Friday, August 31, 2007

STOP PRESS! Lord Haw Haw to avoid noddies to ensure more balance!

A bit of a thing about trust in Newsnight, leading to some hairy debates on the blog about climate change, with a few equally hairy links to even more hairy debates elsewhere. As always the argument seems still to be revolving more around whether MMCC is happening or not, at the expense of DOING anything. And the media sits back and laps it all up.

I learn new things, and make decisions on information provided by the media. My trust on getting either, accurately, honestly and without agenda (skewed professional or personal/ideological) to the point that truth is 'enhanced’ to no longer be the truth, has been sorely tried of late. And not much restored by most efforts in damage control. Not least by the almost inevitable knee-jerk of broadcasters and their defiant, defensive representatives, which goes usually something like; 'It didn't happen. If it did, we didn't do it. If we did it didn't matter. If does matter, it wasn't our fault (it was a mystical 'them' of outside companies, ill-trained and, one presumes, unsupervised trainees, budgets cuts, current precedent, etc) - and if it was who cares as no one is going to be held to account at all, or if so long enough for things not to wash over. Or if it is looking like dragging on we'll have a bit of a review until it does blow out'.

So of all that could be on the agenda, the pressing issues of "noddies" and "staged questions" are not really high on mine. Which makes me wonder why it is so high, in fact to the exclusion of almost all else, from Ch5 to here. I could not be more under whelmed, though I do note that you can nod with a smile or a frown to seriously redirect the viewer’s perception of what has just transpired. And a reverse question, which I hadn't appreciated until now, seems a great way to get a seemingly horse’s mouth answer to whatever horse’s rear question you fancy asking. Artifice is all. So maybe this is, as the CH 5 editor admitted, at least a start. Just... go further. Even if it may mean changing entrenched views and practices.

All I ask is that, in future, we get told what happened, as it happened. And if we have to be subjected to commentary or analysis by vox pops from the first punter strolling by the studio to 'experts' waiting on call in the wine bar next door, there is not a sneaking suspicion that they have been preselected for what they will say, and/or post-edited to ensure that what they do say fits into place.

Meanwhile, back to saving the planet.

Let me nail my colours to the mast. I think the climate is changing, and for the worse. I think personkind and its consumerist activities may be a possible cause, and certainly cannot be helping (more people buying ever more stuff and rushing around more and more on a finite space with finite atmosphere suggest some kind of tipping point when it comes to the results of inevitable competition and pollution - or, to be polite, 'emissions' - such activity causes)

So I think some things need to be understood, and while we're at it a few other things need to be instigated. Quick. Sadly doing nothing while we argue is an option that, while seeming to be balanced, tends to favour the status quo, and of that I am not in favour.

Hence I tend to err on simply showing folk, and hopefully persuading them, that consuming more than we need, or can use, is perhaps not the best thing to do. Or better yet share the amazing number and scope of things that can be done to avoid pollution and save waste that exist already, and which can go a long way to saving the planet along with a bunch of money.

Another celeb fest ain't it.

To paraphrase Mr. Geldof a wee while ago about another mighty waste of [insert a load of nouns here], I don't need my 'consciousness' raised any more than it is already, ta very much. And I certainly don't need the kind of awareness boost that happened as a result of Live Earth.

My enduring memories are mainly of the negative coverage before, during and after, inspired, with some validity, by such as a Spice holding her child and 'doing it for her', and a week later getting a personal jet with each of her power sisters in case they have too much shopping or get into a hissy fit as they tour the world. Or, on the day, Mr. Ross and such mates who could be bothered to come for a bit of profile and cheap weekend entertainment, basically playing the fool and pretty much saying that all this cutting back really wasn't for them... but they do wee-cycle, like that's all it takes.

If you are a high-profile mega-star, with squillions to burn, with few exceptions ( I think there are some), you are going to have trouble resisting that wadge of wonga and not buy stuff and/or going lots of places to show it off. And a vast media industry depends on you doing so to get the shots they need.

It's just lazy, celeb-obsessed programming to get a few execs and D-list interviewers to play all day in the Green-elite VIP room, and fill a long slot on the cheap in the cause of 'awareness’.

Stick with what's going to make a difference please. I was convinced by your piece on deforestation. It may not be sexy, but not cutting down a tree seems to make more sense than planting a sapling to make up for Puff Diddly's hairdresser's dog's helicopter trip. Or, for that matter, the one to show us what a potentially infectious virus-infected barn may look like if you blow enough wind around it. Or the iceberg in the Far North the entire crew has flown up to look at with a totally white background in shot, to impress upon us the damage of unnecessary trips.

And if we are sincere in moving public behaviour in a real sense that has a decent enviROI, what about such issues as reducing domestic energy consumption and preventing unnecessary waste through loss. Get creative and educate and convince with these first... in major way. Not some 2 second ‘turn the thermostat down’ piety to a bunch of waste-junkies sent to a hair-shirt camp for 24 hrs. Real life, and people, don’t live like that, or face the issues in that way. And, I believe, turn off when confronted with such nonsense.

And don't jump on bandwagons. I don't know, so I simply ask. Are carrier bags and plastic bottles and 4x4s the things that are top of the list in dragging us to oblivion? If energy production and consumption is the single greatest home (and hence viewer) influenced protagonist in all this, can we devote serious journalistic energy and investigation and balanced debate to what is being spent and what the actual benefits (or not) are of alternatives? If an offshore wind farm is not making as much sense as it might, I’d like to know, and why (I actually thought Justin's piece on home turbines went a long way to rasing some key issues and questions on this aspect).

I am appalled that thanks to almost total superficiality devoted to such topics by our major media, I am in the position of being swayed by other sources who are questioning what government is doing (with the support of media capable of little more than rehashing press releases) to help my kids' futures, and simply seem more concerned with meeting a target, boosting a political career or a quango exec's bonus cheque.

I simply can't understand why the facts of these huge issues cannot be found, or made clearer, to help us figure out for ourselves what's best for our futures.

Or we not to be trusted with such decisions?

Divide and rule, guys. Divide and rule.

ClimateChangeCorp - Buying green energy: A corporate power play, with unintended consequences

BBC is Biased - A few points on the wind power issue. I still await answers to my questions, on Newsnight, sadly. Maybe better luck here.

"Windmills get a big thumbs up from the BBC" - er... like this BBC Costing The Earth programme

Is there a link to something online about this?

I have one major concern with climate issues, and that is the enviROI of proposed solutions. I don't mind, and can even applaud doing something 'for the planet' though it may not make great sense financially (on a personal level... blowing public funds is another story if there are better uses environmentally), but for my kids' sake I get very unhappy if whatever it is may not even make sense on a carbon reduction basis from instigation through operation to 'retirement'.

Hence if, for instance, the massive weight of support in the media for such as offshore wind farms may be less than balanced, I'm keen to know more. With facts and true expert opinion. Not PR from subsidised-body/contractor/operator spokespersons.

BBC Newsnight - Noddy's not dead - Nice title!

