Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What a relief?

I was never too convinced about it, so I welcome the BBC climate special decision.

What I don't like is how it now plays out.

I don't think I'm any 'wing'. In fact I have the notion that the best way to soar higher is to have both, and evenly balanced.

But by virtue of trying to do a bunch of stuff to help my kids' futures, I guess I could be thought of as an 'Environmental campaigner' of sorts. My thoughts on the decision were however not solicited. Who activist and writer Mark Lynas is and what qualifies him to speak on behalf of those who 'do care more than others' (I would not presume, hoping we all do equally) about our planet and its direction is not clear.

And while I may be vociferous, and small, I am not a climate 'sceptic' lobbying against taking action.

I just thought this effort sounded like another, misconceived green elite luvvie jolly like the last one. And like that it sucked big time whilst not helping me at all in my mission to inspire the public to see environmentally good practice not as a chore, or a guilt-trip or a nanny-duty, but as a bit of collective (we're in this together) fun and often a way to save some money. If I can sneak in a bit of reduction (ie: self-sacrifice), I will try though. Sneaky like that.

Hence to the point that 'poor ratings in the UK and elsewhere for July's Live Earth concert fuelled the internal belief that the public do not like being "lectured to" on climate change', it was hard to see how the new effort was going to improve matters. From the moment I switched on Live Earth the choice of Mr. Ross as presenter, and his musings, along with those 'guests' wheeled in to do the 'I recycle and offset' mantra whilst 'not quite finding it practical to cut back personally, as such' on the trappings only immense wealth and celebrity can bring, I felt most of the messengers were ill serving the message. That a Spice took but one week to go from 'doing it for her baby' to getting a personal private jet (as reported) kinda sealed the notion thereafter. And handed papers (tab and broad of all hues) a blinder that eclipsed most else.

Hence I think we might value again such as one Mr. Geldof's views on just how much more 'awareness' and 'consciousness-raising' of this nature we can cope with. Or the planet afford.

I happen to share the idea that elevated levels of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel burning and land clearance may well be raising temperatures around the world, and believe that clear, honest education, balanced information, example and incentive are the ways to sway public opinion and behaviour to help mitigate it. It is all urgent, so the temptation to cut corners 'for our own good' exists, but in this new media age whatever temporary gain you may get from 'enhanced truth', it will be set back tenfold when it gets caught out. As it does and will.

A ratings fest with a 'green elite only' green room that most outside the jetset and its reporting chums won't be invited to, on top of the last, was not my top choice for the money and logistical expertise that could be brought to bear, sorry.

So to try and plonk me in some group just because I have other, 'not ours' views certainly ain't helping the cause. Argue with me for sure, but only as you also get on and 'do' something real to mitigate or reduce the production of unnecessary green house gasses that doesn't owe more to massive self/career interest. Falling back on invoking a collection of 'ing's', 'ist's' and 'zi's' as the toys don't get put back in the pram won't get me on side one jot.

If, that is, your primary concern really is helping make a better future.


I'd missed this before - No line - the comments are telling. The usual 'tis/t'isn't selective hyperlink quoting BOFDI/GAAC exchanges to be sure, but an awful lot who just don't like to be patronised. I'd have loved to have been here - How green is TV?. The synopsis end line sums it up.


This... sucks: Global warming: Too hot to handle for the BBC - I can live with the line they are taking; that's their prerogative and how I accord value to the paper's place in the debate. But that most of this front page piece was either lifted from the same PR as the BBC version, or lifted from that if it was the originator, is just plain shoddy journalism and editorial. And proves some claims that this is a mantra to be chanted and not an issue to be considered.

My respect for the Indy, and trust that it's MMGW reporting can be viewed in any way as objective, is shot.

It's so depressing. This issue is tearing folk apart, but I have to say that the main culprits are those who thing they know better, will brook no critique, and savage any in the most childish terms if they don't get their way. I would have hoped those genuine in a desire to help save this planet would not so easily find themselves amongst them.

Guardian - Getting the balance wrong - Funny the word 'balance' is used

I had to reply, and hence evolved a prvious post:

At least I can rely on CiF, between the post and a mix of subsequent comments, to try and suss out a bit of balance.

Not so sure about elsewhere.

The text seems to be almost interchangeable with the BBC Online piece:

Where did this originate (I'm presuming the BBC piece) that it is shared so (pretty lazy journalism by the Indy, in which case) between these separate media entities?

I remain less than impressed that any criticism of this particular jolly gets such dismissal as a 'right wing conspiracy', and to try and paint it that way is serving the environmental cause poorly.

