Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The rich are different to you and I...

The usual conclusion to this is: '... they have more money'. But I
am wondering if it could not also be said: '... they'll always find
some willing media to be taken for a ride.. and drag us with them'.


It was a fluff piece about a super rich couple, and could be
discarded as such, but as you may have gathered by now I have a
slight problem with people in glass (or in this case crystal) houses
heaving bricks around. Especially with the support of the same media
who give us a hard time trying to get coverage 'as they're not here
to advertise new business ventures'.

But as these guys have cropped up in the same paper before for their
'environmental' views, I wondering what is being served here by
pandering to them. Other than a nice trip.
In case you can't access the link, as 'part of their launching
themselves into London society', this couple invited paper to join
them, and to hear the lady partner's “strong views” on animal
welfare. Their planet-saving efforts did not seem to encompass
avoiding flying at the drop of a hat, and they don't 'do commercial',
so let's hear it for the greenhouse gasses by using a private jet as
a taxi.

At least they plane-shared with the journo, which is nice as we're
told that for the property whose purchase that this jaunt was all
about, 'energy must be provided by solar panels and the pool
naturally cleaned with marine salts, not chlorine'.

If it were not tragic, it would be funny, which it also is (at least
they came off looking like complete... well, you decide). But just
what... are we mere mortals supposed to make of this? Why are we
being subjected to such people as examples of worthy eco-behaviour?

I know more down to earth stuff can be less entertaining, but I
really feel there's too much on the facile attempts of the uber-rich
to be green, and not enough on how more normal folks can really make
a difference.

Here's a standing invitation to Ross-on-Wye to see how I'm making a
clamshell rucksack out of a vacuum cleaner if anyone's interested. If
you take the train we'll pick you up at the station:)

Swings and roundabouts

As we hone the website's new pages, I am thinking that a lot that I share here will start being featured within the relevant category on the site. 

So for a kick-off, where would be best to put this, which is an interesting piece (from the US, but still more then relevant) from one of our many daily online surfing expeditions, about insurance for hybrid cars:

Well, it certainly makes sense for us to start creating a section (sorry Emma, when you get time) on Hybrids, as we do refer to them a lot and they are 'topical'. But I certainly had not imagined that Junkk.com would ever stray much into the world of insurance. 

But, of course, why not? And this article shows why.

We're all about incentive-based ways to re:ward consumers into better environmental practices as a sound marketing activity. So... corner the green £'s insurance money by cutting a deal on driving a hybrid.

But as the article cautions, be careful of any claims made. 10% off a loaded amount doesn't help much. As with green energy and a bunch of other 'green' schemes, it can often be hard to figure that the only thing that's getting saved is a dodgy marketer's kids' college fund.

We're all doomed. Oh... no... we're not.

Well, Prof's little bombshell was never likely to just drop in the pond without a few ripples.

I must say it certainly got a few of the Forum pages we play with quite excited, unsurprisingly. Not to mention the media, though it seems to be restricted to an unsurprisingly limited few of the majors:

Anyway, to counter the downer of yesterday's commentary, here's one to cheer you up: Tony Juniper: There is no reason to despair http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article339059.ece Signs of climate change do not confirm that the point of no return has been reached

Mr. Juniper is another hugely experienced and well respected individual in this arena, so we must also take him seriously.

Thing is, and as the title above pretty much covers it I don't propose to analyse his piece in detail, we now have two eminent, concerned voices saying pretty much two different things - not about what's happening, or indeed why we need to address them, but the consequences.

I tend to err on the side of Mr. Juniper as there really is no other choice. And what I do like is that he shares areas of positive behaviour, though again they still tend to feel somewhat remote from the point of view of this person in the street.

What we do need to ensure is that people don't 'give up'. Which is why this article on the reaction of the green community (as opposed to..?)  to Prof. Lovelock's piece is worth scoping:

It's quite interesting, as I have often felt many of 'them' have alienated the public with a rather unremitting diet of 'we're all doomed' messages. Now they are in the position of saying 'it's not quite that bad yet'. Quite correctly, if it were then we might as well just kick back and go out with a bang.

I do note this, however, from Mr. Porritt: "If there was one scientist you would listen to on a proposition of that kind, it would be Jim Lovelock. Is he right? I simply don't know. I'm not enough of a scientist to make a judgement. With many people you would be tempted to dismiss the idea, but Jim is different."

So maybe we're not getting quite such opposing views here as first thought.

As we are more about factual and/or objective information that can lead to positive solutions and/or actions, and stuff with which the consumer can easily engage, I tend to restrict Junkk.com's participation in such things to this blog (plus our entirely uncontrollable Forum) as it is still all so up in the air, and frankly there are many out there who know much more about it. But it doesn't stop me having concerns, and an opinion. 

That said, debate my be healthy, but delay could be deadly, and that makes me part of the problem as I see it.

So, when I look at the amount of resources I am consuming with what is, basically hot air, I think it may be better to focus more on doing our little bit in promoting lots of little bits that cost nothing (in every sense) and can cumulatively help a lot.