Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The 64,000 hour question

Ethical Issues - Your questions

They asked. I wonder how well they'll listen:

A challenging year perhaps, but one trusts a rewarding one.

We have shared your ups and downs and, along with info from the programme, some very useful tips and links on this very site, which will hopefully point us in better enviro-directions.

I'm afraid I missed the peeing on the compost and, mercifully, the hippy poo (more roughage, doubtless), but do have some concerns on where this leads if embraced by all (surely what is being advocated, though there seem to be some who aspire to a career in being greener in comparison to others, and would thus surely require such divisions of lifestyle to remain to stay in paid voyeuristic spotlight) following a line of thought I embarked upon when I saw another programme advocating home composting toilets by another eco-guru. What would the social hygiene consequences be if 10 million folk in London got inspired to follow suit?

As to doing without the family car... well, that's more the one owned by your family to be strictly accurate, is it not? I do recall some tons of manufactured metal being used to consume some hydrocarbons subsequently, when push came and shove was not really an option.

Work, career and family, eh? So we now end your mission with the arrival of the lovey Elsa, who you say blew it all with the first breath she took.

Speaking of which, and knowing what you know now, for her sake (or, more likely her kids' kids sakes), it is to be hoped that being ethical doesn't stop just because the producer's deadline has expired and the show needs to move on to feed on newer ratings fare. That would send a rather unfortunate message out about the triviality of our media, and the disposability of ethics, along with our more tangible consumerist waste products. Not to mention, as those darn IPCC science bods (et Al, as in... well, you've met him) keep harping on, going 'back' in any way shape or form looks like it's going to bring the possible tipping point ever nearer. How many journalists did it take to cover that, sans irony? Now, there was one in Brussels. Another in Mexico and, my personal favourite, the one who'd flown specially to the Arctic wasteland to show us what all that flying was doing. So make sure on your next holiday to Marbella you say you're studying climate change and you'll be golden.

There are so many detailed questions to ask, and I see them building up already, but I will concern myself with just one. But it is a biggie:

Qu: - Assuming it is agreed by them all (in words, if not actions) that man-made carbon emissions need to be reduced, which political party is prepared to commit itself ONLY to the cause of genuine, clear and simple positive enviROI solutions (no greenwash to buy a vote, spin a headline or buy off a lobbyist - simply something that saves a lot more carbon than it costs to make and run), explained honestly in terms the public can understand, sold for the betterment of our kids' long-term futures and not short-term political gain, any eco-activist corporate agenda, commercial career/bottom line benefit or media ratings-driven kneejerk?

I'm holding my breath. Looking at who would lead us into the future currently, ethically or not, I fear I may yet need all I can save.

Don't fly as fly do, fly as I fly.

This was billed as a 'must read'. All I can say is... why?

Well-grounded fear of flying

As I was just saying on my blog and site, which are available, free, along with some stuff you can DO....

'Re: the unearthed 'exclusive' in little-known publication Newsweek.

Noted enviro-writer Mr. Monbiot's plan is certainly 'a' plan, if honestly described by him as being based on 'inexact science', with a few of his 'rough estimates' lobbed in, with the odd 'guess'. I just hope the deniers don't see that little lot as an opportunity for robust rebuttal.

Beyond offering such unwelcome ammo to the 'do nothing' camp, I'm not sure quite how practical this plan is. But then you don't sell many books or get invited to many interviews based on the politics of compromise. News media like to drive ratings first, not inform, and the best way is to pop a couple of pit bulls from opposing camps in the ring and let the games begin. Let's see what big-oil funded shock-jock they can wheel out to say anything that hasn't been countered a million times before.

I'm sure a lot more will read and respond to the magazine (me, I am happy to get it online), but to add to the mighty one views (rating 0.5) at my time of reading the linked piece, and having read a lot of Mr. M's thoughts before, to be charitable and acknowledge the breadth of his knowledge in this arena it seemed to suffer from some rather drastic editing.

I can't recall quite how he promoted his book, Heat (available in all good bookstores at a very reasonable price), or gets to and from his many commitments without the need for personal transport, but as Frank Drebin says, that is not important right now. I am sure getting paid to do his job travelling about is more important than many other folk with careers and families to support.

As for trading the eco-consequences of such travel, is this just between rich folk, or does the population of the globe get to play too?

Per Mr. Cameron's (our Leader of the Opposition here in the UK) notion, I'm guessing a few hundred thousand Kalahari bushmen are ready to let you get to the Earth Aid concert in a private 737, with on board LPG Humvee, based on their allocation. With about 5.5 billion more folk waiting in line.

Green Air - Flying the Sanctimonious, Irony-free Skies'

From the country that put the US in useless

Colbert on consumerism

I wonder at what the cut-off point is where the media stop finding people engaging in planetary-saving personal endeavours 'interesting' and 'different' enough to feature? What % of population actively engaged in low-impact lifestyles before it is no longer news, and you're kinda on your own because you just believe it's a good thing to do rather than as an exercise in ratings gathering?

It's a line of thought I embarked upon when I saw a programme advocating home composting toilets by a London-based guru. What would the social hygiene consequences be if 10 million folk got inspired to follow suit?

Anyhoo, while having every admiration for such efforts, and sympathy for the financially compensatory effects of publicity (though perhaps wondering how the interviewee got to the studio - maybe it's OK if someone else provides the transport. I tried pitching a video feed to one interested media outlet here. They didn't bite. But at least I persuaded them to send just one reporter with a tripod ) to plug the book (how many times does that little number rather put the whole deal in context? I'm guessing it's another, new, extra book on the topic? And will require buying, for money, and making, and distributing, etc) on an as yet unspecified non-impacting stock, I again feel a certain unease that the messenger may not be serving the message as well as he might.

Was pretty funny though.

At least Mr. Colbert will not be joining hordes of irony-free Americans making many extra journeys to congregate together at an event that is raising awareness about... what exactly?

As IPCC 2, the sequel, is now pointing out, it's the kids who will suffer first. Enjoy the party.