Friday, November 02, 2007

Its enough to make you itch!

It looks as if ticks and fleas are making a big comeback in the UK, and the blame is being laid firmly at the door of climate change. See this from Environment Times.

Now why does simply reading about fleas and their ilk make you itch? I'm off for a good scratch!

Carbcon Diet

This time it's personal

Will carbon allowances for individuals - with credits and penalties - cut carbon emissions? A growing movement thinks so.

Meanwhile this personal movement of one is not so sure, or at least that it will be fair and effective.

However, I perk up when I hear of rewarding those who live a low-carbon lifestyle.

Then I learn of the vision's orginator, in part: David Miliband, the former environment secretary, now foreign secretary. He who ducked out of meeting the Saudi King rather than deal with the problems that might have created. Nice to know who's in charge when things get awkward.

Then I read on. What a load of...

I'm with Paul Monaghan, who seems to have more than 'doubts': "The mechanics would be a nightmare. Think how hard it has been to get a meaningful EU emissions trading scheme." And then some... it's back to my Kalahari bushman and Mekong fishwife.

And I think 'a recent spate of books on low-carbon living' attest less 'to the growing popular understanding of climate change', than a total public confusion, more than amply served by those trying to make a quick buck - There are now carbon coaches and green lifestyle advisers, low-carbon diets and carbon footprint websites - plus me, natch:)

Fair trade takes on a whole new meaning in Manchester

Not a bad piece, actually, though again I don't get how it works effectively other than as a liberal, western, affluent, feelgood game.

Gotta love this lot: Manchester Is My Planet (Mimp) who registered their personal carbon emissions at

CarbonLimited will be coming to a city near you to further develop the idea of a personal carbon trading scheme.

To get involved (hey, what's the worse that could happen?), visit

Stop! Ready. Go?

I saw red trying to go green - a bit dated, but still relevant (like me?).

I was pretty sure that should at least be 'some renewable energy initiatives may not reduce carbon emissions', surely?

But no, you seem to be right. So one of the breeding population of calculators (were it that they were matched by an equal or greater number of useful sites to actually do anything in any sensible or fun way. In fact I think we may have arrived at a point where we need a site to calculate the best calculator site) is not actually helping in what one one think... hope... was the real aim of any such initiative?

Hypocrisy and destroyed trust in government advice... leading to the risk that people won't listen and act. There's a thing.

Here's something worth calculating: the amount spent on various government and quango inspired departments and communications programmes that have achieved diddly squat, even in the cause of the great god 'awareness' (peace be upon its awesome power to confer ticked boxes, targets and hence bonuses) that could have gone to actual, tangible things that might help reduce emissions now.

No smoke without sense

With about 20 loads of garden waste to take to the council site in my buggy, I would dearly love to have a crafty fire this weekend. But I won't.

However with stuff like this going out I am tempted: (DEFRA) Bonfire night smog warning

The combined effects of light winds and bonfire night celebrations may result in high levels of air pollution during the evenings this weekend in central and southern England, and elevated levels in South Wales.

There's a lot more about asthmatics staying indoors. Guys, really. Next we'll be told it causes global warming... well, I guess it does. But this smacks of not quite getting things across as clearly or directly as one might.

Just tell folk as it is. I no longer have bonfires, even after 5pm, becuase it is not good for the planet.

The company you keep, or who keeps you

I am looking forward to this. I get the ST anyway, so it's a bonus not to have to go out and buy it.

By way of reminder, I just had an email.

Thing is, the ad alongside was/is from BMW.

No real problem, there (well, maybe a teensie-weesnie one). Their 1 series is apparently better than a Prius. Not that this seemed to be the message. More about touring the globe, and going on a journey together. The example I saw was Hong Kong, with a night view of all the skyscrapers ablaze. Apparently, the light show went on all night.

Not sure, but that may also go a small way to '... explaining the damage we're doing'.

Just a thought.

Treehugger - (are they following me?) - How Green Can a Newspaper Afford to Be?

The difference between the views of on-line and paper readers is notable, with 81% of paper readers thinking the coverage on climate change was excellent but only 45% of the web readers agreeing. - Well, D'uh. Which medium is lower impact?

Not sure the Editor has quite nailed the justification, mind.

