Thursday, September 27, 2007

Don't have a cow, man

Go back to your roots

Personally I'd do a little bit less predatory award-prowling via cheap and easy negative (which is what I think most 'Charity' ads are grasping for in blowing budgets) executions and try and earn one's keep (and maybe make a difference) by selling the positives.

The PETA ad is on the way, but personally I'd need to be persuaded that not succumbing to the exhortations of Beefy and Lamby did not involve a cow's exhaust (I believe it's their burps that are the culprit) when thinking of food, eating nut cutlets and being a shrew. Being married to a Chinese wok-mistress I know it can work when the option is served up in a way to make me actually want to bite.

There's also the small recognition that nature made most of us omnivores. So one needs to work with the design constraint rather than ignoring it.

ps: reuse and not cutting down forests in the first place are much better than recycling or planting trees if you're not into the reduction thing, in which case also try insulation, insulation, insulation. Trust me, I work with, and they know all about waste and rubbish ideas when they see 'em.

Show me where the money goes

Nothing like an opportunity to air the notion of enviROI as a worthy measure of an initiative's actual value to the planet: No lectures from Tesco

So when Tesco was advertised as funding green efforts to the tune of £25M we took note of those who took note.

I think first one has to get past the notions of supermarkets being part of 'the' problem. Whatever they are, they are here to stay, so that aspect of the discussion seems unproductive. And, as again evidenced here, there seems to be a requirement that you either in a pro or anti camp at the extremities. No middle ground allowed.

The question to me is what is going to be done with/for the money, and will it be worth what's spent... and in what terms. My kids' futures? Or other benefits less connected to that (to me) essential aim.

So I look forward to more consideration on these whenever anyone feels ready.

Plus ca (climate) change

Yay! Another one: Bush hosts climate change talks

Representatives from Australia, Britain, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the US will attend.

I wonder who? Or they all not attending each other's meetings these days to avoid actually doing anything? The Gordon Swerve approach, it seems, from tinpot dictators to balls of fire. Bet he'd be there in a heartbeat if it was Jose's 'The Special One Returns' gig. That's when you really need to know one's leader is on the case.

Dilbert, as ever, nails it.

Grist seems to agree - You Really Can't Have Too Many Meetings

Or have another - Treehugger - Reporting Live From the Clinton Global Initiative

Guardian - Europeans angry after Bush climate speech 'charade'

Guardian - Untransparent charity - 'There was a pretty fundamental problem with the third annual Clinton Global Initiative: the lack of transparency.' Hmmmn.

BBC - Bush climate plans spark debate

Economist - Warming to the environment? - 'Countries that did not openly criticise America’s stance seemed to be sending a message through the loftiness of the representatives that they sent to the respective get-togethers. Whereas the UN’s meeting had been overrun by presidents, prime ministers and even the odd monarch, Mr Bush was only able to entice ministers, advisers and bureaucrats to his. A vice-minister of state led China’s delegation. Italy sent someone with the title “sous-sherpa” Two of the 17 delegations showed up late for the opening session'

AWARD - Saatchi World Changing Ideas Award

This is from the always worth subscribing to and reading (if you're creatively inclined), creativematch:

: Due tomorrow!
WHAT: World Changing Ideas Award
WHAT... MORE?: The global award, formerly known as the Saatchi & Saatchi Award for Innovation in Communication, is made biennially by Saatchi & Saatchi. The Award attracts an incredibly broad range of entries and was created to recognise brilliant thinking, to bring it to the world’s attention and to reward the most outstanding innovation with a prize worth $100,000. Submissions are welcome from innovators around the world, from individuals, academic institutions, charitable foundations and companies, right up to global corporations.
Ideas may be scientific, linguistic, artistic, technological. They may be hi-tech, lo-tech or no-tech. Ideas may be in prototype, the finished thing or merely a compelling concept.
COMMENTS: Ahhh... the downside. This award is deadlined tomorrow, yet was advised of and broadcast by a major creative site yesterday. And getting through to the awards site is a challenge in itself, as is the site. A lot of Flash between you and the info you need. And having expressed interest.... nothing. I have tried to email and call, but no one is getting back. I actually think it is a test of persistence pretending to be a competition.

