain generate, on average, only 20 per cent of their potential maximum output (at a cost of £4,500 per kilowatt of installed capacity), he reported in the journal of the Institute of Civil Engineers that the average pay-back time of solar panels is more than 45 years (although 70 years, he wrote, "is a more realistic figure"). Yet the average life of a photovoltaic cell is only 25 years."

I have written to the quoted sources to see if this can be confirmed and turned into something that the public can use to assess actual £ & e-values to help their decision processes.

I'll let you know if they come back.

It's funny, 'cos it's true

Bah, humbug! It's the annual Christmas card debate...*

* For our part, there will be the usual scrambel to make something reused, then figure the impact of ther posting, and decide, too late, to do a nifty original e-mailing.

So figure on a copied snowball about the 24th!

Reality (Sound) Bites.

This today from our Shadow Chancellor: Where Stelzer's wrong on Tory policy

Seemed a bit low on substance to me. My reply (if it gets published, I seem to be 'moderated' a lot on the Telegraph a lot):

"Nothing that is green is ever going to be black or white, so while it is snappy and a good starting point, I hope we are going to see something more sophisticated built, and adequately explained, around ‘pay as you burn’. And on an individual, non-corporate level, I’d certainly like to sense there is a recognition that not everyone lives in inner London.

No one said it would be easy, but a way has to be found to navigate solutions which achieve the desired effect: reduced emissions and waste. The latter is just common, and economic good sense, and it amazes us at our reuse website that much more is not being done simply out of self-interest. But in the case of the former it will not be acceptable to just shift things around financially (so most initiatives involving the word ‘trading’ make me shudder) whilst achieving no net reductions. Nor will it if we simply end up penalizing those left with few choices to make, or who cannot not benefit from trying to reduce their environmental impacts.

A person who drives pollutes. You don’t need a car in (most) cities. But what about those in the country? I can’t believe that those clogging the motorways daily actually opt to do so.

Equally we seem to have plans (the government’s, in this case, so it is an example only), to rate houses according to their eco-efficiency. Great for a ODPM new build on a South Eastern flood plain; not so good for a cottage built (many years ago, and whose carbon cost is now well passed) in the country. Who votes most, benefits most?

Usage-based penalties, fees, rates, price hikes and taxes are certainly part of the package, but I am not so sure whether a lot of us will see the compensation (in taxes, etc) elsewhere, if we register them at all. To gain support, the transparency of such actions is therefore paramount. If I pay more for fuel, I want to see transport infrastructure (not road-based) improve - fancy popping back the train line though Ross on Wye? – so I don’t have to use the car.

And if we are going to incentivise beneficial initiatives, please let them actually have an environmental benefit - after initial enthusiasm and support, these pages of late make me more than unsure that a hybrid or wind turbine is either financially OR environmentally a good choice, no matter where I live."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Auto - What's the other one?

Scoop two unique test-drives of environmentally friendly vehicles

"Remind me. Is this the one that I read about recently that all the green-pols and celebs are queuing up to ‘endorse’ (way cooler than a Prius); the one that will need a truck to follow it to fill up?
I love Hydrogen. All that comes out the pipe is water ‘n all (though I gather that water vapour is a greenhouse ‘gas’).
And anything that investigates this potential is a great thing (and how this piece was written). But.....
I implore any and all, from gushing ‘It’s electric... there’s no pollution. The electronic juice is made by magic’ TV anchors, ‘Look at me, I care’ rock stars and ‘I’m serious about this Green thing’ pols to not let us think that it is ANYWHERE NEAR an alternative for the common, driving person, yet. And let’s not forget the enviro cost of making a new car, too.
I am still trying to figure out whether buying a wind turbine is a daft financially and will only hasten my grandkids’ suntans.

Nice bike, though."

What we say. What we do.

Don't want to steal their thunder, but this from reuters (if you can find it) is interesting.

I did it. And so have a fair few others, around the world.

What stuck me was how consistent the results were. High 80's yes. Pretty much around the globe.

Now I've told you what I think, what can we do, Mr. Media?

Rubbish - How to save the planet - your starter for 1

It - It's a rubbish tax – and it won't work allowed comments!:

"Who, for instance, is going to tell whether all the rubbish in your bin is in fact yours, or has been dumped in your bin by your tax-avoiding neighbour?"

Good question. But I believe that this has already been answered - detection to fine and criminal conviction, though I'm not aware if there was any trial, burden of proof or anything. Until the appeal. It's done by 'officers', though I'm also not too terribly sure what their training, qualifications or levels of oversight are either. Bet they’re on a bonus, too, which means lobbing a nasty in the local beat bins will be a nice little earner for the cousin-in-law.

The law seems to have the same view, so thus far we have a ton more civil servants (salary, pension, redundancy or sidelining costs and stress-compo inc.), a few squillion more the legal profession (on whose tab?) and the net benefit to the global environment is.... please tell me.

And how many times does it have to be pointed out that it is the bigger picture that is vital at all times. Tokenistic target-meeting in a city (Ken, please note) isn't much good if it is shunted off to China, where they'll probably burn it and the CO2 will waft globally anyway.

Reduction is getting some major attention but is usually in heavy duty areas (ie: energy production) over the heads of most consumers. Well, me at least. I’m still trying to figure out whether buying a Prius or home wind turbine will bankrupt me and/or actually speed my grandkids’ demise.