'The first thing to say is that the issue of editing shots is in a different league from the incidents of deception and dishonesty which have caused turmoil in the TV industry in recent months.'

And well said. Plus, it is to be hoped, to also be well acted upon.

Credit too, at least, for listening.

Noddies - well, ok, but please ensure that there is no hint of anything in the interviewer's manner other than being to accept the narrative flow.

Reverse questions - Hmn. Still sounds to me like an opportunity to alter perception, if only by changing the tonality of the question. I can't quite figure out why the actual question and actual answer can't sit together. In this day and age the lack of another digicam locked off on a tripod as an excuse seems poor.

Walking shots - Yaaay! Along with those awful 'door open/first time we've met... not' efforts, I hope. A view, I suspect, shared by many interviewees, who just look silly. Big up to your cameraman. I just wonder how easy it is to get a truly 'natural' shout with a crew, boom mike, lights and whatnot.

Note: This rejected, again, by what I suspect to be another technological glitch. This time to prevent 'abuse' though multiple posts. Thing is, this is my first attempt at this thread. At least the message is polite. Patience, Peter, patience.

ADDENDUM - Spinwatch on Newsnight - a link I gleaned from BBC is Biased, so it does indeed still have values making it worth scoping. It's a long piece and covers a lot but as a thorough blow by blow it's hard to fault. The analysis could be argued to set out to prove an agenda, but again some of the facts, skillfully presented to be sure, are again hard to fault. They go further than have I, but for sure this is a shared frustration of the 'twofer' interviewee technique I don't feel contributes much beyond stirring things up, both through the selection of who speaks, and what they are steered to say. Transcript - don't know how they do it (well, I guess I do. I often record and jot stuff down and capture images, so what am I talking about. ) but it's very handy!

Guardian - The camera sometimes lies - Who cares, wins

Thursday, August 30, 2007

World Bank & HSBC Investing In Deforestation?

Having put themselves forward as the world's leading 'green' bank, the HSBC, in compliance with the World Bank no less, and the Royal Bank of Scotland, amongst others; and having put themselves up on a 'green' pedestal to be shot at; seem to be taking every opportunity to provide people with ammunition.

This article, from Greenpeace, provides what appears to be fairly substantial evidence that the World Bank have heavily invested in, and HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland provide financial services, to a business, 'Olam International', who are accused of illegal logging activities. These activities are directly contradictory to HSBC's much vaunted and publicly stated policy on forestry.

As the article states:- "If financial institutions put their money quite literally where their mouth is, they can force companies to adopt more responsible practices - without investment, companies like Olam can't continue to make vast profits from environmental destruction. "

Sorry, but if you want to crow about being green, then you cannot possibly be seen to be supporting or providing services to a business involved in illegal logging operations.
Nuff said!

ADDENDUM (from Junkk Male) - Climate change and the environment: UK business turns a paler shade of green

No excuse, but a reason may be the simple inevitability of massive organisation's structures. A cock-up is inevitable. That said, how the ethos has not been expressed and hence pervaded every pore by now, especially after £25M external comms in the UK alone, begs the question as to whether what they say is the same as what they feel... and hence do.

Trading post

Eco-innovation again. This time on carbon trades/offsets.

I played a part, but one post realy nails it well, I feel.

I hope it's OK to share it here:

Changing people's habits is a very complicated task. We can all speak
for ourselves in this point.

Certainly, saving money or making money is one of the most effective
arguments to get people moving towards a goal. Sometimes, even more
effective than necessity, logic, or intelligence.

In that sense, putting individuals into the Carbon Market is a very
interesting and creative concept. But what's the gain in these
cell-phone products besides the yearly

Nothing against making profit. Sustainable, green businesses are the solution!

But let's see how this business really works: Each individual gets
US$30 a year, some peace of mind, and an argument to talk about the
environment. The cell phone companies will have a new product, a few
millions, and a green marketing campaign. And the carbon market system
will just be less, and less effective. So what's up for the

And what is this premise that people would be "on the road in a car
putting loads of CO2"? If I walk 2 blocks for groceries I'll be
entitled for carbon credits??? Is it so much more natural to choose
the car than the bike?

What we're seeing in these products is that it's easier to make profit
with global warming than to actually deal with it.

And that's precisely the problem with the carbon market itself. Is it
a palliative, or is it just a new, interesting business opportunity?
Obviousely, alone, it is not a solution. And certainly, it needs more
regulation before carbon ends up as another highly over-rated
commodity in some emerging country's stock market bubble.

Symbolic, Shambolic

A poster on the Eco-innovation blog asked what some IKEA box symbols meant. I may not have been much help:

They're a sure sign that with waste and almost all to do with saving the planet, the process is too often usually more important than the result, symbolized by things going round and round in circles. It doesn't matter if the consumer doesn't have a clue what these things mean or what they can do to help mitigate their inevitable participation in the waste generation process, so long as the manufacturer and/or retailer meet some standards, rules or regs and at least look like they are trying to make things better. Actually it’s the same for most government/LA/quango efforts too, where bazzillions are blown telling us to recycle but few coordinated systems are provided to allow the public to do so sensibly or indeed share what can (or jar or bottle...) go where. All inspired mainly by bonus-driven targets of questionable enviROI, and way too often enforced by threats. I often stop to help folk standing in front of a skip with ‘PEP & HDPE (1-??) only’ written on the side to tell 'em the first is usually a fizzy pop bottle and the second is, or maybe isn't, the other stuff. Probably with a surveillance squad in the house opposite in case Fifi, aged 6, puts the wrong box in the slot. Jargon is all. And just what we need to save the planet is another set of complex initiatives. I’m half expecting a CDR attached to my next pack of Smarties to explain the various carbon footprint and air mile labeling schemes on top of the various supermarket opted-in charts, roundels and traffic lights on health. With a CDR on that to explain the best options for dealing with it too. Which I will not have time to get my head around as I cruise the aisles, and hence ignore. But at least it makes for a good CSR story to run an ad campaign on and wave at the legislators. I'd suggest the time may be ripe for actually getting the disposal systems in order from the moment anything comes out the ground to the point we try and avoid it going back in, with well-spaced process plants, sensible logistical systems, segregation points clearly placed and even more clearly marked and really, really clearly explained and.... a proper incentive programme in place to encourage people to believe it all goes to the right place and makes a big difference. Or, if it doesn't, or can't, be honest enough to explain that too, so folk don't drive their XC90s to the carpark to then find it's off to a Chinese landfill and get disillusioned. Treat the environment and its proactive initiatives as branded items or services to ‘sell’ like any other product, and not some complicated dirty chore with secret stuff only those ‘in the know’ can be allowed to deal with, and there may be a better level of engagement. And if a recycling option isn't ready yet, try reuse (Plug: is ready to share or take your suggestions on what to do with just about anything destined for the bin, which may enjoy another life). I've dallied with this arena a while, and didn't really even know what the first two meant other than 'something to do with recycling’. Or care too much anyway if no one can be bothered to help me understand easily. I just figure if it's a primary packaging material it should be and can be recyclable by now (and, while interesting and nifty, doubt I have ever bought anything or not because its pack is made from recycled materials, though it seems worthy to do and hence advise), so stick cardboard, glass, metal and probably even the odd wrong plastic in whatever doorstep box or supermarket container that comes my way. I think the 3rd symbol means you can turn the thing into a BBQ pit, and the last a Step Reebok stand, but I may be wrong:)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

While we revert to doing nothing ......

