Saturday, July 14, 2007


What are, or rather should be, the consequences of failure?

A simple answer is more than likely impossible, because, as with all things, so much depends on circumstance.

But generally speaking, I'd say there are a few basic guidelines I would adopt, learned mainly from my experiences as an employee, owner of a company and supplier to a client base.

First up, and so long as there is no history, if it was an honest mistake then one quickly accepts this, puts things to rights and allows one and all to learn from it.

If however we are talking a deliberate mistake, and worse repetition of same, things move in another direction. Again you move quickly to put it right, and ensure (this time - asking how this notion failed as a check before) that it cannot be repeated. But the lesson is different. It must be taught. And that is you do not carry out something that is deliberately wrong, and if you do you must bear the consequences. Otherwise what message does that send to future perpetrators, and those who may gain or lose from their actions. And all who bear witness?

It gets fuzzy once you move into chains of authority. But then that is what they are for.

In commerce it was simple. If a subordinate fouled up, deliberately or not, unless the client was more than forgiving my company bore the consequences. Discipline was down to me and my partner, but in a relationship business we could forgive but clients often would not, or forget, so when it comes to who is funding whom (especially salaries), things could get... complex.

To avoid a lot of problems that could arise, we therefore had extensive, and rigourous approval chains, most of which extended to the client side as well.

So a lot of checks were made before it got to me, and then before anything was actioned it went to the client.

If there was a cock-up, that usually protected us financially, because an approval signature is a wonderful thing, but reputations and relationships could and would still suffer, often fatally.

In the end, the consequence would pretty much always end up at one place: my pocket.

Sadly, with almost all Gov, Local Gov and even NGO variations, there seems to be rather less rigorous adherence to the notion of no authority without responsibility, and that with responsibility comes accountability.

So it's hard in the current climate of 'it wasn't me, and even if it was it doesn't matter' to see how the good will prosper and the bad will get weeded out. In fact it almost seems designed to ensure that those who play a system for their own benefit, secure in their position no matter what, will rise to the top,... not like cream, but a bad smell.

Good question. Let's build on that.

Why not use the 420,000 empty homes to solve the housing crisis?

Makes about as much sense as fudging about obsessing about plastic bags, 4x4s and carbon offset schemes when every year deforestation accounts for more carbon consequence (in terms of 'sink') than the US produces (as emissions).

Priorities, anyone? Prevention better than cure?

It's all about seeming to do things than actually doing anything worthwhile these days.

Surely repair or restoration can be accorded value in the target-obsessed, and rewarding political cultures of today.

The last straw? Hydrogen-powered vehicle exhaust pipes

An informative article on hydrogen: Hydrogen fuel stations: Is this really the fuel of the future?

I was about to groan at the though of a media-muppet drinking from the back end of a car and exclaiming, as always happens with electric cars, 'Look, there's no pollution!'. So it is good to see the fact of its (current) production in energy (and hence emissions) terms laid out clearly.

And if Gordon decides on igloos, polar bears are in trouble, too

And not just from global warming - How the human population explosion is threatening the Indian elephant's survival

Finite land area. Hyperbolic birth rates. Tech and ethical overrides on 'natural' checks and balances (well, tsunamis, flooding on plains, avian flu notwithstanding).

You do the math.

Indy - A deadly challenge to the environment

The check's in the Mail

Shoppers want less packaging, survey shows

Following Dave's post a few back, let's see the Indy and the Mail slug it out in saving us from the pack-attack.

I would point out that, in surveys, almost 100% of those asked say they recycle. Not exactly borne out by the facts. So when asked in the current climate (geddit) if you are in favour of something that is patently pure consumerist waste, you are unlikely to admit you are not. Actual desires and purchase behaviour may be slightly different, I suspect.

Ho-hum, now another massive bunch of data to wade through, and interpret for methodology and agenda-bias, before commenting on in detail here.

That's US, guys!

Money talks: How concern for the planet is changing the way we shop

But mainly if you live in London, natch.

Where does the money really go?

Bid to make supermarkets charge 10p for carrier bags

All I know is that I worry about that word 'could', when it comes to the redirection of the funds. One for the NAO perhaps? 9p admin, I'll bet.

I still await an answer on the actual volume/weight the 167 (down from the figure the BBC shared, and I quoted (ah, stats, damned stats, and news info) a while ago) bags 'we' use each year, and how it stacks up against other plastics in our waste stream.

And, sorry, I simply don't believe that 1 in 200 figure.

Everyone I know either reuses them (or doesn't that count? So it's OK to buy a bin liner instead?) or recycles. I'll accept a low %age, but not 1.

Worth a watch*, I'd say

Raft of flaws found in popular carbon offsetting schemes - An episode of Dispatches on Channel 4 on Monday entitled "The Great Green Smoke Screen" will show academics and environmentalists questioning the ethics and impact of offsetting.

"Dispatches questioned whether big companies such as HSBC and Sky had any right to claim they were "carbon neutral" as a result of buying offsets to undo the effects of their pollution. Instead the programme hinted that more should be done to limit the polluting activity in the first place."

You heard it here first. Well... ish.

*Do however, bear in mind that Ch4 screened another 'Great' doco not so long ago. And if the BBC can get itself mired by editing for effect... and ratings, well, who do we believe now?

Maybe they have offset it?

Toxic tyre fires burn in Ulster as loyalists celebrate the Battle of the Boyne

Or will claim it's to save on landfill?