Re:use and re:pair are much more re:warding to the individual, but most of the effort relevant to the re:areas as far as the public is concerned is causing grief. And with the best will in the world, recycling, while great, is not that tangibly rewarding in the home situation.

Make an Xmas trip to the Science Museum to see what else we can do to motivate folk by being on their side for a change, not shrill shrews, scolds or nannies:

Air - What goes up.. probably has a down side

'Nightmare' expansion of British airports predicted

And I quote: "It is now time for those politicians who claim to have so-called green credentials to either put up or shut up.

"We accept that the UK economy and its people have much to gain from a successful aviation industry. But there is universal recognition that the aviation industry is one of the fastest growing contributors to global warming."

Booker Prizes - Recycling & Solar

Thre's an interesting commentator I have missed until now, which is a pity. He's called Christopher Booker (and chums), and he/they write(s) in the Sunday Telegraph. From his archive he's a bit of a scourge of 'Less than sensible' e-initiatives.

It's a rubbish tax – and it won't work

How does 'recycling' end up here?

Solar panels won't save the planet

A rich seam. I look forward to engaging with him/them.

Will It, er, work?

ITER - NUCLEAR FUSION PROJECT - The answer is... I hope so!


CARB(ON/OFF) - Carbon

I'm creating a new category soon on our internal filing and, soon, the site.

It's labeled, simply 'Carbon'. There's one other, equally simply labeled 'Climate'.

The titles are about all that's simple about them. As these two fill very soon get filled with a swathe of stuff.

Scheme to cut 'carbon footprint'.

In theory it looks good, but I sense it being hijacked by agendas. Look at home wind turbines.

And I love the quotes, look at what they are saying, and check what we have being banging on about for years (and other before us). Only they are on £250kpa, sit in the City and have a lot gain from flying to Bali to discuss all this.

Well, that's one way to deal with it - Energy

UK 'facing power cuts in decade’

Not much more to say, really. So I'll mention why that 'Energy' is bolted on the back there in the title.

The reason is I'm mucking about with e-filing, both internally and externally. I'm not sure if it will help readers, but it's there to assist search functions locating similar topics.

The Lengths Some Will Go To... [Airlines]

Left hand. Right hand.

The airlines have been coming in for a bit of stick lately with, some might say, good reason, at least global warming-wise.

And in response they have been 're:sponding' with initiatives, such as 'investing in bio-fuels' as claimed by Virgin.

So I was interested in this: Virgin in Mile High confusion Â… , and not for the rather puerile 'in humour' masquerading as business communication.

One area not so commented on much (other than by me), is the amount of space being devoted per passenger - majorsociooeconomicc stuff that is subject for another debate.

But I can't see lobbing a dirty great plane up in the sky with two people and a tennis court is quite the way to be heading.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Green Is The Colour. Misinformation Is The Game.

On balance, I think this Enviro Mental deserves it's own post link about the great Ken enviro scam.

Mind you, the author has pretty much has lifted it all from my previous notions, but there are a few extra kinks I neglected to share. Such as:

"As an issue, that's between him and anybody who voted for him, but don't for a moment believe the claims that there's any genuine environmental justification for the charge.
How so? Well you need look no further than the back of the nearest fume-belching black cab for your answer. These supposed paragons of environmental virtue actually produce 233 g/km of CO2 when fitted with the five-speed automatic gearbox that every taxi driver worth his salt opts for. Which is - ta da! - 7 g/km inside the 226 g/km and upwards band "G" that Ken is declaring open season on. Yet, unbelievably, taxis are exempt from paying any congestion charge at all, despite covering more miles in central London than anything else and spending approximately half their time running empty.
And that's just taxis. A recent study that suggested the vast majority of low-level air pollution in British cities is caused by buses, trucks and delivery vans."

At least the lunch bit is accurate:)

OK, I'm in a snit.

Every week they have something like this:


It's 10.45 on Friday morning - I'm sitting in an edit suite with editor Dave putting together this week’s Lunch Lesson on running a business ethically. I've been talking to the Institute of Business Ethics - they say the key goals are tolerance, fairness, openness and responsibility – which maybe sounds more like a lifestyle choice than a business plan. But as people become more aware of their environment, both geographically and in terms of the people around them, I think it's inevitable that our attitudes as consumers will start to reflect our feelings as individuals, taking responsibility for the kind of world we want to live in.

Your emails and letters really do help set our agenda, so please keep them coming in.


To get in touch on any of the following subjects, please click here…

We are planning to send Rob to Lancashire and Northamptonshire sometime soon. Do you know of an interesting business he could visit?

And send us your mobile phone questions for our expert in Consuming Issues on Friday’s programme.

And I used to pitch. But never even get a reply.

I make one small tart comment and the boys get emailed round. Sheesh.

I'm saying nothing*

*Other than I hope Scott A will forgive me posting this. Please sign up for his daily series. It will make your day better.

Nice type, shame about the face.

Ok, that title needs work. I just wanted to share this ad, which had what I thought was a nifty headline pun (at least I haven't seen it before), but was let down a tad by the visual.

