Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Any Old Plastic

Let's end the day with a picture.

I was passing a local coffee shop t'other day, which happened to be bin collections.

And there, on the pile, were these crates. I asked them if I could have them, and as they get charged for disposal they were more than happy.

And I now have a supply of nice plastic stacable trays for my growing Junkk collection.

Now, if only there was a way to connect such opportunities around the place. Oo, oo, I know.... JunkkYard!

Looks green. May be green. By by golly...

Some of the world’s leading technology brands are failing to convince consumers of their green credentials - Freelance UK

Seems they are sceptical about the ethical statements made by sellers.

So, in response to this issue, some of the biggest names in the technology sector are actively engaged in 'eco-proofing' their business operations, which does seem to have at its heart a bit more than puff, but the name hardly inspires one to think they are thinking that positively. It smacks, as always, of defensive measures.

Report author Added Value is holding a next Branding for Good Summit called “Green:2.0 - Avoid the Greenwash” in November. Oooo, another summit! Ok, so I'd like to go, too. I think though, just to be different, I'm going to call mine a 'get-together', or 'bit of a chat'.

More information is available at:

I could do with some of that, couldn't I?

I was catching up on some tearsheets and came across A Life in the Day of the UK Wikipedia 'run-person', reading it with oddly mixed feelings.

Of course I'm jealous, because to have such passion and commitment 'as an unpaid volunteer' would certainly ease the burden a tad. Of course I do have a few (and growing) loyal folk who chip in, and it is much appreciated. But her level of input is... beyond the call.

If a little scary.

'Two years ago we had almost no income; this year our budget will hit $6m. We receive donations but we need more money to pay for servers, among other things – we have 500 servers now. Advertising is out of the question: it’s a moral issue for us. So we’re seeking sponsorship from private companies, who could give us shares, and we’re going to ask the EU for subsidies.'

So advertising is immoral, but sponsorship from private companies isn't. Hmnn. Plus if I got a grant from the EU it would need to be without strings, but I certainly won't say no if they are up for that.

As for: "It’s possible one day I’ll be more proud of Wikipedia than of the kids", I'll always be proud of and the legacy it may leave my kids, but it will never come close to them in my heart; as they are flesh and blood and already showing me what the future can be.

I guess that's the difference between us. That, and when I find the money, I'll gladly share it with anyone who helps make the site better.

Sadly, I find too many charities, not-for-profits and volunteer groups to be stocked with people waaaay to scary to deal with.

The 'R' Word

It's waaay up there with 'population', only seems to get bandied about a lot more: Polluting minds

I think I can just about see what you are trying to say. But sadly, it's hard to agree with much of the reasoning.

For a start, I await an adequate definition of 'racism' in any of the contexts it gets so wilfully misused all the time. I actually celebrate many of the differences that exist between races, cultures, etc, but as it is only ever levelled in the negative, I just wonder at what point one is to be censored (where free speech is allowed, natch) from identifying, much less commenting upon, a culture difference. Especially if it is bent on mutually assured self-destruction.

You surely cannot be trying to say that, having arrived at a point where climate change is accepted as most likely being accelerated by the vast amounts of gunk that ever more affluent consumers pour in the air through having the cash to buy ever more 'stuff', no one can question whether one sixth of the world's population may need to get on board with the notion of restraint a tad.

Ok, so the 'rest' of us are pretty darn woeful, especially a certain continent to the left, but at least there are existing and ever-developing mechanisms of restraint that are enshrined in their governance, and which the people can use the power of the vote to enact. Along with the freedom to mention some nasty facts to those whose careers extend to the end of a political term as opposed to when they shuffle off to join their ancestors.

Meanwhile, the guy behind you telling you to stump up for the bullet is...?

The Know People

This looks like a good thing for bad times: Turn to Google Maps for flood updates

As does this.

What does not, is this: '... a useful point to wonder whether information on flooding that is already collated by various arms of government should be made more freely available to members of the public. After all, it was only a couple of weeks ago that property site OnOneMap, which uses Google Maps as its engine, got into a battle over the flood data it was offering browsers. Because the mapping data showing flood risk is owned by the Environment Agency, they were forced to remove it.'

Just so's I get this straight...

There is public information, paid for by the public, that can be of help (or made to be) to the public, and it's ring-fenced 'not for the public's benefit' by quango turf defences?

Well, at least they were honest:(

We get a lot of surveys. And there is usually a disconnect between what folk say, what they really think, and actually do. So this is... interesting: Consumers reject "green" taxes

When it comes to social behaviour, we are a little less prone to the truth, if the discrepancy between those who say they recycle and those who actually do is to be reconciled.

