Friday, May 11, 2007

Saving the planet. Next!

This from the Telegraph - Expanding our coverage - and horizons

'...we hope will gather together in one place on the internet all that we feel the Telegraph already does well about nature and the environment - whether it is the latest news reporting, comment, pictures or features - together with a little bit more.'

'The internet gives us the opportunity to give depth to our coverage of environmental and scientific issues and to expand this by evaluating and giving feedback on environmentally friendly products for our readers whether they find themselves at the leading edge of, or reluctantly bowled over by, the "green" shock-wave currently passing through the High Street.'

'But the green vein in our readership is matched by an equally deep loathing of cant and over-statement. So, we hope, the Earth Channel will be a place with a strong, Telegraph character, where inconvenient facts are sought out and views tested with common sense.'

Hmn. Can't argue with any of that. Hope it all gets delivered.

So far, about 5 readers, at least motivated to write. Not too encouraging.

And I have to agree with the post about their seeking pictures; the science is sloppy, but the ratings intent is clear: 'Oh look, nasty stuff!'.

The Telegraph has a history of moderating me, and Mr. Clover I have approached on many occasions to no result, be it for, a point on coverage or RE:tie. At least this post is now up. Maybe a new era of cooperation may dawn elsewhere, as I have tried to offer a constructive post:

'Anything that spreads further knowledge - especially in clear terms we can all understand and engage with positively and proactively - is welcome.

But be prepared for debate. On the one hand I welcome it, but in some areas I fear I have grown rather weary of all that surrounds 'climate change' or 'global warming' as it seems to pretty soon to end up as a slanging match between 'big oil-funded deniers' at one opposition-designated end, and 'agenda-driven, green elite activists' at the other. To the best of my knowledge neither, yet, can claim to know what the heck is going on, and their spats are simply consuming time we may not have and putting off folk that need to be engaged with and motivated now.

My personal belief is that whatever may or may not be happening, man-created waste (in any form - through disposal or inefficient consumption) is neither justified nor logical on any basis. We are a planet of finite size, with a growing population, and there is an end point approaching to sustain our current behaviours. Checking waste seems a key, immediate task. Not to mention potentially profitable, if also 'inconvenient'. Lifestyle sacrifices will need to be made.

And while the big stuff is the domain of governments and commerce, their actions are ultimately decided by those who vote, with a cross on a ballot or their wallets. These are who need to be persuaded with truth, accuracy, logic, fun and incentive. Not spin, threat, target, agenda, guilt or the frighteners. We need more 'I will...' than 'I can...', as the latter to me offers the option of opting out if not convenient, which is par for the course for a cabinet of lawyers, but less encouraging to those who are thinking less of career, pension and/or profit first at the moment.

I have but one interest for any and all initiatives that cross my path, and that is the enviROI; the return on investment to my kids' futures on this planet. It can be fine if something doesn't make much sense financially - that is a personal choice to make - but it is not idf some green commitment merely serves a short term political point, a CSR cause or a greenwash money motive. It has to reduce the gunk going up in smoke that 'may' be doing the big damage, or going into holes that are full to bursting. A lot do not, and as an ex-engineer and ad man (an odd, but useful mix in this area) I am seeing too much that doesn't add up in this regard.

Technology can help, but it must not be rushed out and especially not be endorsed if the enviROI is not proven.

What is it actually for a B&Q wind turbine, especially as advertised on these pages? I don't know, yet, but I am finding out. I know the financial ROI can often be pretty poor, depending on location, as Newsnight's Ethical Man and Mr. Cameron have already discovered. Why has home solar had almost all its funding removed?

And while a hybrid or electric may make a nifty statement, let's not rush to buy a new one without thinking of the totality behind such an act. Is it instead of another car or as well as? Is the ex-vehicle being removed from use, and hence emissions? What are the consequences of using a hybrid if most travelling is non-urban, simply lugging round a heavy battery? And how 'good' is an electric, really? Its exhaust pipe is merely in another location, and electricity transfer and storage from generator to wheel is not that efficient. They may be helpful for airborne pollution, but how good for enviROI? And for both, what is served by a Congestion Charge-Free pass in London, if that merely allows them to emit away all day, no matter how efficiently?

This is the kind of reporting I would appreciate, to ensure my decisions are informed... and in the best interests of future generations."