.... others at least try to address the problem properly.

We have commented on the recent downgrading of the UK parliamentary committee on climate change several times recently; see final paragraph in Met Office Prediction - Heatwaves and Here's the weather summary posts as examples.

So whilst our own parliamentary committee has been turned into a toothless and clawless tiger by Ol' Golden Brown, why is it that other countries are setting up special committees with power to start to address the climate change problem? In Ireland, for example, as reported in the Belfast Telegraph.

Does Gordon simply hate the topic of climate change? Is he hoping that the problem will just go away if he ignores it? Or has the prospect of spending £20 billion plus [as mentioned in the second of the two posts above] on protecting London (as the seat of power) from future flooding scared him into silence?

The two things he does seem to be good at are saying nothing and being invisible!

'America's going to have to change'

A very brave, or perhaps, prophetic, comment from Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards; as reported today in Guardian Unlimited.

Edwards, currently running third in the nomination polls behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, seems to be pinning his chances on pricking the consciences of the American masses; even to the extent of suggesting that they have to give up their SUV's!!

He also moots "a national cap on carbon dioxide emissions that is lowered each year".

He's either, a very brave man with clear and eco-friendly ideas and visions, or, desperately trying to get himself some improved poll ratings!

LA stories

I subscribe to a (by invitation to comment I think, but hopefully free to access) website called the 'eco-innovation network, which shares interesting e-snippets and of course subsequent forum feedback.

It just occurred to me that what I write I should share here.

One of the latest struck a chord, whereby a post about grants for alt- energy projects elicited an interesting response from an obviously cluey local Authority officer and prompted me to ask a few questions of my own. It is ongoing and will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Below is what I wrote by way of some questions, which I really hope to get answers to because if there is no such collation of resource there blooming well should be. To much in this country is about fractured empires, and not enough about coherent national policy. Especially when it comes to saving our kids' futures. These guys have a wealth of experience and it should be shared if it is not, and shared better than now if it is.

I was wondering:

a) Is there a single, trustworthy, accurate, easy-to-comprehend analysis anywhere of the relative merits of various alt. energy systems the UK consumer can consider (allowing that there will of course be variations based on local conditions (wind speed/duration, sun exposure, etc))?

b) Is there any listing comparison of the experiences and considerations behind, plus support for (in the form of grants as you have listed) initiatives by local authorities countrywide.

As a simple consumer making decisions based on the enviROI (cost to planet) as much as the ROI (to self) of all such options, I find what you have written of great interest and find it odd that I cannot find (at least easily) such invaluable collected wisdom on what works and may not be so great, with associated cost/benefit analyses.

I'd very much like to see this collated and indeed would consider offering to try and do so on behalf of consumers via my site (your council, as have others, is already always welcome to its own free page to share such information, and anything else of an enviro+ nature already, but this issue could benefit from being tabulated for easy access and comprehension). It's possible the information may exist, but either in fragmented form or in specialist areas. Or simply not in a public-friendly form. Or... I have missed it!

If not, it would seem a very worthy thing to do to try and pull it all together.

Frankly I see such initiatives, and the support behind them by authorities such as yours, as much more valuable to my kids' futures than the bazillions being blown on a few high-profile communications exercises floating about of late.

By my understanding, on a personal/domestic basis the reduction of waste and reduced dependence on energy from fossil fuels will offer the best and most immediate chances for carbon reduction, and I can't quite figure why more is not being done to coordinate and support this nationally.

ADDENDUM - he has kindly replied, if slightly in the way I'd expect from an LA officer:

Every District/Borough/Unitary Council in England has a statutory duty to promote, educate, inform and advise on energy conservation and many have taken this a step further to include renewable, sustainable energy, carbon reduction and climate change.

There are national agencies such as the Energy Saving Trust (EST) and the Carbon Trust that will offer the same advice to householders and businesses respectively.

The EST fund a nationwide chain of 52 energy efficiency advice centres that are designed to advise householders. These are situated in most Counties if not Regions.

If you are fortunate enough to live in the East of England there is a regional agency, Renewables East, set up to promote renewable energy in this region.

I belong to an organisation called the Association of Environmentally Conscious Builders, AECB, have a look at their website it will help plus they have a discussion board.

The British Wind Energy Association, BWEA, the National Energy Foundation, NEF, are both good sources.

If you do searches on any of these organisations you will find their websites, most have further links to others.

As have I in return:

That answers my questions, but also, I'd say, still suggests some opportunities if any agree with my notion that such localised expertise and data could be usefully pooled and shared nationally in a consumer-friendly, and persuasive manner.

All would benefit from knowing what works and would be best to improve one's domestic enviROI (with possible/probable healthy actual ROI, too), from the consumer to the LA to the planet, if we know what can be done, how easy it is to do it ... and what cost savings can be made.

I think this deserves a lot more effort than some others that are getting way too much attention, as reducing energy usage and insulating against waste has to be one of the more sensible areas to tackle first to see some big wins.

I'm sorry, but as a householder with a greater than average interest in, and engagement with such issues, those entities you point me at just don't seem to be reaching me. I wonder if they are others. But I will look at the sites you suggest, ta.

Edie - Councils leading the way with green technology - bearing in mind Dave's comment, that may be 'a' view, certainly.

Maybe the first, but it won't be the last!

Greenwashing and greencloaking seem to be all the rage at the moment, but businesses need to beware just what they claim; tell porkies and you WILL be outed.

This from PRWatch details one such case from the Australian Woolworths business, outed by an anonymous blogger, and creating a glorious own-goal. They even went so far as to invent an organisation! They have now had to withdraw the entire product range involved!

That's the first goal to the consumers that I've seen documented so far.

Greenwash Corporates 0 - Consumers United 1.

And we're only in the first minutes of the game yet!

And now this from today's Indy - not greenwashing, but a case of deliberate corporate obfuscation (charge-cloaking?) from the HSBC where charges are, according to them, well, not charges!

Telly addicts

We need a change of climate at the BBC - An interesting commentary from a writer at the Indy.

While the caveat in mitigation seems almost obligatory, but as a fellow 'unbeliever' in the value of 'these great on-air festivals of niceness', I'd prefer to think of reasoned lack of enthusiasm not as being 'grumpy', but rational.

Live Earth, the last great punt of its type, was pants.

This analysis is interesting: '...while they may be good for the Corporation's image and even for ratings, these orgies of public conscience are not raising awareness at all. They are raising emotion. Mass expressions of analysis-free caring, they are essentially mass expressions of faith.'

Especially as it leads to this: 'When faith replaces thought and T-shirt slogans take the place of discussion, then people quite soon are only prepared to hear the message in which they already believe. Any talk of the more difficult issues is regarded as a disguise for apathy, yet another game that cynical politicians like to play.'