There were many, like me, who just didn't feel this was the best way to do it. From the moment I read Ross was top billing, after his and his mates' efforts before, I knew whatever it was about, helping my kids' future was not top of the agenda. And, as noted... it bombed. Badly. I was dubious before, took no pleasure in seeing the fall out, but made a reasoned call on this effort to consider the likely outcome of the next in its planned form, as outlined by those proposing it (who now are throwing a load of toys around with near zero self-analysis of what has taken place, is happening and how they could evolve their strategy to better assist their aims in future).

I have a really vain hope this will not simply turn into an excuse for yet another fruitless slanging match between those who have massive agendas pro and con the notion of MMGW, with selective facts and cited hyperlinks that 'prove' whatever you fancy, and ways to mitigate adverse effects, at the expense of reasoned ways to discuss, move on and DO something that can have an impact that can still work within the current climate of debate... or debate of climate.

Telling me what I am, when I am not, especially in knee-jerk frustration, is not the best way to do it. I'd like to think the BBC made an editorial call on certain pertinent facts of science, life and the media world.... not in response to 'pressure' from boogey men.

I personally think the climate IS changing.

And whatever man is doing, we are not likely to be helping (6 billion and counting folk with improving economies will need to live on something, eat something else and doubtless travel a lot socially and/or professionally to do it all. There has to be a tipping point logically as the area of land and volume of air is finite to cope with such hyperbolic growth and consequent poll... emissions).

Hence, I figure a bit of mitigation, if not reduction is not a bad thing to get on board with now.

However, we live on a mostly free planet with a bunch of connected folk with their own opinions.

So they need to be persuaded. democratically and with balanced argument. Not by telling them they are deluded. And certainly not by patronising them or cherry-picking what they get to decide with, 'for their own good'.

And certainly not by dishing up an already discredited notion to serve a bunch of less than credible messengers to parrot a message that many seem unable to live by example personally, as, 'well, it's not really practical, y'know'.

Then sulking for England when a green room/elite jolly doesn't get the rapturous support expected, and often demanded without question in the name of gr..atings. It may play well with Prius Person, but I didn't see it sway Fiesta Family much. And they need to be invited on board as they are still the majority, don't all have 4x4s, don't live next a tube or all night bus and usually only buy bottled water when they are flooded.

But stuff, for sure, does (I believe) need doing.

So where in all this are the political establishment? Or is the Nu-, and so far highly successful, strategy of saying nothing and being nowhere (save non-controversial or feel-good events), paralysing those voted in to lead, and handle the course of our futures?

Guardian - Impartiality is a turn-off

'...audiences sit up and take notice. If that means more work for Jonathan Ross, then sign the cheque.'

If this is referring to Planet Relief R.I.P, one would rather question the wisdom of pitching it in the first place on the back of the actual results derived in 'making audiences sit up and take notice' (much less acting) that was Live Earth. Anchored, as I recall, by one less than inspiring (by way of example) cheque-cashing celeb.

I rather think the way most of the general public viewed this new green jolly, punted for the exclusive benefit of the luvvies in entertainment-related PR and their media hangers-on, was the reason it died. Not any lack of desire to do right by our kids' futures.

Missing that point puts most crying into their Fairtrade lattes at the loss of yet another 'awareness opportunity' right out of step with the reality most folk face... but are prepared to act upon sensibly to rectify.

I believe the BBC feedback was that most people simply wanted to be better informed. Not told what some feel is good for them.


"(Only fair to say that the Independent was critical of the BBCs decision to drop Planet Relief - they must have felt very let down.)"

Global warming: Too hot to handle for the BBC -

Well, yes. But they did have some things in common:

The BBC climate special decision -

Replete with such choice shared comments as this:

"The only reason why this became an issue is that there is a small but vociferous group of climate 'sceptics' lobbying against taking action.'

Nothing to do with Live Earth being a total bomb, and the new version being pitched imaginatively as a total duplicate, replete with the 'line-up' of celebrity presenters to really get the common folk to empathise with their glowing examples of restraint. So I would suggest there were other reasons, and some of the loudest voices came from those truly concerned with getting consensus on positive, practical actions to mitigate possible catastrophic climate change before any tipping point may be reached. I can live with 'told you so' if I'm wrong for erring on the side of caution. But 'living with' anything may be tricky if such as I get entitled to say it instead.

Finally, if I am right this 'toys out of pram' reaction ignores either feedback or maybe even a poll of viewers to the effect that they'd like to get the facts, ta very much, and not another luvvie green-in to further boost the 'awareness'.

