Monday, October 29, 2007

Bums and seats (I'm the former)

A little while ago I was asked by our local enviro-community group, EnviroAbility, if I could help them with some design work for a new service, rather entertainingly called 'Take A Pew".

Basically it is a furniture reuse project that aims to place reclaimed custom-prepared church pews in new homes. Once it is fully up and running I'll be sharing more on it, both here and on the main site.

I am happy to say that my design was liked and accepted, and even more so that the strapline suggested was too. Shows there is a thick vein of fun still to be found in secular parts!

I wish them well and will do all I can to help. It was great fun, and the results, I hope, are, and will be, worth it.

AWARDS - MediaGuardian Innovation Awards

WHEN: By Friday, 2 Nov
WHAT: MediaGuardian Innovation Awards
WHAT... MORE?: Blurb: If you, your company, or your colleagues have taken part in a truly innovative, forward-thinking project this year or if you’ve pushed the boundaries or pioneered a different way of thinking then you could triumph at the awards ceremony at the O2 arena in March 2008. The MediaGuardian Innovation Awards are open to media owners, clients, agencies and individuals in the UK and feature a high-profile panel of judges from many disciplines and backgrounds who will work hard to select the worthiest winners. If you’ve been part of something that deserves recognition, get your entry in now. But hurry, this is the last call for entries.

HOW MUCH: There's the rub. Not cheap (well to me). £200 + VAT per category. And I could easily enter half a dozen.

: I was going to blow it out, but getting, and RE:tie, and what we're trying to do in front of some heavy hitters judging-wise is tempting. But oh lord, how can you trust it even gets to them?

And that's all we have time f..

I'll be brief. I have seen some pieces that put the state of government in sharp contrast. This is a small but telling piece on the state of our media: Today for ever

It's actually in the Times' Radio review section, when frankly I think it should be the front page. Especially as 'Today remains the indispensable soundtrack to all that activity for some 6m people.' That's 10% of the population. Or half who vote... ish.

And I do see, and express real frustration at its weakness. No, not everything can be covered in three minutes. And if it cannot, it should not be attempted. Or excused.

It's big. It's not so bad. Is it?

Airbus A380 - the complete guide

All I could do was wonder how many media outlets that spend a % of their time (and sincerity) on climate change were on board, simply being taken for a ride. Like their readers.

Recommended maximum alcohol intake

figures issued 20 years ago were numbers that were scientifically ............. plucked entirely out of thin air!

OK, so this is neither eco nor enviro, but it is another example of hogwash 'targets' being set without any scientific basis whatsoever, and then being used to bash the man in the street into changing his habits. See TimesOnline.

Me, I think I'll go along with the World Health Organisation figures, they look much more realistic! Anyone fancy a pint after work?

'Ah did not have relations with them honours'

In light of the words vs. actions of those who would govern us, this is worth sharing: Aha, the getaway map for anyone planning a cash for honours caper

Times - A sharp little piece of honesty getting under Whitehall’s skin

I'm about ready for a 'why don't the public trust us/engage with politics' chestbeat any time soon.

Oh, then there's this: Brown rewards the PC brigade, not the diligent

Gosh, I am sooo glad I'm trying to found my own business using my savings.

Trust me, I'm your leader. I know stuff.

The words of the then Environment Minister still resonate as I read this: Eat your words, all who scoff at organic food

So, who do we believe now? On anything?

All I am sure of is that the organic counter at the local supermarket will be doing a nice new surge of custom.

Times - Official: organic really is better - Depends rather on which official, mind

Guardian - Organic's better. Admit it

The Hummer H2...Oh

Mass-market hydrogen car is ready to roll

I always have to start these critiques with 'but I do like the idea of hydrogen'.

Two things. The car may be ready to roll. Getting the fuel into the car in any way that saves the planet... less so.

Plus, let's not forget that car makers don't really want us to travel any less. And whichever way you cut it, it's the travelling that uses the fuel that is simply energy that has to be created somehow.... that, for now, means CO2.

But it's a nice thing to look at for the future. Just let's be careful with the zero emissions claims, eh?

Times - Fuel cells drive into the future -

Times - Up, up and away – the hydrogen car is here

RE:PAIR - Car bodywork dings

Another Aunty sent me this; this time all the way from Singapore.