At the end of the tunnel.... vision...

EU urged to scrap light bulb duties

Makes sense.

Though I personally think there is some merit in looking at the reliability aspects of some low cots, low energy options that claim multiple hours but don't actually deliver them.

I bemused my local supermarket by showing them the felt-tip date I'd scrawled on one such blown beauty and asking how it came anyway near its claimed lifespan.

Got a newbie out of it.

Creating an html link in comments

If you comment and want to post a link to something, use the following code:-

<@ href="">link-title-in-here<##>

then replace the '@' with the letter 'a' and the '##' with '/a' .

The looming food crisis?

Finally, one of the UK majors has picked up on what Peter was predicting in this very blog many, many months ago. The fact is that the switch of land use to grow crops for bio-fuels rather than for foodstuffs IS having an impact on food prices already.

This from the Guardian Environment highlights just what is already happening in parts of the world. The world price of maize has doubled, whilst UK wheat prices have also doubled over the last two years, from ~£100/tonne to ~£200/tonne (admittedly part of this increase is down to this years yield, which is down from the norm). A loaf of bread in the UK has increased in cost by 20% already this year.

In the US, "where nearly 40 million people are below the official poverty line, the Department of Agriculture recently predicted a 10% rise in the price of chicken. The prices of bread, beef, eggs and milk rose 7.5 % in July, the highest monthly rise in 25 years."

'A "perfect storm" of ecological and social factors appears to be gathering force, threatening vast numbers of people with food shortages and price rises. Even as the world's big farmers are pulling out of producing food for people and animals, the global population is rising by 87 million people a year; developing countries such as China and India are switching to meat-based diets that need more land; and climate change is starting to hit food producers hard. Recent reports in the journals Science and Nature suggest that one-third of ocean fisheries are in collapse, two-thirds will be in collapse by 2025, and all major ocean fisheries may be virtually gone by 2048. "Global grain supplies will drop to their lowest levels on record this year. Outside of wartime, they have not been this low in a century, perhaps longer," says the US Department of Agriculture.'

All in all, prospects don't look too good for the future. A substantial part of the food production in China and India is dependent on what are rapidly depleting (and non-replenishable) water sources. Experts believe that some two thirds of the planet's major fisheries are now at levels where serious and rapid decline in yields is starting to happen. When you then throw in climate change predictions from the IPCC, which suggested that some 20% of the planets crop production will be directly endangered by temperature and rainfall changes; plus the switch by major western farmers to agrofuels; the picture for the planet's poor and undernourished is beginning to look markedly bleak!

"Technologists pin their faith on GM crops, or drought- resistant crops, or trust that biofuel producers will develop technologies that require less raw material or use non-edible parts of food. The immediate best bet is that countries such as Argentina, Poland, Ukraine and Kazakhstan will grow more food for export as US output declines."

Me? I'm uncertain. I know mankind is incredibly adaptable and is capable of amazing things; but these just may be the early warning signals that our voracious appetite for food and resources is reaching the point where self-sustainability is going to become increasingly difficult.

Look what the fuel crisis (as a consequence of a handful of HGV drivers blockading refinery depots) a few years ago did to the UK economy in only a week and a half. Then imagine just what the impact would be if food was largely unavailable in the supermarkets for a similar time period.

Scary isn't it?


There was an interesting article on this morning's Indy on-line version about how both the Lib Dems and the Tories had developed plans for major CO2 emissions cuts for the whole of the UK.

But coming back to it to review it for comment, the article has now been removed from their site!

What gives? Has someone dropped a major clanger? Or was someone telling porkies and they withdrew it as soon as it was realised?
The article is now back in place, albeit looking slightly amended, though I cannot honestly state just what has actually changed. The original was timed at something like 07:09, this version is timed at 09:15.

Maybe a minor editorial change was all that happened?

ADDENDUM (by Junkk Male) - This from the Greens: Lucas questions grey parties' commitment to tackling climate change - 'Grey parties'. I like that... clever.

Do they know something we don't?

This little snippet from Product-Reviews suggests that Safeway Homes are now starting to build new UK properties that are capable of withstanding hurricane force winds without suffering major structural damage.

Now, I don't recollect the UK ever being hit by a genuine hurricane, so just who is predicting that we may be seeing one or two in the future?

And then I spotted this from Sustainable Development International, which, albeit US based, is predicting that Super Hurricanes are now to be expected, at least on their particular side of the big pond.

Maybe its time to reconsider building that same underground bunker that my parents always talked about doing during the cold war?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And the award goes to....

First the really good news.

I... well,, well...RE:tie just got shortlisted for the finals of the Fillip grant.

That means we already have a little bit of money to spend on IP, and are in the running to get a lot more to secure the concept worldwide. The money itself is great, but the fact that this was against a hundred other great ideas, and the consequent PR value that alone will carry, is a real boost.

And it also reminded me that a nice framed award arrived recently (pictured). No money, but a welcome bit of recognition.

The whole awards gig is a heck of an industry, and almost a job here in its own right (like I don't have a few others). And the whole thing has got me to pondering.

I guess I/ are doing pretty well, but it's really playing the odds, and in some ways the whole thing has become a bit of a turkey shoot.

I currently have about a dozen, all with deadlines at the end of this month, to complete.

Some are free; some have fees attached. Some are a matter of a few paras; some require extensive form-filling and attaching of acres of guff.

Which are worth the effort, and/or investment of money (I don't have) on top of time?

The Focus Green Hero mentioned a few blogs back is a no-brainer. Quick, free and easy.

The Green Awards I am being chased on are equally easy to decide. No way! I entered last year and paid a lot to do so because I figured we were in with a good chance. It was not to be. Now I know creative awards, and this was/is the pits. For a start the categories I entered for got 'adjusted'. Then when I saw what won it was obvious what was at play, and judging merit was not high on the list. I was tempted to have a go as it seemed near fraudulent, but there are only so many windmills one can tilt at.

The there's the EAST awards. These look worth it as they are free, though the effort aspect is quite heavy.

There's even one called Home Business Award, which looks worth a punt, as I have a business and it's at home. Can't lose. Well...

The latest is Green Challenge, and I haven't even had time to go through that yet.

All I really need to get on the AWARDS section to share around, but time is really not with me on doing all this as well as that... and that. I am so desperate for help on admin, though the blog support I am getting really helps keep the site 'live' hourly, and is much appreciated.

Money is always good. And exposure often even better. Look how my winning the Gold in Geneva spun out. But sometimes I figure just getting under a judge's nose can be worth it, depending on who they are.

For instance, there is a major effort to produce an ecoTVC from an outfit called Current TV, and I am chatting with a local chum from a video company about entering. Imagine getting seen by the judges listed there. Tricky though, because one has to try and figure what a celeb thinks is 'good' vs. what might actually be doing the best job. Not always the same thing. So you often have to second guess the judges or the award organiser agendas more than doing what's best.

And that, sadly, is what awards are really all about.

