Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Legal, decent, honest... and evasive?

I get these all the time, and have at last decided to have a scope.

As an ad man and enviro-concerned person, I found this one of interest, especially with my concerns on financial vs. enviROI.

To do it justice I will need to read it carefully, but I have to say that if I am not sure what was going on at the outset, I'd have to err on the side of caution.

Getting some offside, but maybe one on?

Terence Blacker: Pimp your ride the green celebrity way

Dear Mr. Blacker

While I can only agree with all else you have written (and indeed delight in blogging on relentlessly - Mr. Gore's inconvenient utility bill today, for instance), I do rather hope that Mr. Banks opted for low-energy, long-life bulbs. Otherwise he is helping neither his financial nor the planet's environmental ROI.

And by being one of a long line in celeb pedestal pronoucers to look a tad shaky to us mere mortals, I do wonder if he is doing the cause of genuine green advocacy to the masses much good either.

From your article's thrust I'm guessing not. But uncritical media complicity will tend to maintain the trend, no? Though one suspects there is ratings value in sending out the PR going in and then catching them on the way out with commentary such as yours.

ps: Replacing a fleet of expensive motors with one expensive motor really only helps the green thing if its use in this case is weighed against a) other dirty great big SUVs and b) where it gets used. On a motorway it's mainly lugging a heavy battery around, which helps the planet.. er.. how?

But yes... let us visit a municipal dump, where health and safety regulations forbid the supply of unchecked electrical equipment through charity shops or auctions.

May I therefore direct you at a place where making and mending is made fun and friendly to those with less cash to flash, and don't feel it, or anything else needs to go to be burned either.

The author has been courteous enough to reply, and nice enough to offer his best (makes it worth the effort writing when that happens):

Thanks for your interesting email and for directing me to All (energy-saving) power to your elbow.

Issues! Bless you...

Going green is seen as 'the' issue

Nice to know I am not jumping on a bandwagon.

'...some of the most powerful players in the sector called for action on environmental issues despite the fact that many of the executives flew to the event in private jets.'

'Stephen Schwarzman, head of the Blackstone Group, was most vociferous, saying anybody who did not watch the documentary An Inconvenient Truth by the former US vice president Al Gore, had to be "intellectually deficient".'

Bet he wishes Big Al's untilty bill had cropped up the same day he said that:)

To Tesco, or not to Tesco...

Are supermarkets changing our way of life, and should we be alarmed?

One and one's lost plot.

As I munch on my Big Mac and Fries, while I can see some environmental (how many fields to support one cow?) and even health benefits, I can't help but think that if it was as simplistically put as it has been reported (in the Indy, mind), the guy is a little more shy on reality grasping than I had thought.

Charles suggests McDonald's ban

Indy - The Third Leader: Burger kings

Mad - A Big Mac by appointment to the Burger King in waiting

It's a stretch to equate the HRH's A&P remarks to have been targetted at a competitor such as MacD. I'd say it was just a case of 'foot-in-ones-mouth disease'.

What a nice way to end a Thursday - a charming note from the author conceding I may have a point. Now if only we could all comment and chat in such a civilised way!

Telegraph - Star chef backs the Big Mac
Indy - Janet Street-Porter: Charles is cashing in on our food snobbery

Why skilled engineers make perfect leaders


Peter Martin, Junkk Male, Big 'Ed, top 40 producer, ad agency owner CD... and BSc Civ. Eng (Hons - so long as I promised not to try and build anything)

Times - The world’s your oyster
Times - Professional development
Times - Making a difference
Times - Engineering a solution

I left Uni 25 years ago with a BSc Civ. Eng.

A combination of happy factors took me through advertising and
music production to an ideal career now trying to save the planet
through science AND the art of persuasion, via branding, reward and

However, it was rather sad then (and I'm not so sure it's too different
now) that of a graduating class of around 35, less than 10% remained
directly in the profession. And most of (well, 3 and a half of them) were
not spanning the Humber or building dams bestride a mighty D10. A
two-up two-down in Slough was more the speed. So good careers
planning and management of graduate expectations is still critical I'd say.

Mind you, most of my mates are now 'Masters of the Universe' in the
City (bit of a black sheep, me),so something must have worked out
well, if not perhaps for our culture of innovation in actually making
tangible 'things' any more. But as Mr. Dyson has proven, it's hard to
design them and sell them if you don't know how to make them.

A word in your shell-like, squire

Don’ t force me. I’m open to persuasion

I agree with the notion of persuasion, but in this day and age
would merely advocate that the funding that goes behind it is
channeled wisely into accountable, and responsible mechanisms
with genuine ROI measures.