It was a video, but I'm too tight to gobble up several Meg on Google cache, so you get just a frame. Ain't brain surgery.

Now, there are a few caveats. I have no clue where you get dry ice. And it looks dangerous if the thickness of that glove is anything to go on.

Plus it may not work, but seemed to on the video (like those are always true). Certainly I can see who creating localised colling would pull the metal tighter.

Call this one a 'possible'. I'll await confirmation before putting it on site.

One good turn...

How do you resist someone who writes to say how nice your site is... and would you mind helping her help others get on TV?

Well, you don't (plus it looks like a nifty show - just watch out for what is said will be shot, what is shot... and what ends up on the cutting room floor).

Karma, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Climate change bill to be 'stronger'?

Every now and then something the government does surprises me, and this is no exception. The original draft climate change bill has been out for public consultation since last March, something that almost inevitably results in a major watering down of the proposed measures.

But, as reported in the Guardian this afternoon, in this case not; the amended proposals have actually come back with the recommendations potentially strengthened!

For example, they are now talking about including the emissions from the aviation and shipping industries (and quite right too!), and "the revised bill also raises the possibility of raising the emissions reductions further". (Oh, that's spoiled it a little for me, there's that word 'possibility' again.)

"The bill will make the UK the first country to put reducing carbon emissions into law. The bill, to be published next month, will put a legal duty on the government to cut emissions by at least 60% by 2050".

Well, let's see, if we cannot meet the 20% from renewables by 2020, I see it getting rather more difficult to meet a target of reducing ALL emissions by 60% by 2050. But then, of course, this lot won't be in power, and it will be a different government who has to meet (or, of course, lower to something that is achievable) that historically set target.

The proposed bill now also includes for some statutory powers for local councils to "pilot incentives for household waste minimisation and recycling." As reported by And, yes, you've guessed correctly, what that almost certainly means is the introduction of pay as you throw schemes.

However, the statement "Any new schemes must be revenue neutral and should not lead to an increase in the overall cost to local residents." rather fills me with dread. In my experience, 'revenue neutral' normally means I finish up paying more for the same services!

Addendum 2:
There is now a useful Q&A section on the climate change bill in the Guardian too.

IDEA - SpagScale

Having been prodded to do what I really should more (ie: what I'm good at, making stuff down me shed), I have at last added this to the site.

Interesting, but...

I know there's a certain irony in this ad banner being on my site unpaid, let alone at all but hey-ho. Maybe it will be next year's winner?

Any Rowan & Martin Laugh-inophiles out there? I give you: Honda Racing F1 takes top accolade at Green Awards

I haven't gone to and through, it all yet, but this time there can be no sense of unsweetened grapes 'cos this year we didn't enter. The small matter of what won last year being 'odd' (to this ex creative-judge adman) and the more major fact that our money was taken to then have two sets of categories subsequently 'amalgamated'. So our modest concept found itself judged against mega-£ quango-funded monsters (who probably have a staffer to enter such things, paid with...?). No change there then, though it looks they +/- £100k categories stayed this time.

And, so, of all the things to laud, it was... an F1 car. All seen that have we? Noted and acted? Reappraised you relationship with F1 have we? Bernie? I'm sure it will stand out well in Singapore as they race all night under burning arc lamps.

'The judging panel awarded the Grand Prix to the campaign which it believed exemplifies an outstanding environmental message and has the greatest capacity to raise awareness among the general public.' I beg to differ. Or, if so, the rest must have been woeful (as always, it will be interesting to see what the comparisons were/are - more often than not you don't get to see).

Apparently, if 1% of fans who follow Formula 1 were to switch to energy saving light bulbs, according to a Honda spokesperson, the resulting energy savings would mitigate the emissions produced over three seasons by Honda's racing team. Or... if you drive a Volks Bluemotion you can use 25,000 plastic bags. But whatever you do, don't stop driving guys! And fast!

As to the rest, I hope you remember them well and were persuaded to act. Were you?

ADDENDUM - Winners - shame we can't see 'em. I'm sure linking to their sites will get you there.