BBC - Relief relief

ADDENDUM - NEW - Planet Relief redux

And the question goes 'Pop' to a resounding sleince again

I make my point by this time being silent (ish): Stop procreating, or the baby gets it

I had finger poised over computer to weigh in when I read this: 'I don't have any bright ideas, either. So, what would you do?'

Stumped. At least in a PC-age where such discussions don't just get you no where, there are 'ist' laws against a lot and 'zi' fingers for the rest to make it 'there be dragon's' territory. Which is why, I suspect, those who might, even some tasked to do so by an electorate expecting leadership, don't fancy 'going there'.

So... aren't plastic carrier bags sooo last year?

Unless I'm missing something

As part of my 'if we have more and more bean-counters being carried by fewer and fewer bean makers...' question, we have: Caution doesn't pay

The public sector is a pretty broad church, and kicking off with underpaid nurses kinda focuses on but one area a tad.

And no matter what looks rosy now, there is the small matter of the pensions kicking in, which as it stands looks like being funded by about six folk actually making stuff and the rest in 'the public sector' and equally well-looked-after quangos assessing, monitoring etc, on their backs.

At which point yes, a well-paid nurse or two may be necessary to handle the fall out... er... down.

Odd to be on the side of Gordon, though.

Well, they asked... about Aunty


The BBC is looking for digital agencies to help it redesign BBC Online to encourage user -generated content and give it a more web 2.0 feel (a.... what!!!?). What should it overhaul?

Well there's the trust thing, see.

Will what content I generate as a user get even acknowledged, much less used? And if it does will it be 'moderated' or edited?

Otherwise, for this content creator, the duck is dead.

And why I tend to reply on places like this rather more than on the BBC (Newsnight blog excepted, so far).

Green is so now, dah'ling.

I don't argue with the statement of the first line to this - Linda Loudermilk Blends Green and Gold - at all: Environmentalism and luxury are recurring themes appearing everywhere from mass fashion to designer brands to exclusive couture collections.

But reading the rest was hard to do without more than the twitch of an eyebrow at all involved in writing such tosh and repeating it without tongues very much in cheeks.

As far as I can assess, almost all to do with “eco-couture” is greencloaking of the highest order.

I, for one, have not before heard of the “Luxury Eco Stamp of Approval” which is “an accreditation given to the top echelon of certain products, services and business processes,” and “involves detailed review of a company’s product, manufacturing processes, energy uses, labor practices, and environmental impacts as well as a product’s aesthetic design and luxury-quality status.” And wonder what its provenance is.


No sooner do I print this, but I get in this (and simply cut 'n paste - my eyebrow twitch above covers it, too, though this is more considered. Though 'looking into' doth not a great leap forward make:) from Her Maj's Govt PR: Starting on the road to sustainable clothing

Representatives from the fashion, clothing, and textile industry as
well as environmental and ethical groups are meeting today for the
first time to look at how they can work with government to improve
the sustainability of clothing throughout its life cycle.

Opening the event, Joan Ruddock, Minister for Climate Change,
Biodiversity and Waste, said:

"Increasingly, consumers really care about the environment and the
social impacts associated with clothing. And clothes, almost more
than any other product, fill magazines and get column inches. Not
only are consumers really getting their teeth into this, but fashion
journalists are increasingly keeping pace with the green game.

"There are plenty of examples of people in the industry already
seeing sustainability as an opportunity, not a threat. There are
people taking an active role in ethical sourcing, designing and
producing clothing throughout the supply chain.

"That's why Defra is aiming to work collaboratively with the clothing
and fashion industry to improve the sustainability of clothing."

Speaking at the event, Katharine Hamnett, one of the industry's most
ethical and environmentally aware designers, said:

"Sustainable clothing doesn't have to be more expensive. It can be
more affordable and it should be more affordable."

Clothing, across its life cycle, generates a range of environmental,
social and economic impacts - with the growth in fast fashion and
consumption being a key factor in this.

In 2006, UK clothing and textiles produced up to two million tonnes
of waste, 3.1 million tonnes of CO2 and 70 million tonnes of waste
water. Clothing imports into the EU as a whole now account for 42
per cent of the global market. In the UK only 10 per cent of our
clothing is manufactured at home, the rest is imported.

Following this event, the clothing and fashion industry will be
invited to be involved in developing the sustainable clothing roadmap
coordinated by Defra. The roadmap examines all stages of clothing's
life cycle (from raw materials to end of life), charts the
environmental and social impacts arising at each stage, and proposes
ways of limiting those impacts where most effective.