So yes, let's have no more 'fine first, figure out a solution later' social
divisions created, but equally let's not see all useful funding poured
into black-hole govt. and quango (same paymaster, different branding
empires and immense comms budgets that serve only to keep ad
agencies, media buying houses and the guys they are hired by

Ken and Me

I cringe that this is the best that he could come up with at this stage, but: It won't cost the earth

It is a pleasure to focus, for once, on a fairly unequivocal and positive set (though there are some interesting, if inevitable re-run pros, cons, defences and accusations to be found in subsequent posts) of ideas, and with few politically or class-hued bolt-ons to sour the soup.

‘We don't have to reduce our quality of life to tackle climate change, but we do need to change the way we live.’

Bang on! Shame to see this popped in though: ‘...hear from rightwing commentators’. Creates camps, see. We need to bring folk together in the common cause of reducing waste without having to choose what colour flag they fight under.

‘It is ironic that...’

Well, yes. In fact the words and deeds of those who would claim to act on our behalves can often seem at odds with actuality. And hence weaken their cases and authority to even pass comment. Let alone expect any to follow.

‘Put the other way, we actually have a moral responsibility to lead.’

No argument.

‘...a new one-stop-shop Green Homes advice service.’

I await with interest and anticipation on the details. But some dread that it will be another over-funded, over-staffed and under-utilised box-ticking quango with a vast comms budget that delivers a poor ROI to rate-payers pockets and the environment. Fingers crossed!

‘It will also be important to offer financial incentives for change.’

Amen. You could also try and swing some cooperation from your mates in the City, too:

Speaking of folk who live in your ‘hood, try this one as well on your good buddies in Westminster (that even the guys in the £xM flats overlooking your office may see merit in):

It’s a compromise IHT solution to the deadlock caused by ‘us not being able to take it with us’, ‘you not wanting to let go of it’ and ‘them not trusting you to make good use of it if and when you get it’.
What’s not to like?

‘...we have to introduce a comprehensive carbon-pricing system across the UK - so that people's economic decisions take account of the carbon impact.‘

Yup. But... who runs it? Where is the money taken from and sent to? How efficient will the logistics of management, assessment, monitoring, imposing, policing, IT-support, etc , be?

Just so long as 99% of all excess monies taken in the name of green do not get split between City brokers and public service and quango empires before any goes to reducing our planetary impact. A guy has to hope:)

‘Now is the time for action.’

How many times have I heard that? But yes, the time for talking is over, so long as we can trust the motivations and abilities of those who would lay claim to the reins.

Now, let’s check the form book...

BBC - Mayor unveils climate change plan
Yahoo - Livingstone to announce climate change strategy
Reuters - London plans to be world's greenest city

Worth a punt, I mean tent, eh?

101 uses for a manky tent

Or simply chuck it in the bin. No one will notice. Will they?

Yes they will, if it is the wrong one, and try to fine whoever's name is on it even if they had nothing to do with disposal.

So, as you have so womanfully done on a personal basis, play safe and go with the re:use option.

You may suggest or indeed find a few more ideas here:


I am very glad that I have established on the basis of information, incentive and reward, rather than fright, guilt and fine, but despite this there is the small matter of setting an example.

There is a limit to how much I can say 'do what you gotta do', so when something makes sense to do, or not, to help the situation, I will try and share it. Which means I should and would feel a bit uncomfortable advocating not flying so much as I book the family for a weekend in Verbier to catch the last of the season's skiing.

So you have to feel, but only a bit, for Mr. Gore: Al Gore faces truth about his own energy use

Typically the issue seems to have immediately descended into who is behind it all at the expense of the facts, but as at least some seem undoubted there is the question of example.

And that is where the darlings of the green elite need to start getting their houses in order. For a start, by at least switching the thermo down and a few rooms' lights off.

And I do question how many firs can get whacked in the firmament to allow them to keep on emitting rather than simply cutting back.

Gore feels the heat
Guardian - An inconvenient truth: eco-warrior Al Gore's bloated gas and electricity bills
Indy - Gore faces up to inconvenient truth over his electricity bill

Am I missing something?

Nothing to do with the environment. A lot to do with the media... who report on the ways to save the planet, if not very thoroughly.

Ice cream can help women get pregnant

I write this as I watch the same piece on BBC Breakfast with the bouffant and the blonde reading out the same press release and saying 'Yummy, mummy'.

Now, valid though this may or may not be (I'm guessing pregnant ancestors may have needed a high fat boost to weather the demands of an extra kid from conception to weaning), I do wonder if some context may not have been worthwhile about how that rather unchallenged bit of info may apply in these modern days of obesity being a bit of a problem?

Times - Obese mothers blamed for baby deaths
Indy - Ice cream 'helps increase chance of pregnancy'

Stamping Out... er... in... DM?

Dearer stamps 'could mean more junk mail' through your letterbox

There's a new dynamic these more environmentally aware days: the ECOst.

As an ad man I cannot quite fathom why an increase in prices would also be accompanied by an increase in marketing material. The reason our papers are the price they are, and not more, is because of the ads.

However, should one's ECOncern run to unwanted or indeed unnecessary excess printed paper in any medium, there is a certain logic to allowing you can't have it all ways.