But for even a sniff at $100k I'll give it my best shot:)

ADDENDUM 11.15am 28/09 - Well, persistence pays. I have tracked down a person, Norma Clark, on 0207 636 5060, at S&S, who is the coordinator. Didn't get her of course, but a nice young lady is sending me a pack. Leaving me... not very long.

Strike a light 2

Just had this from HMG: Energy guzzling lightbulbs phase out to start next year

And why not indeed?

I do however note this '... will start disappearing from shop shelves...' is followed by the words 'voluntary initiative', so fingers crossed. It's major 'DO' I can only see as significant.

And while Mr. Been is right to point out that 'there are many more energy hungry gadgets on sale in shops that waste too much energy', it's perhaps not just for those he mentioned to take action alone.

And while on energy saving light bulb 'can' last up to 10 times longer than a non-efficient version, I think the public needs to have more in support of ensuring what they are told is what is delivered.

The rest of the piece has the same thing said about six similar ways by various talking heads, so it's nice to know our money isn't wasted on make-weights. I reprint the most useful Editor's notes here (with a few of my own on them):

1. The Government has proposed, as an illustrative schedule for the phase out of inefficient lamps, that retailers might want to follow:

* By January 2008, cease replacing stock of all inefficient (General Lighting Service, GLS) A-shaped incandescent lamps of energy rating higher than 100W (predominantly 150W lamps).

* By January 2009, cease selling all inefficient GLS A-shaped lamps of energy rating higher than 60W (predominantly 150W lamps, 100W lamps, plus some 75W lamps)

* By January 2010, cease selling all GLS A-shaped lamps of efficacy of energy rating higher than 40W (predominantly 60W lamps)

* By 31 December 2011, cease selling all remaining inefficient GLS A-shaped lamps and 60W "candle" and "golfball" lamps. (predominantly 40W and 25W A-shaped GLS bulbs, and 60W candles and golfballs).

At the moment, candles and golfballs, tungsten halogen lamps and lamps supplied with non-lighting electrical appliances are expected to remain on sale, because suitable energy-efficient alternatives do not currently exist. Really? I have eco-versions of almost all mentioned here.

2. The following retailers support this initiative: ASDA, B&Q, The Co-operative Group, Home Retail Group (Argos and Homebase), IKEA, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Tesco, Waitrose, Wickes, Woolworths, British Retail Consortium, Association of Convenience Stores and the British Hardware Federation. It is also being promoted (how?) through the major energy companies as part of their activities through the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT).

6. Defra launched its ActOnCO2 carbon calculator as a public trial version on 20 June. There have been over 300,000 visits so far. That's less than we get in 3 months... after how much spent? And what is a 'visit'? And what actaul enviROI+ result over a box ticked did the planet gain for the money?

Indy - Benn announces phasing out of all high-energy bulbs
Guardian - Lights out for traditional bulbs by 2012 - You heard it here, well, 3rd

Guardian - Ban the bulb? - Of more interest

More power to you (excuse the pun).

However, I would also like to flag up the not so small matter of long-life as well as low-energy. A lot of consumers are, not surprisingly, failing to see these as often mutually exclusive, though obviously complementary.

I know from personal experience the perils of being seduced by a price that is 'too good to be true' and seeing the thing go pop way before lifespan.

The best thing I've found is to keep receipts and note the installation date on the base. Few retailers can argue with this in seeking a replacement.

I think this from Grist is worth a giggle at the 'efforts' of this government and its minsters:

Socket to Us
Britain will phase out incandescent light bulbs

Britain announced a voluntary initiative today that will phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs in the country by 2011. Officials predict that phasing in compact fluorescent lights will keep up to 5.5 million tons of carbon dioxide a year out of the atmosphere. Brilliant! "Britain is leading the way in getting rid of energy-guzzling light bulbs and helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint," said Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, apparently forgetting that Australia actually led the way (and its legislation was mandatory, cough cough.) Could the U.S. be next to see the light?