STOP PRESS: Fancing going Japanese?: Cool the Earth

And I have just 3 days left to submit for all this lot. Sheesh.

Who's In Charge?

I publish this, if a tad belatedly, in full: Caroline Lucas: The greens need a clear voice – and a leader

Published: 23 August 2007
At Heathrow and around the country, last weekend, the climate camp deservedly hit the headlines, with its urgent message on the action needed to prevent catastrophic climate change. Now, it's time for the follow-up. The green movement needs to gain some of the levers of power, in order to transform protest into policy implementation.

The Green Party needs to rise to that challenge. Despite the steady osmosis of its policies and ideas into the political mainstream and an increase in support at the ballot box, the urgency of climate change suggests that we should be far bigger players than we currently are.

A look at the way political commentators describe the state of the parties' popularity tells us what the problem is, straight away: Brown "bounces" while Cameron "wobbles".

But not a single column inch has told the story of the Greens' near-doubling in support over a number of polls taken during the past two years – and why? Partly at least because the party doesn't have a figurehead that can represent our ideas.

The truth is that the media – and most voters – don't relate to abstract concepts: rather they relate to the people who espouse and embody them.

After 30-odd years of trying to ignore that reality, we are running out of time. The need for Green political influence has never been so urgent, and never has there been so much at stake.

Scientists tell us that the next eight to 10 years will be critical in terms of whether we have any chance of avoiding the worst of climate change.

It is still the case that only the Green Party has both the radical policies and the political commitment that are so desperately needed to make sure we do.

For example, the cosy Westminster consensus has brought us a Climate Change Bill with hopelessly inadequate targets. According to scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, rather than constraining warming to less than two degrees which is essential to our chances of being able to stabilise the climate, the Bill's targets are more likely to contribute to a world that's four or five degrees warmer than in pre-industrial times.

This isn't just a terrifying prospect – it's a political scandal, and the Greens have to be in Parliament, challenging it and exposing it.

The trouble is Government advisers only give advice that they deem to be "politically realistic" – in other words, advice that won't require any major transformation of the economy or business as usual.

Greens have to be heard saying what others refuse to say: that the definition of what is "politically realistic" has to be, first and foremost, that which guarantees a habitable planet, not that which guarantees the greatest possible financial returns to companies and to their shareholders.

The real irony, of course, is that a radical transformation of the way we live our lives and do business will actually create a whole series of social win-wins: warmer homes, stronger communities, tastier food, less time spent stuck in traffic jams – even an end to the "status anxiety" which makes so many of us unhappy or even depressed.

But as the public debate over cutting emissions moves on, politicians, businesses and the media remain focussed on the costs and hardships of moving to a low-carbon economy. Rare are the voices talking about the benefits. We're not talking about huddling around a candle in a cave; rather, about chatting over a sumptuous meal of locally produced food, in a warm, well-insulated house, with friends and neighbours, having arrived by bike (easy, along uncongested streets), on foot or by public transport.

So our message is urgent, our skills and approach are needed now more than ever, and our electoral support is rising. Yet without an identifiable leadership team, we're just not getting the media attention and political success we deserve.

That's why the Green Party is looking at its internal structures: holding a referendum of all of its party members on whether to build on the set-up of having two "principal speakers" to the vital next stage: having a leader and a deputy leader (or two co-leaders) to act as recognisable, inspiring, leading voices for the thousands of dedicated party activists who collectively make the party what it is. Such a leadership wouldn't have the authority, so beloved of Brown and Cameron, to ignore party members' wishes and draw power to the centre.

They would be a very "green" leadership, elected by members every two years and remaining entirely accountable to the Greens' supreme policy-making body, our biannual conferences, and subject to recall.

Leadership doesn't have to be top down and authoritarian. Green leadership is about empowering and enabling voters to act, a leadership that inspires and motivates rather than one which dictates.

We think that the time is right to take radical Green policies and radical Green politics into the mainstream – and that by voting for identifiable and accountable leadership party members will be taking a vitally important step towards being able to do just that.

The author is the Green Party's MEP for South-east England. The article was written with the
assistance of Darren Johnson, Leader of the Green Group on Lewisham Council

The first thing that struck me was that I hadn't actually realised the Green's didn't have a leader (and I'm guessing our Caroline has her hat ready). And that this might explain a lot about how I feel about them as a viable political entity. They just seem like a bit of a nice bunch who oppose a lot of stuff. Would a leader bring them and what they are seeking to do into voter focus? No idea.

But looking at the alternatives, the presence of a leader doesn't seem to help much. We have Mr. Cameron who seems to stand for everything and nothing. Meanwhile Mr. Brown seems to be proving that the best way to stay on top is to stay out of the way and remain invisible. How long this will succeed who knows, but if polls (that's two 'l's') are to believed he has got away with the last 10 years plus the last few months pretty well on this basis. And surrounding himself with the most colourless collection on non-people I have ever had the misfortune to shake my head in disbelief at has not hurt either.

Maybe we do get who we deserve.

Greens decry lack of Government action on climate change

I am grateful to Dave of Solarventi for this link - Green party pragmatics - which adds further to this discussion in some detail. Sadly, I think it still rather confirms the feeling of some that the lack of a leader makes it hard to 'place' them in this media age, no matter how g*d-awful all the other leaders with their 'please all the people all the time' antics are in serving their parties and the country. Maybe the Greens have a point, though it seems to serve them poorly at the polls if one comment is to be believed.

Debating points

I have been a tad too involved with the BBC is biased site of late (there is life outside of what Auntie does or doesn't do), and felt the need to outline why is there and what I hoped to get from it. It felt good to write, and I hope it's fair... so I share.

At risk of seeming rude, or plain daft in light writing this here, I personally don't see how 'the BBC' can be biased, any more than I would hate 'it'. The BBC is simply a vast organization, with many staff, and, on the whole, a proud history. But, especially of late, a few skeletons coming to light are compromising this big time. I have seen with my own eyes worrying trends and, as can happen, in trying to get some answers arrived at this forum. Obviously, with a Ronseal-esque moniker like that at the top, the likely thrust of the majority of comments is pretty clear. But I have to say that I am impressed that most seem to be relatively considered, and supported by fact, if mainly in the form of links. As most of these are to the BBC's own resources, it's hard to question the objectivity.

But from the replies of those courageous or at least passionate enough to 'defend' the BBC (sometimes, though from my viewing not very often, with reason), and even more so to identify themselves in this role, I have to say a worrying trend often emerges which tallies with my own concerns. And hence I can only wonder if there are now so many such individuals, pervading all levels, that indeed the corporate entity is in danger of becoming the sum of its parts. So that, even without the (impossible to conceal, or justify) policy/ies that would substantiate a charge of institutional bias, it has just crept in simply by sheer weight of numbers.

I guess that can happen, and see how. One major mechanism is the inability to acknowledge, much less accept, criticism, even of the constructive variety. And this I am seeing even here.

