Sunday, May 07, 2006

You were expecting what else, exactly?

I hate to be a party pooper, but I found the following - Updated list adds more threatened species - sad, true, and pretty much proving the point I have been making for a fair old while.

Because, global warming or no global warming, most things end up extinct, and with us on the planet usually sooner rather than later. Especially big predators or huge territorial herbivores who require large areas of land all to themselves and the subtle biological balance of flora and flora around them, and which they are at the top, or rather were until we lob up and decided to build a golf course, have a war or opt for a 4x4 to get to work in Washington, London, Shanghai or New Dehli.

With finite land (and that due to reduce when the sea level goes up) and an ever-expanding human population, they simply won't be allowed that space much longer. 

Enjoy them while you can.

All the news that's fit to buy

This weekend trawl through the week's back issues really has got me
on a hobbyhorse about the actual independence and objectivity of the
media, especially when it comes to environmental stuff.

This time it's local. Having scooted past the front page top story,
doubtless about another drill having been swiped from a shed, I quite
perked up to see a spread entitled 'Recycle. Reclaim. Reuse.', and
indeed there was some editorial on it. But not very much. And not
very comprehensive. It may seem to be sour grapes, but as it was on
local re-issues, and them being well aware of and all we
have done and are doing both locally and nationally from our local
base, this seemed a fair (or rather unfair) omission.

Perhaps there wasn't space inbetween all the ads. Surprisingly, the
ads seemed to be for businesses mentioned in the editorial. But maybe
the hint as to why was in the last sentence: '...why not call one of
the companies advertising here to help you'.

Why do we have to buy coverage for what is clearly topical, useful
public interest, especially as we are free?

Whatever you get in a local paper, I'd suggest it is rarely news, and
as information often less than comprehensive. If I want ads and puff,
I'll use the free sheet.

Cunning Stunts

Playing catch up on the last week's papers, I found myself again wading through a few editions of the Daily Mail, this time having purchased some copies for my Mum to get her a few nice DVDs. 

And in the Wednesday edition there was an interview  with Zac Goldsmith, who is getting a lot of press these days. This one was billed as being with 'the Tories' Green Guru', but some odd agenda seemed to be at work as the headline was 'One of these men runs the Tory party. But which one?' and the picture of ZG and David cameron side by side seemed designed to push one in the direction intended.

I hope one day to meet this chap, and may get the opportunity at MAD*, as he will be there too. So I guess I need to be careful to avoid matching the inevitable point where 'MC' (media celebrity) Martin Lewis meets 'MC' Carol Vorderman. Well, first I need to be heard of to hit 'MC' status, but with we are on our way to being invited to more interesting places of interaction.

I always try to avoid the personal, especially when I have not met anyone in person to make a judgement, but when one is propelled into the public eye and has at least sanctioned (if not approved the version put out) one's thoughts being committed to print, I guess you have to expect some commentary based on it all.

There is no doubt that he has been a significant part of the movement to bring 'Green issues' to the fore, and this can only be to the good, though my views remain on how engaged we mere mortals can be with those less troubled by day-to-day concerns - like living expenses. But at least he is not too sanctimonious 'You don't have to live like a monk to be green', though that often seems code for 'I'll keep the helicopter'.

I guess I'll only really be able to judge as time passes, more information (and quotes) becomes available, and maybe one day having a chat.

Until then I'll close on the first section of the piece, where the glacier trip was a stunt deemed good, so I guess he was part of it. I'm afraid I can't agree. Flying a ton of folk to the Antartic to 'study' the effects of global wraming backfired big time with me, and another ruddy-faced Tory young thing was rather wonderfully savaged about it by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight at the time if the link doesn't work go via the BBC site to Ethical man 'Shoegate' video - it's worth it.

Pie (or Cake, and Eat it) in the Sky

A wee while ago I was browsing through Fortune magazine, and came
across a feature on the boom in private business flying, which
obviously was littered with a ton of ads. It would have been easy to
simply move on, but what did strike me was the number of these ads
that mentioned the 'environmental benefits'.

This stuck me as a bit of a stretch, as shunting a couple of people
in something not much different to a plane that can take a hundred
surely cannot add up carbonally, but I decided to make note and one
day write a piece about it. Even with air travel, I am prepared to
accept it is a fact of life, and hence the best thing is to point out
the best options for the planet if you really have to do it, for
pleasure or business.

However, this morning I was watching a BBC feature in the breakfast
news called 'Fastrack' ( tried to find a link on the BBC website, but
could not - A failing of their search system, even if it was through
me being dumb), which was covering pretty much the same issue from
some jolly exhibition in Europe.

Speaking of jolly, having recently mused the uncomfortable
relationships that exist in some media between pro (my main issue
being sanctimoniously so) environmental editorial and other features
(often in the same edition) and advertising that is almost directly
contradictory, I was again struck by the tone adopted. And let us not
forget this was the Beeb, so at least the ad dilemma is spared them.

But by golly, this piece, and not a short one, was really nothing
more than a commercial to the 'good life' and conspicuous
consumption. I know that it is entertainment, but with so much of
their output (broadcast, written and online) so devoted to
environmental considerations and good (not to mention tut-tutting
over bad) practice, I don't think there was a single mention of how
this booming industry may (I stand ready to be convinced, but with
eyebrow cocked, that it can help climate change) be flying (pun
intended) in the face of good CSR practice, no matter what the time
and motion arguments.

Indeed, the reporter seemed to be enjoying himself very much indeed,
parked in an overstuffed leather seat, giving the salesman the
opportunity to offer gold panels as an option. Just how much more
emissions will be generated by the fuel that will be required to lug
that extra weight into the air?