Dirty great big car and skiing holiday ads (while the snow lasts!) next to pieces about how awful it all is what 'we' are doing to the planet and how 'we' need to be more aware of 'our' impact' and 'we' need to act now, rather undercut the basic thrust of many pieces, though.

Or maybe there are different 'we's' around. The 'we' haves and the ''we' haven't yets, because it's not like, you know, practical, as such'?

LB, call Home Office

I just heard a Minster who has been convicted of making/taking a mobile phone call while driving described, by the BBC at least, as 'one of our brightest'.


All this time since it was mad illegal and he a) doesn't seem to have appreciated the law's intent (he was on an important call about something, apparently. Well, that's different then. Just so long as he wasn't texting Gordon a ring tone) and b) has never heard of Bluetooth.

Nice to be governed by such special folk. At least they are not, yet, above the law. Just not so good at setting the best example in following it.

Standby, me?

Pull the plug on standby

I don't do pledges. But if it did, I suspect it would just one of many pointless ones I could make today.

But I also don't do standbys. Costs money. Silly to do do. Hurts planet.

All off, bar the Skybox, which still has a red light glowing. I guess I could unplug it at the mains, but that may hurt it and in any case it's a bit tricky to get at twice each night by being lost in the back there. Maybe these winners of all sorts of green awards can help me with that?

Or maybe the 'government confirmed plans' will... no really. All the others have worked out so well, right?

Those eco-gizmos do look promising, mind.

I wonder if there's one that will shut off the dishwasher (yeah, yeah... I've decided we gobble tons more juice and water manually so I've made that call) if the missus puts it on at night. I do it in the AM so I can kill it at cycle end and avoid the drying bit plus the guilt-making red dot that greets me in the morning.

One trick ponies

Teacher, leave those libs alone

I can cut most folk a bit of slack on typos, but must agree that to succeed pols must find more rounded conversations to have than solely on the environment.

It's what dogs the Greens, though to be fair they do get involved in heaps else. Trouble is, it's rarely much to get me any more on board (which I am) with the majority I hear them come out with on the environment. But it all gets a bit too anti/protesty, to be frank.

Thing is, beyond being pretty keen on saving the planet for my kids, I have to also educate them to a decent level, protect them from harm, etc... and hopefully not be the one dragging their later years into oblivion by still being around and broke because I am one of the few pensioners left not on a civil service pension.

But Mr. Huhne does get on Newsnight a lot when they need a greenie in a suit. Unfortunately. They don't seem to have much imagination either.

Good luck with the rest. All of you. Sounds just like the kind of coherent, committed, undivided party we need to make the future better. But, for now, I think I may just leave well alone.

Rubbish. Is as does

Sorting our rubbish

'I have long believed that paying for the rubbish we throw away is the right approach.'

And I agree. As one who throws very little out by making stuff out of what doesn't need to go in the bin/landfill, I'd really like to get rewarded by a rate reduction for doing so. Much as I'd like a water meter to see a reduction in my water rates for not flushing the loo just now.

Thing is, just as those two dots have not been connected by the populace, they have by the guys in charge. And they are old enough to recall the fun that was Poll Tax. I didn't have a problem with that 'pay by use' notion either. Quite a few did, though. And from interesting 'sides' of the current 'divide', I'll be bound.

T'other night I heard an honest pol speak. The Cabinet Member for the Environment for my county. We will not be getting bi-weekly collections. Why? Not any great eco-reason, but because his fellow councillors and he want to keep their jobs. I'm guessing chip and bin are not in the offing either, then.

Oh well. The rest of your piece is, of course, worthy of note.

'But we will need clear central policy, good communications and more enforcement to ensure they have the desired effect.' Ok. We're screwed.

What do I owe bio?

Adding fuel to the fire

Like you, I was on board early. What's not to like about anything with the prefix 'bio'? Well, there's biowarfare, I guess, but all the rest seems...seemed.. well spiffy.

I even had myself down for a SAAB when the Volvo (oops, I just read on in your piece) clapps out terminally. Just the small matter of the money. With luck I won't need (with all that word implies) a car by then!

Why does this all smack of yet another set of targets, which the box-tickers have pinned on our backs. Not to mention those less able to ask awkward questions.

Is this the most crucial question we face?

Sounds like one of those gadget brochure lines, doesn't it? 'Is this the best battery in the world?' Doesn't say it is, but grabs the attention and by implication does.

