Monday, January 16, 2006

Dying to have an opinion

Though not strictly ENV/Rec in nature, by virtue of blogging before on the small matter of eco-fatwas I was disturbed, and hence now feel moved to write about the following in the Sunday Times: 

Morrissey supports animal rights violence,,176-1986256,00.html

In a nutshell, singer Morrissey, who is a vegan, it seems has publicly backed violent attacks by extremists against scientists and companies involved in medical research using animals.He has also turned his attention to chefs Jamie Oliver and Clarissa Dickson Wright, labeling them enemies of the animal rights movement. I think they killed what they ate. As opposed to all his fans who get it in polystyrene trays from the Superbutcher fairy.

It feel really sorry for all who cop such unfortunate attacks, especially the latter because they are only doing what the rest of us do, if perhaps with darn sight more honesty.

Fortunately, he has not seen much support for his stance, even from animal activists.

Where familiar, and worrying, chords got struck was where he apparently claims he approves of dubious tactics because “you reach a point where you cannot reason with people” , going on to claim: “Intelligent people who are forced to act because the law is shameful or amoral.” That's what the vote is for.

I fear this is some warped justification we may see coming into play in the environmental debate, only adding to the distractions to actually finding areas of consensus and doing stuff.

Whatever we die of, it surely should not be for disagreeing with someone who thinks they know better than we do what's good for us.

Is neutrality enough?

If you were being borne down upon by an aggressive, threatening enemy, would would you like on your side? Switzerland? Or the USA?

I just ask, because I have been wondering if the cause of neutrality (which I was going to say is at least better than nothing, but of course is sort of, by definition, just that), is often enough.

What has inspired me to ask is nothing quite as global as world wars (and Iraqis may have a view on the answer I allude to above), or even Kyoto, though it is sort of related to the latter.

It's just that every day we get several PR releases from major businesses trumpeting  that they have gone carbon neutral. Usually this means they have at last stopped chucking their paper in the landfill or donate their PC's to the requisite worthy causes. On occasion, they have facilitated staff doing something helpful. But it just all seems so internal. Even when there is an outreach of sorts, it usually some bit of PR tokenism like supporting the MD's wife's hairdresser's dog walker's eco-consultant's fun run.

So we tend to say 'well done', and not mention it in our pages. It's simply hard to imagine what possible interest it would have with our readers... who are not dissimilar to their existing and/or potential customers.

What always seems to be missing is the next step. It's a bit like every bit of plastic, cardboard & paper product I use having an arrowed triangle on it with mysterious numbers inside. The maker has done their bit, can point to such commitment at the CSR section of the AGM, and then forget about making it really, truly, madly, deeply, mean something that the public can and will respond to. By telling them, helping them and guding them to use such efforts in a positive and mutually-beneficial way.

So please Mr/Mrs/Ms blue-chip PR person, next time you fire off something about what you are doing, spare a thought for how it could be made to make your public work with you to make things better.

Maybe we should call it Carbon Positive. That... I'll buy into.

Just call me Mr. Albatross

Ah well, it looks like we are going to get consumed in a ball of flame after all, so I think it's important some deckchairs get re-arranged.

Actually the title comes from an uneasy feeling I have that when I support someone they end up crashing and burning. If the reverse is true, i may have a career opportunity on hand.

This came about because over the weekend, and now this morning, one Mr. M. Palin has hit the news.

Readers of previous blogs will recall that I had allowed my eyebrow to twitch when he had a go at one J. Clarkson for filling our screens by driving cars around, but didn't seem to see how that may not be much different to flying hither and thither in airplanes to entertain us in simply another way with escapist antics few can afford but delight in dreaming about.

However, having penned a more reasoned piece in his capacity as Prez of Transport 2000, I was erring on cutting him some slack.

Somewhat presciently, I ended by wondering if the editor's blog on the T2000 (isn't that the heartless killer robot in Terminator) did not bode well.


Globetrotter Palin brought down to earth by eco-lobby

It would seem his defence is that his adventures reduced overall greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging people to remain on their sofas. However, with a thing called the 'Palin Effect', whereby he has inspired more long distance travel on the part of the consumer than just about anyone, that may not quite fly (ahem). And even I can ponder a detour to Nepal to climb K-serasera en route to Singapore; whereas the purchase price, insurance group and fuel consumption keep a Bugerrati XLS 1000i firmly in my dreams.

Apparently, though it is also denied in the reports, Transport 2000 has grown increasingly embarrassed not just by his journeys but his attempts to defend them. No kidding.

However, Stephen Joseph, director of Transport 2000, has said: “Criticisms of the travelling he does as part of his job miss the point. You can’t make a travel series in a London studio unless you want it to turn out as an Ealing comedy.”

Equally, you can't try and run a business in our part of the West Midlands unless you drive a car. Which is why I get a little frustrated with the sanctimonious, 'my agenda is better than your agenda'-driven finger pointing that ends up with nonsense like this going on all the time, leaving the average Joe in the middle.

Anyway, if you have to ski in Verbier, the Times also printed a link to a way to do what you want in a slightly better way than previously. I wonder how many of those taking us to task actually do?

I don't like Mondays

This from today's Independent:

It's a commentary by James Lovelock, the originator of Gaia theory. It does not make pleasant reading. He has his detractors, from both sides of the environmental debate, but it's hard to fault a lot of his logic, let alone opinion, and anyone who figured out global warming 20 years ago (when I for one was deciding between the Aston and the Ferrari as the car I'd most like) has to be worth paying attention to. 

Of course, this all does coincide with a book 'The Revenge of Gaia', published Feb. 2 by Penguin.

I think it is a least worth reading.

My 20% is better than your 20%

I'm simply being naughty here. So I apologise in advance for what is
perhaps more than an eyebrow twitch at what's possibly still a BTN
(better than nothing), though it still most certainly also struggles
to satisfy my cost:benefit measure.

On TV currently is one of several high-budget commercials which, if I
recall correctly, or indeed much of anything, involves something
about doing 20% of something. Basically I think it's a don't waste
stuff message, involving switching off lights. So far, so ok, why
not? Well, apart from where the production and media funds could have
gone to better effect.

However, in one thing struck me as an example of what seems to be
'pet projectism', whereby one branch of 'this is what we are saying
you should do without much in the way of new ideas how to,
suggestions on paying for it or incentives to do so' takes it upon
themselves to prioritise the right thing as they see it.

I just wonder why the main protagonists of this ad, gambolling about
in what seemed like a leafy inner London suburb, needed a dirty great
big black 4x4 SUV to go about their planet-saving affairs picking up
loft insulation. It's more switch of a light; fly to Verbier for the
weekend. And no, it didn't look like the Lexus hybrid. I can see how
a Prius may have been thought too obvious, but it just seemed like an
odd message as part of the mix.

From print column commentary to broadcast commercial executions, I
can't help but feel a slight disconnect between what the media
luvvies of Notting Hill think can and should be done, and the reality
of the lives of the majority of those who need to share in the waste
reduction process.

Unless... it was deliberate. Wooo. Subtle.