Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Recycle more.... or...

Warning issued over biodegradable plastics

I know precious little about plastics. I do know a little about science, a fair bit about consumers, and more than I ever want to about the various bodies that 'serve' us.

So in I chip:

As one currently embroiled as a consumer advocate (a little more than a little knowledge and just trying to share what 'we' 'might' know to plan for the future in an informed manner) in a now epic debate that's raging between advocates of composting and Food Waste disposers, this piece piqued my interest.

Because I have long wondered what the poor old consumer is to make of the various reuse and recycling options they have, now all the more complex by things being compostable, biodegradable, etc. Or not. And there seems a real issue here between what goes in a bin and ticks a box and what may or may not actually result in more waste and/or greenhouse gasses.

I really, really... really hope that we will soon see some logical logistical measures put in place by business, government and LAs that will not only work together to help the planet, but also can be shared with the public in ways they can a) understand and b) engage with secure that they are doing what's best.

A lot of principals

As the media are abuzz with 'who stabbed Ming' (and I could care less), today I had a PR from the Green Party about their leadership: GREEN PARTY EXECUTIVE ELECTION RESULTS

As they are, well, greener than most, I think it's worth knowing about.

One interesting point, especially in view of the fun and games the other major parties seem to have with their 'leaders', is that these guys don't have one... er.. any.

However, whilst attractive in some ways, in this 'we are all equal' world, especially when it comes to intellectual firepower, I am trying to get my head around (the need for) a male and female 'principal speaker'. Is one for stag parties and one for hen nights?

I know from bitter experience what a 50/50 split can do for company morale if the principals fall out.

Message from the front


Whale & Chips - Can't fault it/them. More power to this kind of activity, which is where Greenpeace excels.

Shop Local - It's well done, and I guess gets a message across. But from my earliest days it was dinned into me by a succession of CDs that, while fun, devoting the majority of your ad to the negative is often taking the easy, soft and otherwise not so effective option.

OK, so there's an exclusive dig at Tesco (missing me completely as we have the choice of Morrisons or Somerfield). Fair 'nuff. I guess they symbolise the evil empire to many (odd they topped the Climate Brand Index thingie on these pages t'other day, though).

But really what else did I get? Some nice local folk were going to vanish. Tell me about it. Our High Street has more boarded up shopfronts and charity shops than there are actual businesses!

It certainly is not easy. And there are a myriad issues to address, from parking convenience to time pressures to costs (though often local can be cheaper) and the fact that council rates are not exactly helping.

It would be neat to see the sense of fun of this execution being injected into a positive branding message for the quality of the produce and the experience.

I love walking the strip and getting fresh food that tastes 100% better, and all with a cheery bit of personal service taboot.

Trouble is, they don't usually offer this on Sundays, which is often the only day I am free to help with the shopping.

ADDENDUM, thanks to Dave -

Talkingretail.com today reports that Tesco comes out on top of a new 'climate brand index'. This has been launched to track consumer perceptions of how a business is performing in terms of climate change issues.

Interesting to note that BP manages second place.

Me again: Meanwhile..... M&S, Sainsbury's and Waitrose top green supermarkets study

Road pricing plans to disappear?

Well, if this from today's Telegraph turns out to be correct, it rather seems that Ol' Golden is dropping yet another of Uncle Tone's flagship policies like a hot potato.

Mind you, any in government who chose to totally ignore the views of >1.8 million people would have to be rather thick-skinned, to say the least.

When the back story does matter

Recent events in the world of climate optimism/pessimism have made an already volatile situation rather toxic.

As one who is immersed in it all more than most, and indeed more than might be wise for mental health, I personally feel few on either 'side' comes out of this well, but two posts from Real Climate today do give pause for thought on the processes at work that shape one's views.

First up, there's The “Have you stopped beating your wife yet (yes/no)” questionnaire

I have a definite interest in who is stirring the pot, so this kind of manipulation with a view to the next headline sets up alarm bells. How often does one get the back story in some media more keen on what makes a nifty headline?

I also note that these guys are pretty set on MMGW as a given and I need to respect that, but I have to say the discussion around the Qu2 was almost as convoluted as the question was/is loaded. Sadly I came away still feeling that there are two sets of agendas essentially driving to 'proving' two sets of start points. One could argue it doesn't matter who or what or what balance is causing CC, but in light of the obvious interest groups that exist and how they will pounce on weaknesses in the other 'sides' argument, I still maintain it's best to stick with what cannot be faulted and work away with that. I can live with Man worsened climate change as still a highly motivational rally to STOP MAKING THINGS WORSE.

Next, there's Convenient Untruths

Now this is still highly topical and worthy of analysis, and if nothing else seems to indicate that we, the consumer (and, I guess, blog posters), need to make note of the importance of "quote marks" or, possibly (with my Dell keyboard not working 100% with my Mac), 'quote marks', which can seem to turn meanings through 180, 270 or indeed 360 degrees of interpretation.

I'm sorry, but there is something seriously astray in our communications if it has come to this!

But hey ho, to get to the 'truth', er, "truth" it seems one must acquire the skill sets to read between lines and now above and below them too. And this in matters of law!

Assuming it to be true (and I can't imagine these guys, with their dedication to the professionalism of science would not be), this brought me up short: '...the judge's characterisation of the 9 points is substantially flawed. He appears to have put words in Gore's mouth that would indeed have been wrong had they been said (but they weren't)'. But then I am a tad confused by the word 'appears' in there, which puts us straight back into areas of 'well what is it?' again.

The 9 points are worth viewing, and indeed reviewing as they invite additions, though I still question whether all this still suggests a bit of a bodge job and patch up to bring something to our kids which really didn't seem worth it for the result. At least in light of all the negatives that it attracted. And only an adult scientist with a very rosy view of education could be happy that all this would now be discussed to any degree of satisfaction in a school room. In fact, from chatting with my kids, who get most of their 'news' from snippets on TV or headlines in the newsagents, more of the talk would need to be explaining why AIT is not some daffy treehugger fiction, which it assuredly is not. However, the point is well made by a poster that at least it has all created enough 'awareness' (that word again) to keep the thing top of mind.

However, as seen here, many of the negatives thrown up are possibly the construct of those with an interest (gawd knows what) in suppressing any notion of MMCC, or the preferred semantic distinction (we all have them) that I still adhere to (if only to allow some wiggle room should nature be shown to be having a significant influence no matter what 'we' do) of Man-worsened climate change. It's just such a pity that there is still no objective source I feel I can rely on to give me what I need to arrive at anything like a valid view on it all yet.

But the fact remains that 'we' need to use less and make more of what we have. I just hope those simple facts don't get lost in the wash.... um... spin cycle.