Saturday, May 31, 2008

Finding where to stick it. Or sticking where to find it.

The Guardian asks a semi-rhetorical question: Can recycling bins be evil?

Well, I don't know about evil. But how about (depending on the measure chosen) effective? It may not be that simple... or populist. I am more interested in the facts and deliverables.

With such 'any negative so long as it sells a paper' from such as the Daily Mail in one corner, and 'it's claimed to be green so it must be good and you're not if you don't' wide-eyed, uncritical cheerleading in other media, I am tending to find the actual good ideas that might actually serve our kid's futures are usually to be found somewhere between the extremes.

But, by heavens, with all the conflicting, partisan rubbish churned out in the name of enviro-information and debate, it's not made very easy for the average consumer just trying find what to do that's best for their family and community.

Big News?

Coming across across this in Grist, I thought 'Wow!': Well, You Don't Say - White House admits humans causing climate change

Not a hint of doubt there. Even to the extent, at least as I read it, that one of the more persistent climate optimist entities not only grant that negative climate exists, but it is all down to man. No other factors at all, it seems.

I find this highly significant, but do wonder why it has not...yet... had more coverage? The US titles quoted are significant, but what about here? So far, nothing. Not even in some media one is quite used to being keen to push the 'pessimist' agenda.

If this is as billed, might one hope that there may be a more concerted effort at pinning down causes and practical, enviROI+ solutions as a consequence now we can move on from the 'tis/t'isn't exchanges.

Addendum - Meanwhile...

No more hyperbole, let's discuss the facts about global warming


Now there is a turn-up for the books... blogs and broadcasts.

I welcome the latest information, but rather dread the further twists and turns of the discussions that will follow.

Especially as I have, albeit with a rather cocked eyebrow, recently shared this with those who might fairly be described as being on the fence, and hence apathetic at best. I rather think they politely tolerate my zeal to get to the crux of what I consider a key question to allow sensible future planning to take place, and in a timely manner. While my personal views are known (Man-worsened negative climate change is a distinct possibility, and any reasonable mitigations seem well worth considering as soon as possible, but before rushing into knee-jerk 'solutions' of dubious enviROI I still need a lot more convincing on most proposed, as few seem to sensibly address waste or increased pollution whilst recognising global socio-political realities), it really doesn't do my... the cause of environmental caution much good when you are running to and fro week on week saying, in effect, 'the sky is falling... no it isn't... yes it is'. And especially when most governments and media seem to address something claimed to be serious in such an erratic, piecemeal and often frankly hypocritical manner.

I just hope we don't now see a spate of 'tis/t'isn't' exchanges, especially as these usually devolve into attacking the person as opposed to the wisdom, or otherwise, of the message. While the qualifications of those making pronouncements is important, I have long since ceased to be too impressed with even Professorships. A Nobel Prize is however nifty, and this one is recent. Mind, I had thought the prize Al Gore shared was with the head of the IPCC (I guess symbolically, then, and in the face of diverse views within that organisation), and by what I understand, the views of S Fred Singer are not exactly going hand in hand with with Mr. Gore's, are they? Hence trying to work out the definitions of winning that 'accolade' (it has of course been called into question as being more a means of sending political messages rather than signifying any objective values) and the provenance it (or most other cited substantiations these days) bestows, and who gets to share them, just got very murky. To me at least.

I have to say that some aspects of what he is quoted as saying here do resonate. There often does seem a rather over-egged desire to see in every aspect of climate a rather dire reason. And then a green solution comes along that can sometimes be sold more on its perceived greenness than any actual value to our futures. The AGW victim du jour on Breakfast TV was Puffins, I think. Such things don't really help if it turns out that colony numbers ebb and flow just as do the tides... or climate... over certain periods. I have also just left a debate on vegetarianism where I pondered the effect such enforced policies might have on such as the poster kids of saving the planet, such as polar bears or tigers.

The key is to look at the trends over more significant periods, and then do whatever we can to identify causes... and practical, sensible solutions.

Oh well, I guess it shows debate is alive, and healthy. I just hope we are not going to be subjected now to too much more on the absolutes of the A in AGW... or not... such that worthwhile tangible efforts, which we might not have the time to afford, get further delayed. An inevitable penalty of a flawed system I guess, but with luck it's still the best we have. If not, the future may have just got even more 'interesting'.