If I were selling the notion of saving this green and pleasant land, I'm not sure I'd use a red/yellow/orange sunblasted methane hellhole (I know it's a lot further away and is probably colder, but you get my drift) to illustrate it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Me vs. the BBC

Not quite Michael Moore, but if I have trouble with my reception we'll know why. Just to bring you up to date with the latest from the BBC about the 'great online horse's head in a bed' thing. They have replied, politely, if a little disengenously in my view, which I guess they have to or the OFCOM (he will appear again soon) boogeyman gets them. Latest first:

Dear Mr. Lynn,

I should begin by advising you that only the department you wrote to will know the answer to this question,

As you will note further on, they did not answer my question the first time, so it is hard to see why they might a second. Hence my writing to your department.

however, should you wish us to investigate this matter further could you please tell us why you are concerned about this question

As you will see from the attached correspondence, I asked a question, which was in part answered, though not very well.

In addition, the question 'in question' was asked, without any context as to why or what it meant. If that doesn't sound a bit odd, and not a little sinister, then I don't know what is. Especially left hanging. Still. For example I could ask a lot of things of you about your personal or business life that have nothing to do with the issue at hand, and it may be fair that if they are about something close to home it might be unnerving, no?

The BBC, despite being a public service, staffed by public servants paid for by a fee covered by the likes of me, has a bit of a reputation for gunning for folk, armed with being a monopoly, a very broad remit, a strange level of accountability and a very big pool of money to spent pretty much as it pleases.

So in an era of copyright protections, UGC debates, etc, I was a little concerned if I may have breached something unwittingly, despite the content being by me and about me. And hence I asked for clarification.

If, however, a point was being made, and I suspect I know what it was, then it would be.. polite.. not to say in the sprit of debate... to reply, don't you think? That just smacked of, 'We're the BBC and I have a lot of mates here who can make your life tricky'. Not good with charter renewal. Plus a very big networld out there. And the media. Who is that chap from the Sunday Times who didn't want to pay for his licence? I wonder what else I can Google up. Plus my MP. And a few others in Parliament. See, I might have mates, too.

This is a programme that continually asks for reader input: and from my experience, and that of others, completely ignores it. Not even a 'thanks, but we've done that/we're not in the area'. Nothing. Until now. And when I do get a reply, it seems like a veiled threat unless clarified otherwise. Which was not forthcoming. That's the trouble with email. Tone is removed and misunderstandings can happen.

and forward us the relevant correspondence.

Here you go (all on the 14th, pretty much as an exchange until my last - I waited until the next day to write to you) [I'll leave it in but it's back in another post]:


Dear Ms. Jones
It is/was open to those in the UK, and further field who have a business needing investment to continue its growth and it is meant to be more than just a one off competition. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the item.

I was disappointed in as much as I tuned in to see about a further opportunity to expand, which seemed to have passed. If it is still open to those in the UK then maybe I should have not have been. Where can I find out more

May I ask do you use "see us on the BBC" on all your promotional literature ?

As we don't have any, I'd say no, unless you count my email signature. May I ask why you ask? Would you like me to stop? It was a while ago.


Dear Sir,

It is/was open to those in the UK, and further field who have a business needing investment to continue its growth and it is meant to be more than just a one off competition. I'm sorry you were disappointed with the item.

May I ask do you use "see us on the BBC" on all your promotional literature ?

Best wishes

Lynne Jones


Sent: 14 November 2006 12:58
To: Working Lunch
Subject: Comment for 'Viewers' Views'

Dear Sirs,

I tuned in to watch because of this:

On Tuesday we talk to venture capitalists from the Isle of Man who are running a competition to find entrepreneurs.

Interesting questions posed.

So I'm clear, this is now a closed competition and it was/is not open to me anyway? So really it was a promo piece for the IoM than of any real value to businesses like mine?

If you are able to provide this further information, then we would be happy to look at the matter again.
Glad to make you happy.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

No problem.

I look forward to hearing from you again.

Rgds, Peter Martin
British Citizen, TV Owner, Licence Payer

---------Original Message-----------

{Date:} 15/11/2006
{Feedback Type:} Complaint

{Title:} Mr
{First Name:} Peter
{Last Name:} Martin

{Phone:} 01989 762269
{Postcode:} HR9 7BZ
{Country:} England

{About:} General
{Network:} BBC2

{Programme Name:} Working Lunch
{Transmission Date:}14 - 11 - 06

Not a complaint... yet. But as things have been left hanging more than 24hrs after a flurry of activity, I have a... concern.

I wrote to the above programme with a question, and in addition to my answer had the following comment regarding my email signature:

May I ask do you use "see us on the BBC" on all your promotional literature ?

I immediately answered, but then asked why this was posed, but to date have not heard back.

May I therefore formally ask for an explanation as I remain
unclear for the reasons behind this question and the manner in which it was asked.

ADDENDUM: You couldn't make it up! Nice of them to mention it... Plus I can see how me going through the whole process again to answer the guy directly is more efficient. Not.

Thank you for contacting BBC Information.

We are sorry but our email system will not receive your email unless you use one of our pre-formatted webforms. We realise the inconvenience but hope you will understand that this helps us handle the many emails we receive every day more efficiently and makes best use of your licence fee.

Please resend your reply or message using the format provided by one of our webforms at, choosing the one which applies best to you. If we have previously given you a reference it will help to include it.

Also available online at are answers to common questions we often receive about our programmes, history, policies and structure, BBC Governors, complaints and documents such as our Annual Report or other reports and publications.