But when it comes to cold, hard cash, well, the people have spoken.... at least to a guy flogging insurance policies.

I just wonder how many resent paying more tax (well, D'uh), but in terms of green don't see how paying it actually ends up helping the planet with the gold-plated shower we have in charge of things these days.


BBC - Teenagers support 'green' schools - as opposed to...?

First they came for the 4x4s, and I did...

With all due deference to the seriousness of Pastor Neimoller's words, it looks like next in line for a bit of high priority trendy liberal media angst is... patio heaters!

And for once I am quiet happy to be on the side of good... er... green. At least, so long as it's basically letting all and sundry who think they're nifty that, on balance, they are not perhaps the greatest contribution to global warmin... er... climate change. In fact I was livid when the Ideal Home stuck my stand during their 'Environmental Theme' next to one selling the blooming things.

So we have the usual perky BBC blonde bouncing around post flood duty asking some outdoorsy types 'what they think'.

My favourite was the girl who said they were required because 'we need to experience the outdoors'. Sweet. Then there was the pub landlord who reckoned they stopped people flying to Spain. And the pub chain CEO who was dead against them and had commissioned much PR to get the BBC to advertise him.. er... them... er the good works they are doing. Plus fresh prawns at £6.99 and a bottle of Chilean red thrown in...:)

Seems this is the unintended consequence of the new anti-smoking laws; all the smokers don't like to be chilly when they are outside, so need the exterior brought up to speed temperature wise, along with the rest of the planet, it seems. Actually I never found out what the carbon cost of a fag was. Must check.

It has coincided with a minor debate I was/am having on an eco-blog (members only, don'tchaknow) following a post asking what was the best way to heat outdoors. Sadly my idea of either buying woolly jumpers from the local charity shop, or commissioning the knitting circle to whip up branded shawls (think of the PR!) was not favoured.

I am currently having an exchange with a guy who is telling me underfloor heating is radiant and only heats the person and not the air, which I'm having trouble grasping.

So to a long and growing list we can now add patio heaters. I just hope Dave's Humveee terrorists don't get wind of it or they'll be flying over to blow them up.

Meanwhile, the forests get cut down, the oil shale is being strip mined, etc, etc. Oh, and the floods were soooo yesterday.

BBC - 'Dump patio heater wear a jumper' - I'm sure they don't mean dump it. Just don't use it anymore. JunkkYard - hatstand?

Indy - Hot Air - How do you 'secretly own' one? And 'environment hypocrisy is a new concept?
Indy - Enemy of the planet: The ethics of consumption

Guardian - Not in my back yard

I think there are few that can disagree that the things are hard to justify on any count, but especially in an era when unnecessary man, er, person made emissions are figured to be accelerating climate change.

I, for one, was livid that my (eco) stand (of about 6 out of 700) at the supposed Enviro-themed Ideal Home Show a few years ago was positioned next to one flogging the things by the score.


In the great scheme of things, I would dearly love to have some kind of understandable comparative table that shows where the areas of greatest enviROIs are. There will of course be those of a communal nature (governmental, local authority and corporate), and then individual.

Such as patio heaters, 4x4s, budget airlines and Evian bottles will fall under the latter (noting that two of those might have been missed somewhat in certain areas lately had they been fully banned as advocated by some).

Whilst recognising every little thing adds up, matters and makes a difference, I am more than interested in where these iconic examples of activist and selective action chattering class ire actually rate against, say, home insulation.

With such information to hand perhaps we can more effectively prioritise the big hits that will make a real difference first, and sweat the small stuff later.

Especially as the shrill nanny nature of most efforts I am seeing so far seem almost inevitably destined to create a backlash from those who are less likely to chain themselves to the local pub's heater whilst sipping a nice chilled Chilean Chablis. And are the ones who really need to be brought onside.

But I guess it sells a few more papers and fills a slot at the end of the news stirring the pot.

Ask, and you will... er... um...

A bit more water-borne fun & games with Newsnight

I prefer to 'watch' the PC feed the next day, but as seems to happen every so often it is pointing elsewhere. So it is hard to comment in detail.

And as I am also getting a pop-up when I do (on my PC, requiring me to log on from another) which says rather baldly, and unhelpfully, 'you are not allowed to comment' (er, why?) it gets even trickier.

So may I express a frustration with such posting efforts that when very pertinent questions do get asked, they almost inevitably do not get answered.

How about an on-air follow-up when it is obviously warranted and you have some nifty one-liners to pose?

I am still trying to understand how these floods are described by all levels of government from Dear Leader down as 'without precedent' and 'unable to predict', when I keep hearing that they have happened before (on Newsnight) and were predicted (Guardian Front Page).

Who doesn't know their facts, or is simply enhancing the truth?