Addendum 2 -

It seems very clear that the description 'Nobel Prize Winner' was an exaggeration, though down to whom I am still not sure. And for sure that needs correcting. What has been a worry to me is that almost every response I have seen has been to tackle the man and not the argument; with some going so far as to say that no dissenting positions should be allowed or given exposure. Not, I would suggest, the most sensible way to avoid the notion that there are those who think they know better what is got for the rest. And that, especially in the Internet age, does tend to backfire.

Silly Question

Newsnight - Energy Policy

16. At 11:58 am on 29 May 2008, bookhimdano :energy policy

There's the rub. Who knows? And why do the majority of the population (inc. me) not?

The German example you share seems inspirational, proactive, positive and profitable.

Yet, apparently... 'the uk govt refuse to have a two way grid as they do not believe there is any evidence it would work'.

Now belief is all well and subjective. Surely to heavens it is not beyond the wit of media to help us get to find out what the actual facts and/or truth is? Then the people can lobby for what is good for pocket... and planet.

I would dearly love some clear information and discussion on this (and others), and not a 'tis/t'isn't twofer with extremes from the dogmatic activist or box-ticker/lobbyist/subsidy junkie end of a debate.

And even if we do get actual engineers and/or number crunchers, if they still have opposing viewpoints might we hope for a host with experience and training enough to actually get to definitive answers we can act/vote on than a 'that's all we have time for' ratings segment that gets filed and forgotten in days?

Friday, May 30, 2008

PROF'S POSER - Recycling old photos

From a question to the site as to whether old photos could be recycled:

I didn't know, though I had some fair ideas.

No toxins as far as I am aware, but some possible heavy metals (Silver? Though that might just be in the negative. There might even be value to it, though not to you. But a recycler might find some). Not enough I wouldn't have thought to upset a kerbside paper recycler.... How wrong can I be!

Times - Can I recycle old photographs?

Assuming they know better, and by your question I'm guessing you care enough to err on the side of caution, here's the skinny: No. Much like wrapping paper and the Yellow Pages, photographs cause problems at paper mills. In this case it is the chemicals used in the paper and the thin layer of polythene that coats a photo to stop it going wrinkly when it dries. These are classified as contaminants and clog up the recycling process.

Hence, for reuses, you could do worse than some here: How can I reuse or recycle … old photos? (nice site)

Just... make sure you are prepared to let them go! I'd suggest keeping the negatives!

Interestingly, and in the spirit of archiving our past, I did stumble across this from a council:
Recycling - Family papers or photographs

Might be worth asking your local?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

CATEGORY - GREEN ACTIVIST GROUPS

Always worth starting another list:

ARTICLES

BBC - The campaign group: Greenpeace

INFORMATION

AWARDS - 2008 Start Up Awards

WHEN: The closing date for entries is 06 July 2008
WHAT: 2008 Start Up Awards - esp: Green Business of the Year and the Social Entrepreneur of the Year
WHAT... MORE?: The awards celebrate and reward the most outstanding new companies across the UK. They are now accepting entries from ambitious businesses that think they have what it takes to become the household brands of the future!

Previous winners have included GlassesDirect, eCourier, GoinGreen, BeatThatQuote.com, RTL Games, 82ASK and SportStars.

The judging panel consists of some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and business experts including Chrissie Rucker, founder, The White Company; Simon Calver, CEO, LOVEFiLM International; Wilfred Emmanuel Jones, The Black Farmer and Alan Giles, chairman, Fat Face to name just a few.
HOW MUCH: Not clear... might be free! Check URL.
URL: www.startupsawards.co.uk
COMMENTS: If it's free, why not? £5k up for grabs. Plus PR kudos, too.

CATEGORY - SHOES

INFORMATION


RESOURCES

soles4souls.org - I know it's US, and there are more such things in the UK, but I have to kick off (:) somewhere!

Star Flaws

I'm an inventor. I like fixing things. But...

Can the ecohackers save us?

I'd really prefer we were a bit more certain of the causes of problems before we presumed to meddle with possible cures.

QUOTE OF THE DAY - What a LOAD

Yes, it's a new acronym, too: Lexicon Of Absolute Doublespeak

The Register : The Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has decided not to appeal a legal ruling that it must release information on secret meetings between ministers, civil servants and lobbyists at the Confederation of British Industry.

BERR said keeping such information private would "protect the 'thinking space' necessary for good public policy formulation"

So when you don't feel like owning up to any, possibly dodgy stuff you may have been/are up to, just get out of jail free by claiming you are 'protecting your thinking space'.

Little fleas

The lobby in our house is where no one actually stays longer than they need to.

It merely a gateway to another place, offering a brief interlude between being on the inside and the outside. Hence it is merely functional, usually a bit dusty, prone to draughts and not my favourite place.