Alternatively you can telephone us on 08700 100 222 to comment, give your appreciation, make an enquiry, or register a complaint.

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's BIG alright!

Having decided to make the most of what little I gained from our commitment to appearing in the BIG Idea, I recently sent some Plug:Jugs to the judges, organisers and MCs. No replies as yet, oddly.

I think my next move will be the media, who are shaping up to being about as impressed as a lot of the participants are, if the Forum pages are anything to go by. Though I must say I have seen almost no mention of the show, good or bad, in most usual places, which is odd. And, I suppose, deadly for the orgnaisers. 'No such thing as..' as Simon Cowell would say, still dripping from Mrs. Ozzie's last attack.

There are also more than a few concerns on IP, which may or may not be legally an issue, but if the winner turns out to be one of these (and I don't think they (see Safe Shopper and Sticmatz) are in the market yet to actually be what's being pitched) it might be fun.

You pays yer money and yer takes yer chances with such things, but having, with many others, invested a lot in trying to make this a fair and exciting and interesting competition to find something special that qualifies for the title, I must say I feel badly let down by a very superficial, and not a little bit on the unethical... world.

Online. Under Cover. Off The Road?

Gives new meaning to shop 'til we drop. New shopping centres could be a waste of space

"Thanks to a new generation of "internet" shoppers who are more than happy to try out [stuff] in the store before ordering it to be delivered to their homes."

But bad news for landlords. Altogether now... 'Ahhhhh'.

Good or bad? No more traveling for us, unless you need to visit to look, in which case that makes trips for you and the delivery. Hmnn.

Damn site cooler than a Prius, eh?

I like hydrogen. So why does the way this - hydrogen car: beauty or beast? - seem to be heading in the wrong direction?


BMW has already received plenty of offers from politicians and executives, scientists and athletes, rock stars and TV personalities, all eager to help "create visibility for hydrogen".

Madonna, David Suzuki, Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger are said to be among a long line of celebrities queuing up to endorse the car, and perhaps further enhance their own green images in the process.


The problem is that currently most hydrogen is generated from fossil fuels, since the cost of generating it from, say, solar energy can be up to four times higher.

And when hydrogen is produced this way, well-to-tank and tank-to-wheel analysis shows the overall carbon dioxide emissions from hydrogen powered cars can be higher than that from petrol or diesel powered vehicles.

Thank you Nick. This could so many places, but certainly here. Thre's also one more kink I didn't know:

"It seems that image is everything. I hear that various green-tinted celebs are being sized up by BMW to run the new hydrogen powered 7 Series, the "zero emission" car. There's just one small problem: the absence of any hydrogen filling stations means that they're going to have to be refuelled on site with the H2 delivered in an ordinary, diesel-burning truck. At risk of sounding like the Daily Mail's Richard Littlejohn (and keeping up the tangential Robin Hood connection), you couldn't make it up."

If you can't stand being in the kitchen, fine the cook

Turn Up The Heat - Guardian

I was a tad worried when I saw "Now it may be starting produce action as well. The Queen's speech included plans to legislate against rising carbon emissions," and precious little by way of legislating FOR anything.

Sure, enough sticks to make that Roman symbol of authority (now what was it called again?) will be needed in a lot of areas, but there are surely some others where the great and good of our Dear Leaderships can try for a few carrots, too.

Not from the waffle I've heard from Ministers on breakfast TV lately.

People need mates as well as nannies!


Those who walk under trees are at risk from these terrorising inspectors - Guardian

See you in hell, Dell

I don't know why I say this, surrounded as I am by Dell PCs and printers, and with them doing a lot more than some to mitigate their e-footprint, but what goes around comes around: Dell delays filing results as inquiry is stepped up

Of course the fire alert was not their fault, and really I have no real complaints about the machines, other than our massive hard drive failure that cost us so dear.

And this enquiry, which seems so damaging, is nothing to do with my big beef: their customer service. The arrogance was breathtaking.

I could have been fighting their corner. Now I'm waiting to laugh as the redundancies bite, but only at senior level. The poor sods at ground zero always seemed OK and are the ones who will really suffer.

Trust me, I'm in blogging

You gotta love the public:

"This... is astounding.

I use blogs (perhaps too much for my RSI and sanity) both ways, and love what they can do to round out what’s out there.

But... trust them more than ’newspapers, TV advertisements or email marketing campaigns’???!!

These are tightly constrained, monitored and controlled media, subject to censure and fines.

Blogs are the wildest, woolliest West.

It’s a sorry commentary on our faith in media these days.

But maybe blogs are not having it all their own way (via me and some others), even BBC’s Newsnight:

“Where there is any form of shortlist*, agendas come into play, making both the process and the result immediately open to... 'concerns'. Even with no editing, what stays in and what is kept out shapes the story.’

*Substitute selection, moderation or any other similar word you fancy here."

Just added this to Newsnight:

You gotta love the public:

"This - "Public trust blogs over marketing" is astounding:

But maybe blogs are not having it all their own way; just look on these pages.

Some of mine appear. Some do not. And it's not because I use naughty words. If not, why?

At least they always end up on my, totally trustworthy, blog:)

The Guardian is on it, too: Should the BBC pay for user-generated content?

Plus another, related topic I added to.

A Right Royal..?

No, that's it. I just pose the question.