One of my greatest frustrations with the BBC has been the attitude of 'Whatever we do is right. And if it isn't we didn't do it. And if we did do it doesn't matter. And if it does there's nothing you can do about it so we certainly won't be making any changes. So there.' Which is why I stopped even bothering to write to Newswatch. I still write to the complaints boys and girls, if only to boost my collection of cookie-cutter replies to a point where even the Trust would have trouble keeping a straight face in saying ‘they are listening’.

Across many of these posts, I see truly amazing defenses being made that simply fly in the face of logic... or presented facts. But what has brought the BBC to its current pretty pass, yet still seems to not have sunk into almost any layer of the corporation, is that the truth is not something that can be ‘enhanced’ to suit the demands of modern broadcasting, be it at best feeding the 24/7 appetite of a multi-channel, mega-staffed machine, or, at its darkest and worst, personal agendas held in the belief that there are those who do not yet know what's best for them.

But the thing that has really knocked me offside in my attempt at seeing all sides, is the blatant attempt to derail honest debate by questioning, quite pointlessly, though with a clear attempt to tarnish, the 'origins' of those posting.

I don't care who you are, where you are from or who you may work for, so long as your tone is civil, your arguments well ordered, and your facts as honest and accurate as they can be. Then your opinion is more than worth reading and engaging with. But the minute I see any attempt, usually by those who know they are running out of legs to stand on, to say 'well, you lot are obviously all [insert perceived pejorative grouping here]', the argument has been tainted.

I like this site. I know where most are coming from. Many are very funny. Some well informed. I find out stuff I didn't know. Or leads to places to find out more. And in the debates there is a kind of balance. So I'll keep coming back. I may even try and throw a few notions into the pot. That's how debate should be.

I just hope the BBC, and those who work for us who are employed by it, can remember that.

I hope the club members appreciate the sentiment, and any BBC contributors get the message. We'll see.


Some positive replies and, it seems the spark of a disagreement, though from an 'Anon' ,which I tend to accord less value to.

Thank you to those who have provided me a generous welcome to your ranks.

I note also the words of caution, and indeed already feel a slight twist to the key in my back as I read the progress of some discussions. Participation, it seems, can be both addictive and perhaps corrosive. Maybe I should be careful to limit my exposure, but that of course leaves one prone to being less well informed... and open to accusations of superficiality. You really can’t win.

Already I must reiterate my point about labels, and to those from all ‘sides’. One man’s Daily Mail reader can too easily be deemed - and dismissed - as a fascist, it seems, while one woman’s Guardianista (or, it seems, the entire staff complement of the BBC ) an eco-fascist.

It may be true that this group is small and niche, but even from my brief exposure I would not agree that it is from one sole section. Hence the value of the input and the debate created.

But from just the few posts in discussion topics subsequent to mine above, I see already a necessary addition to add to my idealistic considerations; and one that is apt considering this forum is about a broadcaster. That is the power of the edit suite (or, in miniature on pages such as this, the cut and paste facility of our PCs), along with those who control it, and what motivates them in their decisions. Plus the commissioners, producers, directors and journalists who can of course by personal choice decide what ingredients get fed into this mixing pot in the first place.

I laid... lay great value on facts, and at least qualified this by adding ‘honestly presented’. This is key in much we are served on air, because while what we are shown or hear can shape our views, there is equal power in doing so through influencing what is omitted. And by golly that is much harder to measure because, by definition, you probably don’t know about it!

Hence my greater concerns, not just from the BBC but any who would set themselves up to provide ‘us’ with information. And here is the value of open source blogs such as this, when a convenient fact can be exposed to be less compelling when placed in proper context, or set beside some others that may show it to be but one take of many. Which is why I am valuing this blog’s debate as I am being introduced to pieces of some jigsaws that I did not know were missing.

My personal interest is in the environment, and now more than ever the phrase ‘not all that is green can be viewed in black and white’ sums up my frustration with the media grabbing extremes (from all sides) more to stir up a ratings-fest than to adequately inform an audience enough to come to a decent personal conclusion. Hence I am often even quite critical of the oft-lauded last bastion of journalistic integrity that is Newsnight, for what I have deemed their ‘twofer’ style of debate. Here two polar opposites are wheeled in to knock spots of each other (and their arguments), with the moderator in the centre picking off morsels to keep things bubbling along. Most unsatisfying for my purposes. I want to get to the core issues, see them rationally debated by a decent cross-section of views, but of course with all nailed to what they say and then held to them. This seldom happens. Where on earth are these ‘experts’ and/or talking heads that are presented as representatives, or our proxies, sourced? The wine bar next door?

But at least in such cases there is some measure of exchange, though again shaped by the choices of those to appear. And they are live, though often what gets served up subsequently can become a version of what I call ‘enhanced reality’ (i.e.; agenda driven fabrication, for either venal (ratings) or ‘personally passionate’ (‘we’ need to be ‘helped’ to understand what’s best for us) reasons. Which is why the Newsnight ‘re-arrangement’ in the Gordon Brown piece was my tipping point (along with Andrew Marr, I believe). That, and the subsequent inability of almost all involved to comprehend why I, and others, were so outraged.

Personally (and despite the questioning of an 'Anon'), while I would still hesitate to use the word ‘biased’ for the whole organisation, I hope I may be semantically accurate in offering the subjective view that I think the BBC is often... perhaps too often... unbalanced. Whilst recognising it’s easy to expect, and much more difficult to practice. Or ever be seen to be carrying out perfectly.

I don’t want rid of the BBC. But I do want it to remember what made it the unique and valued entity it was, and hence get back to oscillating more evenly about, and not as wildly from a balanced mean. There are much smarter folk than I to figure out how to achieve this, assuming they want to, but I’d say a reduction in scope, and hence size would be a good step towards to getting back to focussing on doing what has been done well, well again.

Sadly, with growing populations come ever growing empires in government, quangos and public services not just to serve but also feed off them, so I am not holding my breath.

But I will continue to stick to my expectation that all the relevant facts available are presented faithfully, and in order, by my public broadcaster, ta very much.

And if they are not, I guess I will need to rely on sites such as this to find out if and when they stray.

ADDENDUM 2 - For a copywriter I can be a wordy bugger. This little lot wouldn't upload, so I tried on another PC and it still didn't work... until I chopped out a few paras. Seems there is a limit I didn' t notice applied. Mea cupla.

I don't often fully side with Greenpeace .....

.... but, for once, I support this particular initiative, and would urge all our readers to do just the same.

We have mentioned the Arctic gold rush on a number of occasions in this very blog. See Gold Under Them There Bergs and Giant Leap Backwards, voicing the very same concerns that Greenpeace is now doing.

However, as this article from the Greenpeace web pages explains, what we really need, as the Arctic polar ice field slowly disappears, is for the Arctic resources to be protected from exploitation just as those of the Antarctic are under the 1991 international agreement. They ask that all readers sign a petition requesting the very same protection for the Arctic, and seek to have it given the status of a World Park.

I urge all readers to please visit the link and sign the petition. That is, if you prefer the Arctic to remain an untouched world park rather then see it get turned into yet another major oilfield.

And yes, I know the little film clip is utterly naff!!