I ponder this as I stood in the lobby of the Houses of Parliament during a tour, and learned that the verb came from the noun, as this was where people sought, and seek to influence those in power.

Government ordered to disclose business lobbying on green policy

Just as there will always be politics when you have more than two folk vying for position, it is foolish to think that, where money is involved, there will no be all manner of shenanigans in trying to sway a decision. And, in a democracy, there can be no restriction on any and all people's rights to make their case.

But what I see in the name of 'lobbying' today is a complete corruption of the fair principles originally intended. As this case lays bare.

Nice one, FoE. Respec'. Mind you, it might all just drive the SOSO sods underground.

The Register - Legal blow to secret government lobbying

The Register - NEW - UK gov waves white flag on secret lobbying ruling

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The water is lovely

Camping is great.

In fact, I have just added to our repertoire thanks to an Argos half-price offer.

However it is wise, as with many things, to be realistic.

As I look out my window at a bus floating past down the street, I'd be the first to admit that it can and does have limitations.

But what do we have on the BBC News this morning? A pretty idealistic view of the whole experience, and as a piece of advocacy one has to say, on a day like today, 'good luck with that'.

And we're not talking one of those PR-funded jollies that seduce the London media beyond the M25 to enjoy a week's pampering under canvas... well, in an Eco-Yurt the size of my Mum's cottage.

But in trotting out the party line I do think they do often push things beyond credibility. I'd be hard-pressed to say my kids 'had much more fun than sitting on the beach all day'. Especially when it is heaving down. And that's when the financial aspects kick in. Of course travel is less (mind you..) and at £25 the accommodation is reasonable, but we have seldom seen UK holidays come cheap. Decent meals for four, and entry to 'attractions', can really add up.

Sorry, while staying home is part of the mix, trying to sell against an all-inc. getting away from it all with something different and some sun and warm water is a bit disingenuous. Especially when you know almost none of them will be doing it themselves if they can help it.

Great to share the option, and its joys, but lay off the eco-guilt ladle guys.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NEWS/GO3 PR - The trouble with mushrooms.

You know: 'kept in the dark and fed on manure'. Plus another, entirely deliberate allusion.

Via a blog post, but from the FoE.

Now, despite being a bit more involved and trying to stay abreast of 'issues' than some, I don't still know enough about nuclear to have a clear view one way or t'other.

However, I do know when I sense a potentially fast one going down, and that I don't like.

Such as this is too important to let pass, at least not without the whole thing being properly discussed. In fact by my reading much is about getting rid of discussion and/or accountability in the future, which can't be right.

And all they are doing is ask that you write to your MP if you agree (or adjust the template if not fully), which is as free will/democratic process in action as I feel life needs be.

As received, E&EO:

Please write to your MP for a more democratic Planning Bill! [inc: link 2 'theyworkfor you']

Deadline Monday 02.06.2008!

Currently being whisked through Parliament, almost unnoticed by the press,
is one of the most anti-democratic pieces of legislation ever to be
attempted in this country.

If the Planning Bill becomes law, in its current state, opposition to large
projects such as nuclear power stations or new motorways will become far
more difficult. We will effectively lose our right to be heard at hearings.
Opposition will take the form of written evidence only and apart from an
"open floor" session, where the developers need not be present, there will
be no other means to oppose. It seems that we will be very much distanced
from any source of information or any voice loud enough to be heard!

Once a large project has been finalized and executed by an
"Infrastructure Planning Commission", an un-elected body with hitherto
unknown powers, the IPC will be above Acts of Parliament. The IPC is not
even answerable to the relevant ministers!

Friends of the Earth demands that the Bill should:

a.. Take climate change into account
b.. Ensure that the General Public have a right to be heard at enquiries
c.. That Ministers remain accountable for decisions

There is very little time left, as this Bill is at the report stage, and is
to be debated in the Commons on the 2nd June 2008.

Please spare a few minutes and go to this link below:

http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/local/planning/news/planning_bill.html

If you are in agreement with the contents of the template letter, then
please send it to your MP. We would also be very grateful if you could
forward this email on to friends and colleagues.

It's an ex-parrot. A green one.

Newsnight: Are green taxes dead?

'Are green taxes dead?'

Cripes. That's a big... sweeping... question to a complex issue... set of issues.

Short answer: I certainly hope not, if 'Green taxes' means sensible, fair, practical ways to help people make personal choices on their consumption of 'travel'.

