Monday, October 02, 2006

Start 'em young

Yet more glimmers of the potential we have to offer, and others can offer us. And an interesting reassurance that seeds sown that may not sprout immediately but lay dormant and spring to life much later.

On the basis that one's own backyard is not such a bad place to start with anything, I monitor the local papers and fire off a missive whenever something strikes my fancy and the opportunity for some synergy is presented.

One such, to a Hereford eco-group, had seemed to fall on stony ground. One tends to forget that, unlike the throbbing bundle of nervous energy that is, some of these things are after-hours or weekend affairs operated by folk with lives and day jobs.

Anyway, to my pleasant surprise one has borne fruit, and I was pleased to play host recently to Rob Hattersley, who besides the local FoE runs his own consultancy. An ex-deputy headmaster, he was interested in how could be made to work with the school curriculum, which now includes a serious eco-component. And was quite excited at how what we are offering is not some dry coursework, but the potential for some serious interactivity. And also how can offer a route to sponsors.

Happily, I had been thinking the same thing. However, I had no clue where to start approaching the educational 'system'. So we met halfway. Kismet? Early days yet, but with luck we can achieve something very productive together.

If nothing else, I am inspired by the homework my kids brought home the other day. A quick scout through and a raid on the junk stocks and they were sorted. Imagine the potential of all this at school on an interactive whiteboard.

Past my SEL date

Sorry, couldn't resist that headline.

SEL stands for 'Social Enterprise London', and is an organisation who has kindly allowed me to join ( is, after all, a national resource) their ranks. I won't go much more into what they do, but it's worth checking out the website. The name pretty much says it anyway. Well worth joining and reasonable rates as well.

I was there as part of my whirlwind networking tour over the last few weeks, attending a conference entitled 'Marketing for Social Enterprises and Not for Profits (and that scummy commercial entity who happens not to charge, kidding)'.

Frankly I was hoping to meet some relevant people more than anything, and in this I was not disappointed. The topics of the day really didn't cover much I didn't already know, but the speakers where very good, well connected and approachable. I hope that there my be good opportunities to come.

There was Dominic O'Reilly from MediaTrust, who really gave a good insight into what pushes a journo's buttons (and doesn't). Then Solitaire Townsend of Futerra, who added to this. We have been in touch with them before I think, but nothing came of it. Maybe this time it will.
It was also good to see Kelly of TRAID, and at last return the mannequin to her. See, I did share a trip with a kind of person.

In the afternoon there was a very perky presentation from Paul Caplan of the Internationale, who had some firm views on new media. I liked his style a lot. Then Tony Hodson of Third Sector Magazine, who I was keen to buttonhole for obvious reasons... only he was leaving for another job!

Finally there was a Marketing #101 from Chris Fill of Pompey Uni, and this was like going over familiar turf. And finally David Grayson of Business in the Community, another good speaker and hopefully well worth catching up with.

I also met some lovely fellow attendees, and in particular enjoyed chatting with Servane of Ogunte, who had me convinced that great things could soon take place. Hope so!

Waste Pipe

Be it a car exhaust, chimney or an aeroplane engine nozzle, what comes out of the pipe is waste.

So, when you hear that the latter is high on the list of those pumping out a lot, it's nice to hear of a simple solution: Don't run the engine 'til you need it.

Unlike a few recent pronouncements from Sir. B, I can see only merit in this one.

Two legs good...

I really shouldn't get into literary analogies, as the last time I had much to do with English Lit. was at 'O' Level.

However my memories of Animal Farm were stirred a bit when I read this at the weekend:

A green snag they emitted to mention...

Of course it's just another shot in the 'Who is Greener' Elite artillery that sails over most of our heads, and I do seem to recall 'an' 'issue' of the Sunday Times that was all offset and stuff a while ago before they started flying some Fashionistas again to Greenland to bash their own seals for a fur collar, as they (as opposed to the creature) couldn't be seen dead in any more recycled stuff as that spread a month ago was soooooo, well, last month.

However, there are points to be made here about those who tell 'us' to do stuff, and what 'they' do themselves. Some being a bit more equal than others, 'n all.

As one is quoted: "We do all we can to cut travel but we need to do some flying to make decisions." Trouble is, I kinda do need to do some car driving to make enough to eat. And it's hard to see how we visit Mama and Kong Kong for family gatherings in Singapore by mule. We all have our needs, reasons... and excuses.

An offsetting, which I rather unfairly refer to sometimes as 'whacking a fir tree in a desert' (after a scheme which did just that, and when they all died let off tons of methane decaying), is not the simple, universal panacea some seem to think. And hence is not a 'Get out of J.. igglinuncomfortably Free Card'.

So a big up to Mr. Monbiot, who 'has not flown for more than a year' (me either, but that's 'cos I've been busy, can't afford it for pleasure and have found no one to pay for me on business yet), and says: 'If even the leaders of the green movement are not prepared to live without flying for pleasure then how can we expect that of other people?'

As 'another person', to he and his fellow leader 'we's', I humbly thank you for the thought, if not the deeds.