Guardian - How long will they fob us off with lightbulbs?

Interesting to read this and then pop over to an article and see what one Labour MP has had to say about the 'success' of the grants system.

My question is what are the costs of administering these schemes vs. the amounts actually committed to DOING anything that makes a tangible difference.

Indy Letters - Worries about low-energy bulbs

Why not encourage manufacturers to develop more energy-efficient bulbs? General Electric, for instance, announced that it will release an improved incandescent bulb in 2009.

I'd nver really thought of the mercury aspect. The GE initiative looks interesting.

Indy - More on


Well, I hope you will feel that's the case!

I pretty much live on this blog. For one thing there's a lot coming in each minute to comment upon, but also Google has a wadge of wonga to throw around that has made its interface really, really... really easy. And new toys appear weekly. Pictures, audio, polls...

Sadly, while's main site is a design masterpiece, its back-end is steam driven, and until I get help I am sadly leaving a lot that could and should be up there for when I can afford or get supported with help to post the HTML bits to help make what I write look as spiffy there as it can here.

And as I write blog posts, I've just realised that all manner of stuff comes in. Press releases, competitions, conference advisories, etc. And to now I have tended to file away and hope to get to them... which I usually don't.

So I am planning now to create categorise and forms on this blog that reflect the simple facts I have been given so they are at least posted and shared in a timely manner.

I doubt there will be much by way of commentary, but you know I can't resist the odd thought (and they can be very odd). But, as always, I would caution viewing such things always very much 'as supplied'.

These will be filed in the post labels using a selection of the main site categories as follows Junkk - [Category], usually with the name and a few other useful pointers attached to help if you are searching.

Hope it works and is useful. The tastier ones will also get an outing in the newsletter, when I get round to that!

ps: And if anyone would like to help me get the on-site archive up-to-date and usefully in complement, feel free to get in touch!


What would be a BIG HELP would be to use our templates to help me help you if you'd like your PR to go up quickly. Here's one for EVENTS (there are others for AWARDS, etc, on site):


FIELD: Enviro, Biz, AD, etc
WHEN: Date, time
WHAT: Event title
WHAT... MORE?: A few more key details
WHERE: Postcode is always helpful to search
WHO: Speakers (Note: Here at Junkk we also do weddings, Bar Mizvahs:)
HOW: Much. We prefer free, naturally.
URL: Your www. here
COMMENTS: This is for us... we know things

CONFERENCE - Biofuels, Newark Notts, 17-18 Oct

MONTH - Next

FIELD: Enviro-related
WHEN: 17-18 Oct, time N/K
WHAT... MORE?: A presentation on the role of biofuels in agriculture. A display
of the brand's products will feature prominently outside the
venue, showing a selection of New Holland machinery that can
run on 100% biodiesel, while a team of specialists will be on
hand to give delegates the latest information on the use of
biodiesel in agricultural equipment.
WHERE: Newark, Notts
COMMENTS: It's a sponsored event, so a caution on objectivity

This is posted 'as provided' as a new blog feature.

Who's in charge

I am personally uninspired and professionally constrained enough to have no real political affiliations, such that my greater allegiance is to the Currently Can't Reasonably Really Abide Any Party Party.

However, I do care a lot on how we are run, and those who would claim to be doing so. Which means currently there is one mob more than any other in my sights. As has been noted here before, it's a lot more effective to be in power and doing than out of it and talking. Especially to those of us lacking in patience on certain issues.

So, even though it was naught to do with the environment, I felt motivated to weigh in a tad having seen a Newsnight the other night that left me less than impressed with our Government and national broadcaster: British investment in Burma

As this 'discussion' 'unfurls' (or, possibly more accurately, oozes to oblivion), I am I supposed to be getting nearer to some clue to what's going on? If so that's no thanks to the Political Leadership of this country or the national broadcaster. What a team!

If this is how we are being represented at government level in matters of explanation and negotiation involving Foreign Affairs I think I'd best start building a bunker. And if this is how the competence of those entrusted with our country's future are to be effectively challenged to explain themselves, I guess I'll... um... what can I do, again?