However, if it is anything like the historical, and current crop of ill-conceived, poorly thought-through, city-centric, revenue over planet, stupidly-communicated 'initiatives' tried or floated to date, I certainly hope NOT!

For instance, retroactive taxes on the majority of the poorer electorate's older cars to fund pay and pensions black holes for legions more box-tickers (even if 'green'), many of whom never actually pay for the consequences of their travel, was never going to fly as anything like helping person or planet.

And with each clunking great effort of this nature, the chances of selling something rational to an expanding, travel-imposed (work) or addicted (social) race gets ever harder.

Indy - Don't Be Yellow, Gordon. Be Green

What an interesting Earth-coloured rainbow is getting conjured: Brown, Green and now Yellow.

What the heck is meant by 'Be Green'? Especially from a major national newspaper.

Mind you, when I say 'major'... what is the readership of the Indy, and where are they located? I suspect most sales are in major urban centres where there might well be adequate public transport alternatives, plus a salary levels more able absorb such increases. Just as I wonder what the transport options are of, say, a News of the World (ABC figures a tad higher?) reader facing a bit of a trek on their shift (don't see many Ministers taking the night bus) if priced out of using their 10 year-old car by fuel prices. Oh, and the rather odd notion that retroactive taxation to try and encourage the purchase of a Prius as the latest 'green' measure; one that is discrediting the whole notion of necessary reduction and mitigation from the wrong messengers touting very self-interested messages .

Too much, too often, turns out to be more designed to put money in places that are in the name of this 'green' rather than serving many tangible actions that might well actually help. For instance, how many 'Senior climate advisers' are there now in government, quangos and activist groups?

Indy - Why are car tax rates going up on older vehicles, and is the move unfair? - an attempt at balance, but almost every sentence written from a person sitting at a desk in London. I'm afraid been lectured at by such folk is proving divisive.

Guardian - We must all act together - That would be an 'MP' we, which is like a Royal one, only they do carry cash, even if they don't need to spend it on much. Love the fact that he turned to... the Guardian with this message seeking support. Not sure he's getting it. The support I mean.

Guardian - Higher still and higher - A frank exchange of views. Not sure the view from comfy chatterati-central is winning out, mind.

Newsnight
-

Much is being said (and not much done so far save a few 'initiatives' designed to serve the interests of the initiators more than anything else).

Whatever one believes about AGM, climate change, etc, 'green' is here to stay, with all its confusing invocations and justifications.

Trouble is, most still seem stuck in a rut of simply arguing the point of whether bad climatic things are happening and if so who or what is to blame. One presumes that those who advocate man IS involved are principally interested in what can practically be done to mitigate and/or reverse our probably negative impositions.

So is it possible, and if so PLEASE can we then throw all we can at getting an answer to this once and for all?

It's pretty critical. If there is man-worsened negative climate change, then self evidently it would make sense to stop making it worse. Even just to buy time (unless we just give up and go for the party of all parties to celebrate the end of the race).

If, however, it is out of our control (even if we are making it worse), then maybe other strategies should be allowed for that do not involve p*ssing in the wind. Because we are talking best uses of vast amounts of money and resources here, with a potentially short planetary triage period.

Around the time of the Milliband interview there was a piece by Environmental 'Analyst' Roger Harrabin. If I recall, in it was a claim that we'd need 1,000 more resources going into the predictive modelling to actually know what is going on.

Despite being one who is more than dubious about the motivations of many researchers, I'd say that if this can sort it out once and for all... let's just do it, quick, so we can plan accordingly and act with confidence.

Otherwise all I am seeing is a planetary death by a thousand cuts, from politicians whose sights extend a maximum of 2 years (Dear Lead...er...follower chooses that highly-read organ The Guardian to make his case for retroactive car taxes to shift workers facing the night bus in the Midlands), to media who dabble as it suits with often plain daft agenda-driven propaganda dressed up as green advocacy.

Green Party - Greens call for Government to abolish road tax and charge the polluters - as a low mileage user (for now), that works for me(for now). I just hoep they have thought through on behalf of those with less choice.


NEWS/GO3 PR - Gardens to go

From a few things I'd seen and heard, I had some doubt son the recent Flower Show being as green as made out. This is much more like it:

Flower Show giveaway proves a hit

PR as received, E&EO

A new attraction at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show has crowds flocking - but it's not a conventional exhibit.

The Show's garden leftovers are being offered to community groups and charities who can re-use them, proving that one person's discarded flower-pot can be another's treasure.

The re-use yard, run by the Charities Advisory Trust, opened its door the other day to find new homes for flower show materials which are not otherwise recycled.