Notes to Editors:

1. UK clothing consumption is high at approximately 2 million tonnes
(£23 billion) per annum. For the period 1996-2005, consumer
expenditure on clothing and textiles has grown 34%, with predicted
demand increases.

2. The fast/discount fashion/value clothing sector accounts for one
fifth of the UK market and has doubled its growth during 1999-2006.

3. In 2006, UK clothing and textile impacts included up to 1.5-2
million tonnes of waste, 3.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent and 70
million tonnes of waste water generated.

4. In terms of its economic impact, clothing is a high value sector
globally worth over £500 billion. It contributes to 7% of world
exports and employs approximately 26 million people, supporting a
significant number of economies and individual incomes around the

5. Just 10% of clothing consumed within the UK is manufactured here.
The UK textile and clothing industry is small in comparison to the
global industry, accounting for approximately 0.78% of UK GDP, 3.3%
of UK manufacturing (valued at £9.5 billion) and employing
approximately 170,000.(1)

6. Further information is available here

7. Katherine Hamnett's video address is available here

The value of research

A lot revolves around research. Which probably explains why it is such a vast industry.

And why so many reply upon it to help in what they do. From those with a point to make, to those with ratings to drive up.

On these pages I have quoted some, if usually with a caution as to origins, and methodologies, etc, so let's just say I treat most with a large dose of salt.

That said, Blogger has created a poll function that looks a giggle, so maybe can get in on the act to.

Amongst many considerations, one I may not have mentioned before is how the pollsters vet the answers. All too often, and especially if done by public contribution, and even more so by an online amount of effort, the results must almost inevitably be skewed not just by who gets asked, but who can be bothered (or fund) the time to fill the things out.

Take this one. On the promise of getting the results, I got cracking, and on the first page was fine with some multiple-choice (though I usually hit a wall when none apply and I want to argue that the question sucks) stuff on the environment. But then I hit going through a few score of individuals, giving each a rating, and could not just jump on because a) I didn't know and b) didn't care. So as it expected too much of me I gave up.

I imagine those who are listed there may be more inspired to devote the time, or get others to help.

In which case, what value?

More questions than answers

Not just the Indy (though Cheap Shirts is what prompts this post), in this 'we're listening (but not hearing, much less saying anything if it doesn't suit)' age I often wonder whether the number of questions posed is matched by an equal number of answers.

Sir: We are advised that we can buy polo shirts for our children for school for £1 (Save and Spend, 1 September). Would The Independent also like to advise us where these shirts are made and how much those who make them are paid?

Wine - the barometer of global warming

This from the Arizona Republic, reports on French viticulturists who are harvesting their grape crops ever earlier each year.

"The evidence, scrawled in black ink, is the first day of the annual grape harvest for the past three decades. In 1978, it was Oct. 16. In 1998, the date was Sept. 14. This year, harvesting started Aug. 24 - the earliest ever recorded, not only in Mure's vineyards but in the entire Alsace wine district of northeastern France."

"Throughout the wine-producing world, from France to South Africa to California, vintners are in the vanguard of confronting the impact of climate change. Rising temperatures are forcing unprecedented early harvests, changing the tastes of the best-known varieties of wine and threatening the survival of centuries-old winegrowing regions."

It seems that vines are one of the most sensitive of crops when it comes to even slight temperature increases, and some growers are now having to doctor their wines with acidic compounds to prevent them becoming too sweet.

As the harvesting dates get earlier each year, the barometer that is wine, shows that the climate is indeed warming significantly.

If you want to get people to sign up to a pledge to fight global warming .......

.... offer them a half price Big Mac!

On online offer of a half price McDonald's Big Mac actually brought down a Japanese government website server as thousands tried to fill in the pledge in order to qualify for the offer. As reported by Yahoo News.

"The Japanese unit of the US burger giant Tuesday offered a Big Mac for 150 yen (1.3 dollars), about half the normal price, to anyone demonstrating a commitment to preventing climate change."

"We started seeing a rise in access yesterday and it surged this morning. We are now trying to restore the system."

"It was the ministry's first system crash following a corporate offer related to environmental efforts."

Despite being the home of the Kyoto protocol, the Japanese are well behind their own targets in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, so the government is using tie ups with many businesses offering incentives to get people to sign up to the pledge to reduce their emissions.

I suppose, in some circumstances, every little helps; but, I do wonder, just what is the relative CO2 emission output of a Big Mac?