Best Press Advertisement under 100k : Sustrans
Best Press Advertisement over 100k: DEFRA
Best Radio Advertisement: Capital Radio
Best Outdoor Advertisement: Transport for London
Best Website: The Carbon Trust
Best New Media: ECOutlet
Best Direct Mail: Worcestershire County Council - they won last year. Wonder what this one was?
Best Use of Copy: Stop Climate Chaos
Best use of Art Direction: London Borough of Islington
Best CSR Report: The Guardian
Best Internal Communications under 100k: MCM Architecture
Best Internal Communications over 100k: Marks & Spencer - internal... over £100k!
Best Audio Visual under 100k: Stop Climate Chaos
Best Audio Visual over 100k: Central Office of Information and DEFRA
Best Packaging Design: Greenbottle Ltd
Best PR campaign under 100k: Radio Taxis
Best PR Campaign over 100k: Honda
Best Integrated Campaign under 100k: London 21
Best Integrated Campaign over 100k: British Sky Broadcasting

Media Week - Big ads pick up green awards

Times - Bernie Ecclestone holds £10m garage sale

Guardian - Strictly Come Dancing: what would John Stuart Mill make of it? - I pop this in simply to show that even the notion of the 'popular' vote has its limitations. Actually, mixing 'professional' judges with the public seems now to be about as bad a combo as you can get. If only because as a contestant you cannot opt on a strategy that can be directed to please both, and hence will likely fall between the two.

Weather, climate and man inter-related? Never!

A fascinating lightning image I was sent over the weekend by one of my colleagues was a real eye-opener!

And, just for fun, here's a link to a video on You Tube which argues that inaction is not a viable option on climate change. Quite persuasive!

Painting into corners before building the room

I just saw this and saw red: More heat than light

We cannot allow institutions like the World Bank to impose ill-conceived carbon-based energy reforms on developing nations.

Not so much with what was being said, but the presumption of the way it was laid out, and how that played with me and hence mmight with others... such as those who may well need to be persuaded to rethink.

Whatever the merits (or not) of the subsequent piece and its arguments, I would have to opine that anything that starts 'We cannot allow...' rather sets up a few issues of sensible negotiation practice.

Such as who the heck is 'we'? And who put 'you/(or is it presuming...)us' in charge? And in what way are 'we' in a position to 'allow' anything? And doesn't it all rather suggest a mindset that is 'our way is the only way' which doesn't establish a very helpful basis to effect change?

I'll go read it now.

Yet another 'green' quango?

According to the Guardian, Hilary Benn, now of DEFRA, is looking at creating yet another government advisory service to inform citizens just how to 'green' their homes.

They are going "to create a one-stop "green homes service", making it easier for householders to change their lifestyles by offering advice, installation services and loans for equipment such as solar panels".

Now isn't that pretty much the identical remit that the Energy Savings Trust already has? On top of them we have Low Carbon Buildings, ActOnCo2, Blue Skies, the BRE, the Carbon Trust, Sustainable Development Gov. and Envirowise, as well as multiple regional and local council initiatives.

Sorry, but I can help feeling that this is just yet another example of something that our government can shout about - 'look what we've created to help out' - that is simply replicating exactly what's gone before, and achieving, well, probably, absolutely nothing! Not to mention creating another raft of civil servant, gilt-edged pensioned jobs-worth roles, controlled by a set of meaningless and ever changing targets, where promotion is earned and rewards are granted for doing sod all, and where 90% of the funding goes on staff, administration and internal projects!

Everything is talk, quangos, advisory services and waffle.
Where the hell is the DOING?

Even the civil servants themselves reckon the government is failing on climate change!

And, "half-hearted measures are as dangerous as the 1930s appeasement of Hitler".

Addendum (Junkk Male) - When in doubt (and having screwed up with what you have already), hire more: MPs in call for new climate body BBC

Light weights

Light bulbs - making the switch

davenorfolk - Anyone have suggestions for other useful uk sites on the same subject?

If you are into reuse as a positive, proactive notion you may fancy

For complements to the light ideas of this thread, there's such as this:

Plus discussion, too. I am grateful to the share of the sust-it site.

There may be one already, but when it comes to listings and comparisons, on low-energy I am keen to find an easy to weigh long-life measures, too.

I find a lot of shops will sell something that seems a good deal but serves pockets and planet poorly by blowing within months.

So far the key is to write the date of installation on the body and point out the maths of the lifespan to the retailer if they fail well before time. Not ideal, but may encourage a move to better standards of reliability which will also help the global enviROI of the industry too.