So: Most terrifying video you'll ever see?

I put finger to keyboard in dread of being accused of 'missing the point' or, worse, 'not getting on board with the program', but my concern is that this rather glosses over the actual facts and roles of human nature in the mix, especially in a global sense as a competitive entity. and in particular when it comes to conviction and motivation.

So much, in matters of our future, boils down to persuasion.

Now, does this really tackle the acceptance of man-worsened climate change and lead to ways to mitigate, reduce and reverse it in the global audience?

You can tell me it does. But... what if I shrug? Try and convince me otherwise. Thing is, and as often noted during my ad man dasy (now attempting a karmic correction for all the things I got folk to buy that they didn't really need and places they went to that they didn't need to), few messages come with the messenger attached, or with the time to 'explain' them.

Thing is, I agree with every thing he says.

However, is this messenger, and the message in this form, the best we can bring to bear?

Sorry. For me, no. I was sent this an age ago. I think it's already on my site. Why wouldn't I share it? I trusted the sender enough to know it had value.

But I have not watched it all the way through until now, thanks to you, and the cumulative weight your association accorded it (a devil's advocacy point in favour of the awareness value). I watched it of course the first time, but tuned out after sticking with a few minutes of honest, sincere, engaging... sorry, SOSO: same old, same old.

I have now watched it in full. A committed environmental campaigner. And a Guardian reader. On an eco-blog.

Yes, the word has been spread. But by how much? And to whom? More ammo for me to drag to my less convinced mates? I don't see this being the magic bullet I am looking for.

I'm more keen on actual THINGS to DO to make a DIFFERENCE. Awareness surely can no longer be the issue by this stage? Persuasion is. And effective methods to do so.

Telling folk there's a problem isn't very inspiring, especially if it's near terminal and there's no solution attached. We need to do much, much more to inspire people, to engage with solutions by making them attractive, rewarding, cool, neat...

I'd find a 9 minute thesis a tricky sell with my crowd, but for sure I'm going to sample a few choice bits of gold from in there to help me in my efforts to get across the notion that profligacy and waste don't really make much sense anyway, and just in case the doomsayers are right, maybe a erring on the side of caution ain't such a bad thing to at least go with by now.

Like you, I have a major concern that we could end up being rushed by such sincere, but (maybe necessarily) emotive pleas, into unnecessary measures to reduce C02 emissions across the globe, with various bad consequences, including possible negative enviROIs.

So when you ask 'Are there other videos out there we should know about?', in the spirit of this last notion may I direct you here.

It's not that terrifying I guess, but makes your last point... if one thinks about it.

Time now for me to practice more of what I preach and hurry up the dosh to move to more positive and proactive notions to get folk on board:)

Population - An analogy.


13.The population of the world has grown since the dawn of time and civilisation has been the beneficiary.

Just a thought, and accepting population and immigration are different, if related (no pun intended). Tonight I am going to the pub, and with eachfloz/cc that goes in the glass I am a beneficiary. However, as it approaches the finite volume that can be contained, there will be a mess unless the tap is slowed and, at some point, reduced to merely allow for evaporation.

Sink me! (redux)

A wee while ago there was a flurry that our natural CO2 sponges (Forest, oceans) were tapped out.

I didn't get around to it then, and just as well. This seems (with all due caveats) a better discussion than any daily paper could manage on it: 'Is the ocean carbon sink sinking?'

Indy - Forests losing the ability to absorb man-made carbon

A small light in the shadows

I need a Friday Positive. This'll do nicely: Wind-up lights for African homes

It's what you say. It's how you say it. And when.

How a bottle of mineral water caused a volcanic eruption

Reminds me of a story from my ad days of a tinned salmon manufacturer whose product happened to be a pale white.

The line proposed by the agency was 'Guaranteed not to go pink'. True. No bearing on anything. Not even illegal (morals/ethics...well...). Worked a treat.

The only way is up

Blue-blooded and green

I look at the number of posters (and comments) here and the current number over at Tread Lightly on the topic of positive solutions, and am starting to see just how deep the hole is that we're in, and still digging.

For what it's worth, so long as the person is positive, proactive, genuine and consistent I could care less what their backgrounds are.

That said, the messengers can obviously colour the message if they stray into selective territory or start espousing practices that it's easy to preach from a more privileged position. Along with all in the media invited to the VIP 'Green' Room to 'report'.