Inspired by Get on your bikes, the green Prince of Wales tells his staff , I sense a double dose of 'Damned if you do'... plus 'Nothing green can be black and white'

Gawd knows why, the guy is a role model. What he says, and does is news. And he says and does a lot, and has a bevvy of equerries to let us know about it. And where he goes, some folk may follow.

My first thought was 'here we go again'. I guess bus and tube doesn't cut it. At least he bought the bikes. I just hope they have places to park each end. And non-energy consuming ways to dry off when it rains. I notice they are 'available'. This could be fun. A bit like who leaves last at night (and switches the lights off... yay!).

What is interesting is this - "Royal accounts show that it costs taxpayers £13 per mile to transport a royal by air, compared to £41 per mile by royal train." - which is the dilemma I raised in the Newsnight blog the other day. How do we as taxpayers feel about footing his eco-desires... and example, when it is quite a lot of dosh for very little actual result.

And lo, it came to pass: Noblesse Oblige, in the Gaurdian

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm Proud Of This

In reply to a recent editorial invitation, regarding Social Enterprise, which was actually part of a whole raft of stuff that day but (one said write in).

"In one of your accompanying pieces, the question is asked: What can the Government do to encourage social enterprise?

I'd say a heck of a lot, and it is. But then I’d go on to say.. mostly of the wrong things.

Why is where I'll offer my highly personal, and subjective, view.

I'm no longer young but I'm still enterprising, so I reckon at least 50% of what I have to share may apply. Social Enterprise is currently big, and across every demographic and sphere.

And as Martin Webb writes, "It's about using the imagination to create something that wasn't there before”, adding: "Enterprise Week isn't just about making money either".

However I'll have to take issue with "once you've got a mortgage, family and career to worry about it's difficult to think or act on purely altruistic lines. Secondly, all the lovely social content has got our politicians racing to be involved and will have no doubt made funding a whole lot easier". I haven't. And it hasn't.

As to "Gordon Brown is even hosting an event". Oh, Go.. od.

So I stand ready to be convinced that the Tories will do any better. But they can try to (convince me, that is). It's certainly interesting that George Osborne has said that there are "worrying signs" that Britain is becoming "less entrepreneurial, less competitive" yet the Chancellor claims that Britain is "beginning an enterprise renaissance".

Who to believe? That we face deep-rooted cultural barriers to entrepreneurship resonates, especially that 'we' (who is that?) are less ready to take on risks and are less entrepreneurial, less business orientated.

I'm pretty sure government is active when trying to encourage enterprise, but as stated, "Creating the right environment is much more important than simply starting new schemes and initiatives to tick boxes."

However, I do not agree the popularity of TV programmes like Dragons' Den and The Apprentice has helped to improve attitudes to entrepreneurship, at least in the intended way. If anyone thinks I'd go anywhere near the former, except for the dubious benefits of bad publicity, they can offer me half a decent sales rep’s salary for half my company. As to the latter, not that I watched it, it seems more like celebrity hype than anything else. The winner has done what? Meanwhile she who was second has a website that says... “Don’t waste our time and we won’t waste yours!” and is a female Cowell on Sky's Big Idea: Another show (which I was in, for all the right reasons: £100k of them) which is shaping up with an odd notion of what constitutes a UK world-beater.

I'd like to think my social enterprise has a social purpose. But so far the government has done very little to encourage me. It’s not for the want of trying. Third sector conferences. Quango grant application rounds. All funded, at least in the getting there, applying, etc, by me. Only to find myself surrounded by a lot of paid folk who know how such things work and can talk the talk. Not for profits. Charities. Folk who know folk who do this for a living and will do your pitch, for a fee (offset) in a way the box tickers love.

And if 90% of the money gets used up on offices, staff, regional offices, regional staff, pension, communications (best way to establish an empire) and expenses, plus fact-finding tours, before anything gets near a social enterprise doing anything, then that's how it's always been, isn’t it, Sir. Humphrey?

Details, I have. Just ask.

I just don't see how it's all making the world a much better place.

Maybe it's me. I'm creative. I have ideas. I applied this to advertising, and it worked well.

But when I see the word ‘innovation’ or ‘entrepreneur’ in any advertised funding initiative I groan. These guys don't want what they haven't seen before (pretty much my definition of innovative'). Or in a form they're not used to (my definition of creative). So is it any wonder we are not seeing cutting edge stuff being pushed through for all these gazillions? It's all SOSO (Same Old. Same Old). Or hype. The media are complicit. They don't want good, or what works. They want what will get ratings from the primetime viewers. Hours of presentation and debate chopped to a few minutes.. you’re in/out! I hate/like it!

If, as I believe, we have a bunch of grey suits (actually the last I dealt with had a T-shirt.. but it was grey, to match his mind) sitting on this vast resource, and simply being Uranus to true creative, if not businesslike (note: I don't mean business minded) innovators from Mars, for heaven's sake let's figure how to bridge that divide and get us back on track of being Great Britain again!"

All grist to the windmill, eh?

From a Newsnight a whil ago: It's No Breeze

"That’ll teach me to go offline for a while! I was wondering if anyone had seen this:, and lo, it seems it is the DM who have only just picked up. My bad.

This... is a tad telling: “please, don't do it! I work in the renewables industry, and there is no doubt whatsoever that roof-mounted turbines are an expensive "con".