Multiple choice justifications

A chap has posed the question: Why pick on us?

Well, for one reason they can. And for another, in many ways they should. But from that point on I'm mostly on board.

It's not so much for what's being done, but the hamfisted way it is being done and, worse, sold.

Just in this piece alone look at the justifications for these actions that are given, starting with 'a new pollution tax that has nothing to do with congestion'. Which is it (though I recognise that more congestion equals greater pollution. Which rather begs the question as to why the roads are permanently made to create jams). And I can't quite get my head around the sense of imposing on a car that will be stopped most of the day just because four of the wheels are powered, vs. being fine with another one buzzing about all day emitting away because it has a slightly better mileage.

And then it becomes about killing innocent pedestrians. That makes some sense, but then the guilty designs should simply be banned, full stop. Along with other slab-fronted entities, such as vans and buses. The "Also, I wouldn’t encounter so many jams on my drive to the civic centre” quote is a true peach, thank you for sharing (I hope that it is accurate).

So I really don't have much of a clue what the basis for this ban is, though most logic dictates the environment is not as high on the list as is claimed.

But to solve it, whilst admitting to no longer being an inhabitant of the 'Smoke, I would say that the best move, and one which maybe be a tad more democratic, would still be to decide it at the voting booth.

Another punt

The great recycler...

Crediting his efficiency in eking out the maximum from the resources to hand, Hunter Davies (Mean with Money, 26 Aug.) is not recycling very much if it remains in the back of his wardrobe, but on balance I'd still call him ' a good reuser'. But he and Lord Clarke have now suggested a new use for magazine sleeves that I had not thought of before, and would welcome being added to to share with others beyond these pages.

Hey, it may get printed.

ADDENDUM: It didn't, but this just in is very polite:

Thank you for your interesting letter. We would like to have been able to publish it, but there is space in our correspondence columns for only a fraction of the letters received each week. A copy of your letter has, of course, been passed on for the information of Hunter Davies and the Money Editor.

I'm guessing some in the Church are not big climate change supporters, then

Budget flights of faith

And that they will not be flying to this one: Pope leads eco-friendly festival

Tunnel vision

Merkel presses China on climate - But China said that it was still catching up economically, making it harder to reduce emissions.

With all due deference to our mucking things up westward ho (neat Euro-sino quip, no?) before and still, this rather smacks of getting a warning from below the end of the pier and saying you still need to run off the end as well first before you pay attention.

Ho (this may be a feature) hum. Let's all play doubles roulette with automatics.

From the petrolhead's mouth

An interesting FAQ from the Times about the best fuel-friendly route to take between a shorter through city vs. longer free-moving option.

I'm guessing this not referring to London, though.

Meanwhile, as we are on joined up governance and the image of helping the planet vs. the reality: Public transport 'poorly linked'

Well, D'uh! One thing that has always got my goat in various comparisons between this and that vs. automotive options is what happens once you step out of the train/bus. Ignoring what or who you are lugging along, and the time pressures you are under, the sheer fact that not all of us can afford to hail a taxi to complete the trip is one heck of an extra financial burden to add on to what is already very unattractive option to the wallet. And no, the solution is not pricing the one we have to use out of reach to all but the rich... and ministers.

A 'bang up' idea?

Groan: Norway puts "first ecological prison" on show

It's great the inmates spend so much time digging in the garden, too.

TUPE, brutal

That* has to get a credit from The Sun Sub-editor's subhead sisterhood.

However, I refer to a little bit of employment law that I was aware of but had not until now fully understood for the 'latest idiocy that may explain a lot': TUPE law sets off new alarm bells

No reason at all that the ad profession should not have the same protections as the rest of society, but it beggars belief that in a pitch for new business, the winner has to inherit the bozos from the losing side (who presumably were the reason for the pitch being needed - admitting it is often just down to Marketing Director insecurity/vanity).

At least it closes the loop. You can't fire anyone any more. And now you can't get rid of them by ditching their employers either. Now that's how to stay competitive.

* Ok, it's a stretch. Think Caesar's last words.

Don't mention mushrooms

I would repeat the joke, but it involves where one is kept and what you are fed. So,here's a chance to not just find out, but take part: Have your say in the future of nuclear power.

So there's no excuse. Well, if you can fit it in during your free time, unpaid, wading through etc. But that's democracy, civic pride, etc. I won't be, as there's only so much I can handle, and waste is my bag, but I thought I'd share as this blog does have a watching brief on the whole nuclear thing and more than a few are interested.

At least I have now found yet another entity I'd never heard of before: The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Which is, I presume, well stocked with those who are on salaries and have pots of time to sift all they are handed. Shame there cannot be more incentive to those who could offer much to be rewarded for their contributions. As opposed to getting the same old form the lobbyists and activists who usually get to dominate.

A copy of the report is available in all sorts of options, but none that I can see which glow in the dark.

There's being done. And there's being seen off in being done.

The bbc-is-biased blog is proving a tad too addictive, especially for my objectivity. But from this thread on some climate wheeze the Beeb has/had, can I really get my jaw of the ground that the head of Ofcom's boss has the CV he does, and yet is expected to oversee this little lot???!

I await confirmation before commenting further.

This, by the way, was my contribution (so far):

If the BBC really is trying to push the climate agenda with the aim of reducing personal environmental footprints on the part of viewers, the choice of Ross is astounding.

His 'performance' during Live Earth (which worked soooo well) was positively cringe worthy to anyone sincere in trying to share positive solutions and/or encourage reasonable self-sacrifice by positive example.

I'm afraid this all smacks/ed of simply yet another celebrity-fest for some local D-listers to play with lots more toys and uber-cool global A-listers in a very exclusive, self-serving crib.

And it's not like Live Earth even cranked up much by way of the great God 'ratings'.

As awareness went, about all I can recall is a Spice who took one week to forget she was ‘doing it all for her baby’ to getting her own private jet on tour in case she and the power sisters had hissy fits (and I’m sure half of the entertainment crew will be flying along for the ride, if they are not up in helicopters over the Antarctic to show us what ‘we’ are doing by er, taking helicopters to visit the Antarctic).

The use of 'celebrity' to promote the notion of restraint is facile. They have nothing but money and time, and the demands of screen time ensure that they have to seen with loads of 'stuff' and in as many exotic locations as possible all of the time. Popping out of the limo to walk a bit or claiming you offset your trips just doesn't cut it. Just one tabloid shot of a Lemar of Siena or Richard Branson in their new Aston, on a beach in Barbados or lighting the touch paper on a tourist spaceship undoes any positive awareness their brief dalliance with ‘doing their bit’ may achieve. The media is totally complicit because it’s a quick and lazy way to look like you are concerned and ‘doing’ something whilst getting the faces that attract the viewers and some backstage cred in the 'green' room. Message is secondary.

Yes, I think we do need to do all we can to understand and educate on what climate change is all about, and what can and should be done to address what ever it is possible and prudent to do to mitigate any adverse affects.

Having another, now possibly to be aborted, party was never going to be it.

Shame about the waste.


