Saturday, October 27, 2007

Corporal Fraser would be proud, I tell ye... proud!

It's half-time - and we're already 3-0 down

Tricky things, dilemmas.

It cannot have escaped most folks' notice that quite an industry has sprung up around the whole planet saving (from itself) thing.

What I am not so sure is that the balance is right between those doing vs. those talking, especially when it comes to the media talking about those doing the talking.

And it's throwing up a small problem. Facts are nice things to hang a headline on. Especially when they have dates attached.

Trouble is, if you are in the business of persuasion (no matter how sincere), once you commit to one you are kinda bound by the consequence.

So all this 'we're all doomed' stuff is causing me a slight problem. Tell it as it is, or as it might be, and risk the rather obvious deleterious consequence of going past a stated point of no return and hence rather logically acknowledging the point that there is... um... no point trying any more.

Or perhaps simply focus more on all sorts of nifty, proactive, incentive-driven, reward-based ways to get people on aboard with doing better by the planet because they want to and feel like it as opposed to scare stories, guilt-trips, fines, nags and all the other stuff that has worked sooooo well to now. Puts a lot of folk in cushy little numbers plugging those notions, from activists to target-driven pols and quangos to carbon-trading suits to....etc, out of business, but I could live with that at a pinch.

Tricky, eh?

The positives are out there. It's just it doesn't make for a good career in media to report them. So most don't. Yet still get paid well for it.

Hitler. Stalin. Pol Pot. Farmer Giles

Biofuels 'crime against humanity'

And yes, before you can cry 'rapeseed', the headlines have taken an issue worthy of consideration and elevated it to the level of the Judgement of Nuremberg.

Oo, 'eck. There's a point in there, but golly is this the way to make it?

Glad I didn't opt for the Saab biodiesel now. Actually, opt isn't quite the word. In fact the words 'couldn't afford' are more like it.

Anyway, yesterday the old Volvo was serviced and passed with flying colours. 11 years old, tuned to perfection, tyres at right inflation, etc.

What was interesting was a certificate I got 'for when plod stops me to do an emissions check' (it clears me, and passes the buck to the garage, at least for 6 months). Seems that beyond the MOT, you can get hauled up and have a probe stuck up your pipe. And if you fail... £80 on the spot. Nice that the priorities are again tip top.

Maybe when they stop the joyrider with no tax, insurance or MOT they can get 'em on a dodgy tune job. That'll hit 'em where it hurts... their pride.

Indy - Ditto

PROF'S POSER - Paper Cuts

This is one I'd been pondering awhile, and have been tilted to pose following a reader post about recycled book stock.

It certainly should be prefaced with a LiKADaT (little knowledge is a dangerous thing - all together now in a good Italian accent: 'Jus' a likeadat!') tag!

Let's start with the down sides of what I think I know.

Getting virgin paper needs trees. And energy. You have got to cut 'em down, munch 'em up, tidy it all with chemicals and then lay it out and stuff. That means where once there was a tree there isn't any more, and a wadge of CO2 is produced, and a load of water (I think) consumed just to get to the raw stock (we're ignoring logistics of printing and distribution, say, versus a PDF).

Getting recycled paper needs old paper. And energy. And, I believe, quite a few chemicals, too. And for some reason or other, it all costs a lot more, though the gap is closing. But what it doesn't do is consume new trees.

But.... and as I am oft minded to say, it's a big one.... here's my poser: is the former quite as bad as made out, enviROI+wise? Especially in comparison to the latter?

I am set on this trail by the logic, ironically, of offsetting. In simplistic (and now more often than not less practiced) terms it has been sold as good for the planet in the form of planting a tree, which will grow and act as a carbon sink.

So I guess my poser would be whether one could view using virgin paper, so long as it is derived from properly managed forests (and I need to sort out my FSC-certified from my stewardship-thingie. I'm guessing there are as many schemes and logos to confuse as any other e-industry), as logically being an encouragement of good environmental practice? If so, in fact the perverse logic of projection would be that using more paper from such sources is actually even better, as it promotes the planting and tending of forests to full term as opposed to say, a bio-diesel field.

Just how does it compare to recycled which, if one accepts where I am going with the above (which is in the form, at present, of a question I stress!!!) actually seems to be rather stuck in a cycle of energy consumption from collection to reprocessing. And no new trees going up taboot.

I guess ignoring the latter, a key factor in weighing them is the amount of CO2 that gets from raw material (tree vs. waste paper) to new stock. With a few pollutant nasties factored in too, but in another enviROI- tick box, which makes comparison more tricky.