To set against this, now that B&Q is selling them hand over fist for Xmas, and as the downsides (if they are real) seem to have been sanitised a bit, at least mainstream, I do hope we will get accurate ROI (eco-nomic and –logical) figures... from you?

This is what I’m doing with my reviews, with a 6 month update on my first (funds a bit tight for the full monty of every device and every brand) - - coming soon."

You know, we really are poorly served with good info/data. It's all extremes. Yes it's the saviour... No it's a monster. Back to my oft posted arguments fro real ROI tables.

Well, you never know...

It all rather depends on whether they recall 70's TV shows. If not, I'm b******d (to keep in the BBC 'cred' vernacular.

"Dear J... ustin, I'd like to meet Mr. Gore too, one day. Soon(ish). I think he could help me help him help everyone mend the planet. Can you fix that for me? Thank you very much. Peter (Aged 49)"

Three strikes and you’re... still in?!

I added one to this:

"Well, you never know. As I’ve already written twice this is perhaps pushing it, but as this is where the debate started...

Out of 36 (at last count) posts, approx 30% (at.. etc, but a few were ‘replies’) were about moderated blogs.

As I may (or may not:) have been quoted, but certainly said, with mouth freshly washed out with soap, – publish-and-be-ignored on another of this site’s Forums - go_on_make_tv_history: “Where there is any form of shortlist*, agendas come into play, making both the process and the result immediately open to... 'concerns'. Even with no editing, what stays in and what is kept out shapes the story.

*Substitute selection, moderation or any other similar word you fancy here.

I must say that being ‘moderated’ by an outside company adds a new kink to impartial, objective public service broadcasting. Yes, it says so in the guidelines what will happen.

But.. er.. do we get told whose doing it? Rupert Murdoch? Kim Jong Il? Or, horror of horrors, a Govt. spin doctor?!!!"

One Man's Whinge..

Stop whinging

"It can be valuable to come to something fresh, and late, and sift through the debris with a mind unfogged by the emotions of the moment.

As is rightly pointed out from the off, there is what we want to do, what we should do, what we can do, what we have to do, what we’re made to do... and what we end up doing. These can often be at odds with each other.

There was a point being made in this piece. I have to say making it in Jamaica was a bit of a plus for the production team. Did the fam go too? No blue screen here; only blue skies. Haven’t watched it yet, so I can’t comment whether license fee money was saved by freebies in 1st, Club or cattle being offered in return for a stray logo cropping up in shot, and the local tourist board helping scratch mutual backs whilst there.

I am glad to see the offset issue has been addressed. I reckon we already need to plant a forest the size of Jupiter just to cope with Mrs. Beckett’s commute when she was in charge of our environmental future. Now where are her successors at the 'mo?

Taking the pledge is interesting. I could live with silver, if we could afford the fares. The in-laws are in Singapore, so it would be nice to see them. Can we make it a human right?

But I’m guessing this doesn’t count ‘business’, and options such as not splaying out in the same space in front or upstairs as do 4 others in cattle.

So we sometimes don’t have alternatives, but it is incumbent upon us to do our best to mitigate their impact. Did this? No.

ps: Phone charger: check. Noticed that it was warm even when not charging a mobile. Still got a couple of cordless jobs with little red lights on 24/7 though:( I don’t think they do DECT crank dial jobs.

pps: 17. Tobias, packing doesn’t have to go in the bin:

As it is pertinent, let me post here what I think (that guy who does brainy stuff at college can tell us if it is or isn’t) is an ethical situation:

Thanks to my devastating insights on this issue, you invite me to appear on the show. Good for my cause; good for your... well... it kills a few primetime minutes cheaply. I think I read elsewhere on these blogs that you do pay costs, but on what basis I don’t know.

If it's London I’d say OK, at the time of night I could come in unethically by car, which will cost you for the travel, and my time, which is about 3hrs each way. Or, ‘cos I’m ethical, it’s the train, which is about the same travel time but a lot more expensive, plus the hotel ‘cos the last train’s gone, plus my additional opportunity costs of being away from home/office.

I posed this recently to a client who challenged my environmental credentials as I arrived by car, but decided after all that she’d live with my driving time of 10 minutes over paying my public transport time of 2hrs. Funny that.

Which do you choose?"

Publish And Be... Ignored?

A rich seam as I return to the Newsnight blog. Usually I graze only at the Ethical Man section. But this about democratic citizen journalism (UGC), caught my eye, and prompted a thought: Go on, make TV history

"I have to share some of the same concerns that first poster Themos Tsikas has. Where there is any form of shortlist, agendas come into play, making both the process and the result immediately open to... 'concerns'. Even with no editing, what stays in and what is kept out shapes the story. Look at the fun on the Ethical Man blog about posts that are, are not, are, so there... 'Missing in Moderation'... It's a hoot."

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Having seen stuff of mine chosen and not chosen, or if chosen changed to suit the editorial agenda, the notion of a free press is rather quaint. I just admire those who have a stance, admit it, and when they publish they publish it all. Or nothing.

At least they can't get rid of this... yet.

In with a chance?

I'm getting moderated out a lot these days, so let's see if this one to Newsnight - The ethics of radiator valves - makes it through.

'The plumbing, ethical, financial and environmental bits are pretty much covered. Despite the £300, I’d say go for it.