Apparently the maths has slightly improved.

If so, I'd like someone to explain to me how half a billion pounds has made no difference to our primary kids' reading.

Just think what that amount could have done if put into subsidised insulation for old homes.

And of that, just how much went to the front end, and how much went on box ticking exercises and salaried, pensioned box tickers?

The governminted talking heads are out in force to say that's not true, so which is it? And hence what are the points of such surveys anyway?

Not Climate Change Week

It's a bit like 'Unbirthdays', but I suspect with less to celebrate.

So for the last few days we have been treated to BBC commercials for conspicuous consumption and travel in complement.

Apparently, the big wheeze is to go shopping in the US.

Those well known essentials, Prada, iPods and Designer jeans, are all available much cheaper over there, plus you get to fly across the pond taboot. And, as the next spot showed, you can do it with BA, who are making record profits by cutting costs... if not flights.

There were the usual gushing bouffant and b...runette, and two 'expert' 'guests'. A geezer from the (now BBC) Lonely Planet Guide and a lady from She was, if anything, the only one with a small voice to reason, pointing the potential advantages of online. That said, having what you get get here shipped form the US by courier seems... odd. Mind you, I guess I depends on where iPods are made.

But good news! Duty Free allowances are going up next year, so yet more expensive tat can be shunted around the stratosphere, adding kilos to the fuel cost of each aircraft, and the passengers lugging it all along.

Meanwhile, it's ski season! At least they were showing it from the indoor (where I guess a load of energy is used making the snow outside the few months it may arrive by nature) slope in Manchester. But their notion seemed to be that 'we' all are hitting the overseas resorts pretty soon. Maybe the salaries and holiday allowances are more generous in White City thanks to our licence fee contributions.

Nice one, Aunty. Look forward to the next climate change slot when what we do is bad for the planet.

Smoking Gun


I feel moved to comment on an aspect of the de Menezes shooting; last night's interview with the young lady in the tube who witnessed this poor man's final moments.

To me it was telling, especially in light of what still is unfurling as I write, about the state of our governance, our law machine... and our media.

First up, it was one of the most compelling pieces of simple TV I have ever seen. A calm, dignified, controlled (though obviously with difficulty) young person recounting what must have been a truly unimaginable series of events.

The majority of the interview was fine, with the questioner also calm and off camera, but I was quite disgusted with the leading nature of the questions towards the end, putting words in her mouth, pushing an agenda and, if I heard right, trying (and failing - good on her) to elicit some morbid descriptions.

What I retain are the facts she recounted. And the simple fact that she felt the officers were 'hysterical' and that no one had a clue they were police leaves to me massive questions on the standard of training and the organisational policies behind them, right up to the top.

Not this nation's finest hour. But why, as always, do I suspect that all who should hang their heads in shame and walk with empty pockets will do no such thing. And hence the cock-ups will continue.

ADDENDUM - I feel compelled to clarify that I don't hold those brave enough to try and stop a person who might vapourise them (and those they have gone into harm's way to protect) accountable for anything. Especially here.

My concern is all that goes into and behind getting them to that point. And if the best guys for the job are not put in the best position to do it, prepared in the best way, then I think questions do need to be asked. Are they not... the bozos who disorganised it all will remain.

ADDENDUM 2 - Just watched an interview about four firemen missing in a fire. The 'reporter' actually asked the spokesperson how he felt!

Indy Blog -

Several decades ago I got taunted by my mates because a namesake had been shot in his Mini (which I also drove - car of choice for major crims) because he had been mistaken for the gangster boyfriend of his passenger. It was really story of farce from top to toe.

Now, what lessons have been learned?

Would I do the job of the officers?
Would I 'eck!

Do I respect the courage that they show to go into such harm's way?
Do I ever!

Would I want them in any way compromised in doing what they do to the best of their ability to prevent a future terrorist atrocity?

As to those who managed or created or managed the systems and procedures to cause this tragic situation, all I ask is that truth be told and where someone is not up to the job they do not get rewarded for that fact by staying on to repeat their errors... at the very least.

I heard the BBC interview with the witness (an amazing young person, frankly) who sat beside the victim, and what I heard from her does not equate to what I thought I knew. Or what I expect from those tasked to defend me and mine.

Guardian - Our silence is senseless