Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mankind, the virus on our planet?

Another mention of the 'policy that dare not speak its name', this time from outspoken MEP Chris Davies, as reported in the Cumbrian News & Star, who reckons that "young couples should have no more than one child in a bid to stop global warming."

"While every individual should be cherished, mankind’s reproduction is akin to the replication of a virus. We are swamping the planet and devouring its resources."

In a sense it's difficult to disagree with that last statement, but who is ever going to propose 'population growth control' as a mainstream policy? Perhaps, if H5N1 (the virulent strain of avian flu) ever mutates to a human to human transferable virus, such a policy may not even be necessary?

Like a beer? Get ready for £3 a pint!

Those of you that enjoy a decent pint or two every now and again, get ready to pay more for your favourite tipple. This from Harpers reports on the increasing costs of basic raw materials that has already hit the UK's breweries, with Barley increasing in price by 40% and Hops by 100% this year.

The piece, perhaps rather too pointedly, firmly lays the blame directly at the door of climate change. It seems that you can blame anything on climate change nowadays, but with the cost of diesel also going up by 12p/litre over the last 12 months too, I reckon we could be paying £3 a pint for a decent beer by the start of next year!

Are we there yet?

Does one give into pester power? It's a question I have pondered for a while on a few areas, such as this: London joins national campaign to banish the curse of the plastic bag

It's not quite on a par with 'giving in to terrorists or kidnappers', so I am tempted to go along and swallow the possible consequences of 'giving in to..'.

And it's not like I don't get the point. Plastic bags, if there are better alternatives (the enviROI of plastic vs. alternatives not having been clearly explained to me at all yet, much less convincingly. For example, I can't see a ship-load of hessian sacks getting shipped from India to be sold for a £1 and then forgotten about in the back of a drawer come the next outing - who can carry a bunch of these around all day in case they pop in the shops? - is going to help much either. But hey-ho) and are not being reused or recycled effectively (seems not), are certainly a landfill-destined waste of resource. I don't use 'em if I can help it, though have to admit that when I don't happen to have 4 hemp bags on my person would find it a bit of a pain not to have them, or wonder where the money I have to hand over is going to. Plus a small tilt towards those who have lost their jobs as a consequence of such a ban (and wonder who is next, until the truly worthy contributors to society who inhabit Islington and Westminster decide to feed on each other's productive career contributions).

But I am erring on just getting it over with, if only to get it out of the way and move on to hopefully more important things. Though the trivial obsessions of most involved in such campaigns don't encourage me too much. They'll need another outlet. And I doubt banning pets, skiing holidays or leg waxing products as 'unnecessary' will top their lists.

Especially as major proponents are such as newspapers and LAs, who don't seem so shy on sending out their own hordes of mailings in plastic wrappers.

Yesterday Modbury, today London, tomorrow the Isle of Wight... and then... ze verld!

Thing is, as an ad man, I wonder what will happen when attentions drift elsewhere.

The shop which has already set out its stall to get rid of packaging

Because if everyone is doing it, then there is no value in being different. You get in the Indy if you have 'a' shop that is eco-twee and all the luvvies get their free-range Priuses for the weekend there, but how about the real world of a 8pm Friday rainy-night dash to the Tesco on the way home down a Midlands motorway?

One wonders if you might see the genesis of ad campaigns with 'free plastic bags' like 'no VAT' to entice people in by way of being an exception.

And who is to define when a plastic carrying device is 'legal' or 'illegal'? Maybe we will get bag-leggers smuggling in dangerous loads of plastic over the Mexican border.

At least I get blogs and blogs out of it. Just not sure it's moving my kids' futures on as much as some other efforts deserving such energies.


The journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step.

It hasn't even hit my daily trawl yet, but I've just seen on the BBC Breakfast News yet another campaign being announced, with yet another minor celeb attached. Just for fun, when they pop up I will put 'em here.

What may be interesting is to subsequently try and assess whether they lasted more than the day of the launch, a week or actually got anywhere. And what it all cost.

[name] - something to do with 'schools sustainability' - feat. Sophie Ellis Bextor - haven't seen the detail yet, but what aspect of the Government's relationship with schools it runs needs a 'campaign'. And if it is to move the students, how will this complement the raft of other stuff out there directed at the public.