For most of the reasons you articulate... no.

Is it any wonder we are cynical when such as a Spice Mum is up there 'doing it for [my] child' and then next week getting a personal jet to tour in 'cos she and the powersisterhood might have a spat en route.

It's not the message (though I think we are beyond needing any more awareness or consciousness raising) but the choice of messengers.

How can one empathise with someone who makes squillions and, with the best will in the world, pretty much would need to be a saint not to use them to consume and/or travel? All supported by a media industry that demands such excess to have stuff worth watching, reporting upon and getting invited along on for the ride.

The reaction to the latest 'we're in with the in-crowd and you're not' ,BBC Green Elite in The VIP Green Room notion, Planet Relief, is but another case in point. At least some news (if not ents) editorial staff are at last questioning their roles in all this.

And here's the weather summary - 'Extreme'

By now we have pretty much all recognised that our traditional British weather does not appear to be quite what it used to be. Today's Indy has a fascinating article on the extremes of weather that we, along with others around our little planetary lump of rock, have suffered over recent years. And yes, it all appears to be entirely consistent with global warming.

"in the UK alone, in the past 14 months we have experienced the hottest July, the hottest April and the wettest June since records began. We have seen the hottest autumn and the hottest spring, and the second-hottest winter. We have also seen the hottest single month, and - by a considerable margin - the hottest single 12-month period."

And if we manage just a few more millilitres of rainfall before August is out, then 2007 will have been the wettest ever summer on record!

Meanwhile, this from WSWS, reports on research that predicts that great tracts of Spain are set to become desert before too long! (Maybe we will see ex-pat migration coming back the other way in 20 or 30 years or so?)

Yet, despite the daily evidence of climate change, our own leaders continue to provide no cohesive climate change messages. Just days after downgrading the status of the parliamentary climate change committee to a toothless waste of time, the government requests a study to look at putting in place additional flood protection for London! It would appear that the Thames barrier (as reported by the Beeb) may not be up to the job it was designed to do as soon as 2030!

A new Thames barrier is predicted to cost some £20 Billion. Anyone care to take a wager that this will be at least £50 Billion by the time it gets built?

I have seen the future, and it hurts

Without coming over all commy, I saw this and cannot not help but reiterate something that I have blogged before (and will doubtless do so again): City bonuses hit record high with £14bn payout - Executives fuel spiralling demand for luxury goods.

There are more and more of 'us'. And as a percentage, there seems to be more and more of 'us' (present compnay excepted) with a fair wadge of wonga. Most have acquired this whilst also becoming more and more time poor.

So what else, exactly, can they be expected to do than blow the money and precious moments on stuff and travel simply to justify the process of acquiring it? It's not an excuse, but it certainly is a reason. One that needs to be faced up to. Meanwhile the self-same media who purport to be concerned about all this continue to feed the process, with editorial on weekend breaks in the Maldives and articles on long distance affairs or cosmetic tourism.

And ads such as the one from Volkswagen on one page advocating using as little fuel as possible on one page, with a nice big glossy one to plug the Touran on another. With, for good measure, a Castrol ad showing the ideal car to be stuck in a traffic jam to be... a Touran! No wonder the cute little engine from the ActonCO2 ad is looking like it's running out of steam (I really recommend blowing the money where it might do some good, guys, as this ain't it).

They really like letting these modern day Marie Antoinettes have their cake so long as the get to go along for the ride to eat the scraps.

Negative media. Negative press.

A gorgeous weekend. A green, secluded garden. So, for the first time in a while, I decided to invest in actually buying the paper to read under a tree as opposed being glued to the PC.

And while there is much that is available, not to mention free, it also served to remind me that, beyond enjoying the process a lot more, there is a great deal one can miss by not being confronted with a page rich in eye-corner editorial delicacies... and even the ads. So look out for a bumper crop of blogs soon... if I remember to go through the tearsheets.

While by no means the most significant, I'd like to share this first. It was from the TV section, and was/is a review for a show on BBC3 tonight, called Outrageous Wasters. Tellingly, it is entitled 'Recycling is bad', and as I doubt it's online, will reproduce the rest here: 'A good example of outrageous waste is making a four-part series, with all the use of resources that entails (a point many finger-wagging production outfits should remember, especially when a helicopter is sent up to show us how dire the land below is becoming), when the key points can be put over in a single programme (or have been covered to death elsewhere, though I guess I should watch to see what new 'insights' we are offered). Pointless, energy-guzzling duplication is certainly evident here, as the family learn essentially the same lessons as last week. They are simply told off for their prodigal ways, and then sent to boot camp as penance and face pressure to repent and reform.'

Quite. I was aware of this programme, but really could not be bothered to watch, as even by its own trailers could see the format that was coming. And I am bored to death with being confronted with extreme examples who are then sent to a gulag. Neither aspect is a true representation of what most of us face, and how we behave, and the 'solutions' simply make me want to go and buy a Humvee.

Where are the positive stories that I know exist and can be used to inspire? Why can't we get an eco-Plue Peter or Tomorrow's World to show people all the great ways there are to profit and save from innovative e-practices, rather than this endless raft of shame, humiliate and punish? Yes, we do get a a few such as 'It's not easy being green', but these are quickly identified as being very idealised situations, funded by massive production company input.

Makes me start to think about, if I could afford the URL.

But at least it may avoid the kind of review that has a headline like the one above, and a consumer reaction like mine. May even help towards saving the planet, in case that ever really is the makers actual intention.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Damned if you do. Or don't.... Or if I know.

The Beeb gets a rare old bashing these days, not least on these pages and such as this 'does what it says on the tin' blog - biased-bbc - that has often questioned its dedication to quite overt climate change propaganda, and especially some rather dubious proponents with odd agendas). So it was interesting to note this: BBC news chiefs attack plans for climate change campaign

I have mixed feelings. On the one hand I have concerns about a retreat from rational discussion (caused, to be sure, by the backlash against massive, and pretty uncritical espousal of anything 'green' no matter what it is , or the enviROI), but then I can only be thankful we might be spared yet more 'awareness' or "consciousness raising" from such as Jonathan Ross. Like his part in Live Earth worked out so well.

This is pretty definite stuff: Asked [by whom, I wonder] whether the BBC should campaign on issues such as climate change, Mr Horrocks said: "I absolutely don't think we should do that because it's not impartial. It's not our job to lead people and proselytise about it." Mr Barron said: "It is absolutely not the BBC's job to save the planet. I think there are a lot of people who think that, but it must be stopped." I'm not sure what the 'it' is, but I presume that this means the notion of those who think it's the BBC's job to save the planet. There's a lot to read into those words. Pendulums swinging too far the other way, for one.

If Planet Relief appears [wondering how this is that tricky to decided definitively ] to contradict BBC guidelines on impartiality, then that's pretty clear cut. Rules are rules.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. But somehow, I don't see the planet, or those upon it, doing too well out this. Ratings maybe. Chattering class forums maybe. Ho hum.

Daily Mail - Why saving Earth is not the BBC's job, by Newsnight boss