I needed to upgrade my system a while ago, so bolted on the rad valves to the boiler upgrade, as a lot of the costs were in the flushing of the system anyway, and the guys were there. Saves a trip cost. More of a dilemma when it’s just for the valves.

Maybe combine with the annual service? Get in quick before winter comes (if it does). And make sure they put things on the right way! 25% of ours are on backwards and hammer if they are not full on or off.

Now I’m going on to a real concern about another section raised in the piece, thanks to what looks like one of our Dear (as in ‘fine if you don’t; you pay not to get fined so do) Leaders’ many daily initiatives.

" The big one was filling the cavity in my walls... The only reason I haven't already... is I didn' t have a cavity to fill . "

How’s this work if one doesn’t live in a brand new SE semi, that’s doing it’s bit for global warming by the DPM concreting over all that’s left of what’s green to build it and keep all those new young voters happy and out of the red (or in it, votes wise)?

Just popped on, is it? No can change, no arguments? Ker-ching! I live in an existing house, that takes no more emissions to make. And I’m making it as eco as I can. Partly for the planet; partly for my wallet – I have just popped in a solar dehumidifier for my cellar - - which I’m road-testing on these bases for our next newsletter, and so far it’s looking good.

Like Justin, I don’t have a cavity to fill, but can think of a few some can stick it in if this is just another ring-fenced, public pension pot revenue generator at my expense in the name of green.'

Dr. Junkk Writes...

... for Newsnight: Foraging with care

"A late blooming comment, as it were. Still relevant to the last post (da, da..... da, tat tat tat-tat, dee tat, tat, tat-tat)

While I'm all for going au naturel locally, if it's out of your allotment (and frankly, even if it is) do be very, very careful on the hygiene aspects. At the very least make sure you get it home and wash it within an inch of losing all nutritional value.

Having just nursed a wife through two weeks of food poisoning (no clue how, the rest of us were fine), I don't think our finances, the health service or the environment were served too well during this period."

If you are what you eat, this is a worry.


Mintel has identified what will be hitting supermarket shelves in 2007.

They asked if we thought these trends important. Silly boys and girls:

"Oh yes, they are important. Good to see this "..With a love of nature comes a deeper commitment to ethical products.." and this "..Refillable packaging has a strong opportunity to make its mark as consumers are increasingly looking for more ways to save natural resources". Though I'm not sure how they equate to this "..exotic fruits such as açaí and cupuaçu [wow, those babies did for my Spellchecker!) continuing their rise to fame..", food miles wise. But as my fellow Geordie-centric poster points out, I'm still wondering when the whole issue moves from Prius (as a 2nd car) Person to Mondeo Man (R-Reg. Can't afford an LPG convert)."

No Green Port Left

Sorry, I came over all nautical. It's just that I kind of associate Green with Left, and that's how... oh forget it.

The point is, I was floored just now by this: Green my ride

A non rant, average person-friendly, pragmatic... useful article in the Grauniad Love the pop-up for 2 business class seast to Dubai, guys. I can occupy twice the space to go look at them make the oil we're burning:)

Long my they do more.

Plus I feel oodles better about my Volvo. I could... probably... afford to convert to LPG. But I don't trust Gordo, and so far the makers say I can't, while the converters say I can.

So little rare. Or well done.

I hope I don't get in trouble for the whole Nazi allusion thing (what with Ken having a spot 'o bother with this recently), but I'm still banging away. I don't know why. One recent one I devoted a while to ended up with a few hundred replies. I doubt the author read them all.

Still, this does get bigger than the environment: Make them all pay £25 to drive in London

First they came for the 4x4s, and I did not speak (They are a bit much, if not really necessary; a bit like drinking six pints. Still, it's a free country).
Then they came for the 'bigger' cars, and I managed an eyebrow raise (they are what some of us, not on ex's, who pay for our own trips, use to transport a bit more than our single selves to work in. Or simply can be a lot cheaper on a cost/per mile/opportunity cost basis - you'll find that when it's a family outing).
And then they came for my pint (it takes a lot of water to make one), and as it actually impinged on me getting bladdered each night I was miffed, though by then it was too late.
But hey ho, at least I can now still enjoy a healthy glass of designer mineral water in my favourite H20 bar.. er..

As this is a national newspaper, I would estimate that not everyone lives and/or works in (as in 'in') London. I'm sure many do, though perhaps not within striking range of a tube or a bus that works.
But sadly, for all sorts of reasons, we all may need to travel there. No one does that trip unless you have to.
Now it may be daily, and if we're stinking rich and live in the 'burbs or beyond, we simply add to our Aston and Shogun a Prius... and Ken's Your Daddy: you can enter Bryony's patch free as a bird, and buzz about all day emitting away (electricity - be it hybrid or whiz-bang - gets generated and distributed, and not very efficiently in the latter case, somewhere).
Or if you're not so rich, you can try and lug a bit more into the exhibition than your journalistic utility belt of Alka Seltzer (Nice. Hope the liver holds out for the spawning thing), and pay an extra £25 for the privilege, despite the fact that you are now mostly emitting ... nothing.

So Ken has never used a Taxi then? Or been conveyed in some other form of vehicular transport (I'm sure he took the tube to Heathrow with is entourage to pop off to visit his mates on those fact finding tours, and they cycled them all around). I don't deny him the need, or right to so it. It is simply necessary to do your job. So that first few paras is either tunnel visioned or wilfully simplistic.