Other than the half dozen left or so who might be so inclined to look back in archive, this whole mess will be lost, leaving any with some memory of the original exchange still in deep confusion and disappointment.

Whatever happened to professionalism? We had a pol who could barley restrain his loathing of all in front of him (beside camera and at 'tother end) as inconveniences to the grand plan (Version 2. Version 1 now deleted, and WE MUST NOT FORGET IT), and a celebrity interviewer who could barely restrain his loathing of that fact.

Sorry, no, that’s wrong. Neither did restrain anything, barely or otherwise. Save getting and offering enlightenment on topic.

They just let egos rip, with truth and clarity and respect for the electorate and viewership flying out of the window. And I bet now the principals can blame various unidentified minions for letting them down, and the whole thing can whizz off on a distracting tangent leaving the actual issue unaddressed and many questions hanging. Way to go guys!

Is this how we are now to be (micro)managed? An authority figure appears on air and appears to know nothing and commit to less. Then a spat ensues that solves nothing, leaving us to be drip fed undebated sound bites subsequently, to pick up on a website if we can find them?

And while I find it hard to imagine how a few score of those who do stay with such as these blog pages can really be worth the effort, it is proving a trial trying to pick around the stuff that is getting lobbed in here by the spinners at the expense of some worthy comment and attempt at debate.

There are what could be press releases drafted by spin doctors on both sides, masquerading as ‘Joe Public', and now a new quirk, the spoiler. These are the quite frankly bizarre ramblings that are either designed to discredit one side (by association) or the other (by being too obviously designed that way). Or, most likely, simply the process. Sadly this is a moderated blog's (and I recognise the necessity here) greatest weakness. I'm now seeing those who would seek to deliberately get moderated just to raise doubts as to the objectivity of the totality.

Are we really at a point where those theoretically in charge and/or representative of our interests are so irrelevant in comparison to those we can’t see (or vote for/against)? Especially when they see their mission as being to pull any strings necessary to have things simply being seen to be done as they see fit?

While of some value, that's why blogs (and most editable print) can never compare to live, streamed, noddy-free broadcast. Until now. As all parties seem to have found a way to render even this meaningless.


BBC - Newsnight - Online analysis

Reading my previous post, looking at what happened subsequently (not much) I reckon I was not far off.

nteresting. A full six posts since Thursday at time of writing (Saturday pm - assuming this makes it), and one set are duplicates.

The country's Foreign Minister and one of the more significant broadcast interviewer/celebs on one of the few significant national broadcast news shows pretty much lock horns on key matters of fact and the viewer at the time is left bewildered as to what is going on and who knows and/or is doing what.

But fear not, all is to be clarified later on the website.

Now I know out of 60Million there are only so many who can vote and/or care about the state of the country and/or stay up that late (or catch it next day online) to watch a news show, and only a fraction of that audience care enough for sometimes a good 20 to pile in and engage on a blog.

But out of so many protagonists, 5 viewers so far on the only discussion board about the follow-up would seems to indicate that, as media milestones go, it surely ain't that great a poster child for politics or the way it gets reported upon and/or viewed these days.

A pipe dream?

..... or a possible means of fixing more CO2 out of the atmosphere?

Following on from the iron filings idea, this from James Lovelock and Chris Rapley suggests building hundreds of thousands of massive vertical pipes in the oceans. Each pipe would have a one way valve at the bottom so that wave action near the top would draw nutrient rich water up from the ocean depths, providing a spur to more algal growth, which it turn will fix more CO2 from the atmosphere.

The full article is reported in New Scientist.

Just one little snaglet might be the fact that "as well as being rich in nutrients, water rising up the pipes will be rich in carbon - this could mean CO2 is released into the atmosphere."

Oh well, it sounded like a good idea at first.

ADDENDUM (from Junkk Male) - Guardian - How sea tubes could slow climate change

Yes, I suppose they 'could'. But as mans's meddling with nature is not quite working out at a success rate that's enviable, maybe it's more down to whether they 'should'.

TELEGRAPH - James Lovelock's plan to pump ocean water to stop climate change