Other than being a modest-income earner's worst nightmare, and hence sure-fire vote loser, if it was about the environment wouldn't taxing the amount of stuff that goes in the fuel tank (regularly), in combination with what comes out the pipe (exhaust or power station - electricity comes with an e-cost) as a miles covered-fee (as opposed to a one off purchase tariff), be a) fairer and b) better for emissions control?

Divide and conquer is a great way to grab control. It's not so good for democratic change and social cohesion.

We expect it from the pols. When the media offer their support I despair.

This planet needs sensible action. Not hot air, hype and silly, divisive gestures.

And as a % of the whole greenhouse thing what are London's private car emissions, anyway? Say versus the non fuel-taxed skiing trips to Verbier? Or the non energy-saving bulbs burning in city offices? Or the poorly insulated homes? Or those that can't afford high-efficiency boilers... etc?

Fewer targets & penalties; more effective actions & incentives, please.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I leapt into dangerous waters, regarding a sacred, cash cow.

Driving a 4x4? That'll be £25 a day, please

"I live in the country (some of us do).

I don't have a 4x4, or a big engined car (some of us do.. and a few probably need them).

I come into London a fair bit (some of us have to, lugging stuff, ironically in my case to share the joys of saving the planet).

For those of us juggling our finances, an electric or hybrid is looking a pretty good idea (except for the lugging bit), which seems the intention.

So if I am rich enough to have a 4x4/biggie (ignoring those, for instance growing our 'buy local' crops who may not be, and who don't live in London. Or have an old car), forget the train, I simply buy myself another (5-25% of total eco-cost in manufacture, depending on who you believe), to spend most of my time lugging a battery down the motorway, to buzz about for free the last few miles.

At which point it stops all day filling up space. Or can buzz about cranking out emissions (batteries do need to get charged somehow, and not that efficiently, using fossil fuels) for free.


Other than being a modest-income earner's worst nightmare, and hence sure-fire vote loser, wouldn't taxing the amount of stuff that goes in the fuel tank (regularly) in combination with what comes out the pipe (exhaust or power station - electricity comes with an e-cost) as a miles covered-fee be a) fairer and b) better for emissions control?

Or was the latter perhaps not the point?

The first casualty in a spin war is trust.

What a sad debate for the capital city of a country who accounts for a fraction of total global emmissions, and talks and gestures its way into the future, while the majority who don't have such cars get distracted from real issues and actions that can make a difference."

Head Over Parapet.. Commence!

I've posted a couple in the Guardian today.

Both to David Miliband at the UN climate change conference: day two

"I'm trying to get a grip who is saying what, and with luck doing the same thing. Or, more likely, another.

Sorry to kick off with the Indy, but with a front page that has all the political party logos to the left and the UKIP logo and a picture of Mr. Blair - not his party - to the right (no comment) I have read this today: "David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, wants to extend the carbon trading scheme to include more businesses such as hotels and supermarkets. But Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, is resisting the idea."

But then in this fine tome I now read '...reports of a clash with the chancellor, Gordon Brown, were " ridiculous".

May I ask who thinks what, and who gets the casting vote on environmental matters in government?

And what, precisely, will this country's stance be, and the consequences to industry and the voting population.

Please can we have some tangibles, and with luck avoiding the word 'targets'.
I've watched a succession of his Ministerial eco-colleagues been given a daily 3 minutes on BBC Breakfast TV trot out waffle, and when posed questions on real-life, actions (such as VAT breaks on e-friendly home improvements), the best I've heard so far is 'it's tricky, and were looking at it'.

Hope the weather's nice there."

Second, to anyone, really

"In posting before, a little ad popped up telling me that I could save 30% on my energy bills by popping in a wind turbine. Sounds a plan. But is this so? I have also recently read (Mail on Sunday, sorry) that they may not be such a good idea, not just financially but environmentally.

Meanwhile, it seems a good idea to buy a hybrid. Only I don't live in London (some of us don't - and the nearest train station is 40 minutes way, and at 4x the fare, let's not go there here) and lugging a battery down the M4 apparently isn't too smart either.

With major political leaders advocating, and in some cases stuffing through either laws against or incentives for such things daily, and such contradictory advice either in support or against, its all a tad confusing for the poor consumer.

When are we going to see some sense talked by the political and green elites (activist and media) that don't presume we all live in a house in Putney, can all afford to offset our Perrier and jaunts to Klosters, and whack up a solar panel on the nanny flat each week?

I know there are a lot of folk out there struggling along with mortgages, kids, holiday plans, relative overseas etc, who are not only seeing a bit much on the fine or tax front that will affect the minority of those who can afford it not one jot. And precious little on the incentive front that can help those who want to do something but need help and non-agenda-driven guidance that works for them and the planet.

Speaking of which, while recycling is dead good and all, is it perhaps not getting a bit too much of the lion’s share of the target-driven culture that serves box-tickers and makes a lot of folk big money (quangos, ad agencies, local composting officer salaries/pensions, waste contractors)? A few tens of millions of folk spending a minute a day sorting out their waste is a heck of a wage bill saved. But it isn't too satisfying or anything other than emotionally rewarding on an individual level.

Reduction can be equally unattractive (but doesn't have to be). But let me pitch something that can help a tad and be both fun and rewarding: repair and reuse. Try http// for a start."

Shame I cocked up the URL, though! D'oh!