Exhibitors dismantling their sites have been depositing materials with the yard, based at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show site, since the end of the Show on Saturday. For the next eight days, groups will visit the yard by prior arrangement to collect materials including flower-pots, wood and stones.

Charities Advisory Trust Director Hilary Blume identified the possibilities for the yard when she saw the opportunities for surplus materials which could be put to use by community groups.

'The Trust knew these materials could be re-used, so we came up with a simple solution which provides groups like city farms, schools community projects with gardening materials. And it's also convenient for exhibitors dismantling their sites.'



QUOTE OF THE DAY - Helicopter Environmentalists

More of a definition really, and I'll credit (unless otherwise proven)... me.

"Helicopter Environmentalists are those, from government, media and now even corporate circles, who drop in briefly; making a lot of noise and stirring up a lot of dust that can be really distracting. Then they usually just as quickly flit away to the next self-centred issue their people point them at, leaving others to sweep up behind them. Ironically, their favoured mode of transport is usually more guided by their busy lifestyles than any tangible examples there might be value in setting".

The seabed scramble continues

Whilst Norway, Russia, Denmark, Canada and the USA argue about how to divvy up the seabed of the Arctic, the UK is part of the rush to grab potential seabed resources too, as this from the Telegraph reports.

"officials are watching with a mixture of awe and suspicion as Britain and France stake out legal claims to oil and mineral wealth as far as 350 nautical miles around each of their scattered islands across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans."

"The forgotten relics of the Empire make Britain a player in the marine race. There are the waters off the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, already home to a clutch of oil exploration companies; the Pitcairn Islands in the Pacific; Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean; and a string of outposts such as Montserrat, the Caymans, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos, and Bermuda."

As far as I recollect, Ascension Island is an extremely tall underwater volcano that has only the very top sticking out of the water; so it sounds like some extremely deep drilling technology is going to be required! Oh well, Big Oil makes the world go round, and Big Oil gets what it wants most of the time, as well as having the money to finance ridiculously deep exploration rigs.

But, to me, this is all rather sad, and highly indicative of one of humanity's basic instincts, Greed!

QUOTE OF THE DAY - Screwing folk 'til the pips squeak might not work.

Especially when it is patently unfair.

From the Guardian, by a Labout MP:

"...I am in favour of prospective green taxes to change people's decisions when buying a new car. But taxing them heavily on a car which may have been bought seven years ago does not seem a good way to go and will discredit the concept of green taxes."

New stuff on new kit... fine. You know what you are buying into and can decide accordingly. But retroactive taxes are getting as prevalent as they are proving unpopular and, oddly for guys wanting to stay in power, are almost all totally unsuccessful in working with the public as they are at just working.

And don't get me on the new Carbon Credit effort that has been floated, with some cross-party support, which is shaping up as an unworkable tax and fee generation system with almost no way to reduce anything globally save a bunch of 'name of green' Gov/LA/Quango/City/Activistparasites at the expense of most average people... and planet.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Love the theory. Not so such about the practitioners.

Labour plans green revolution to slash energy prices and win back lost voters

On past evidence... what's the betting that it ends up putting more money in the wrong pockets, cost more than it saves, and needs to be undone at vast extra cost?

Good in theory. Dodgy in practice.

I remain to be convinced on offsetting on many levels. This doesn't help.

Billions wasted on UN climate programme

Yet again, I don't think it's so much what needs to be done that is the issue, but the competencies of those who have taken it upon themselves to do it.

Ina world run by box-tickers, getting yet more box-tickers and their targets into the mix seems a recipe for, well, such as this.

We need to get back to product, not process. And pronto.

View from the middle ground. Well...

What do you get when you mix a pretty consumerist viewpoint (Wired), with one from the green corner (EcoGeek): WIRED's Call to Environmentalists: True or False

For once, a not too extreem set of views from both sides... ish.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And so it begins ....... again?


Another classic from cartoon genius Matt of the Telegraph to preface this post about rising fuel prices.



___________________

Now the last time the haulage businesses started protesting at the price of fuel, it wasn't too long before it turned into a blockade of fuel depots and the UK ground to a halt.

As this from the Telegraph highlights, it looks very much like things are headed the same way. One thousand large lorries crawling through London is pretty much going to grind things to a complete standstill. And it seems human nature that when enough people protest, others start to join in.

I wonder what the chances of our Gov taking any notice are? Especially given the fact that some oil futures are now trading just short of $140/barrel and each 5p/litre rise sticks another several £Billion in their coffers each year.

LOL

Rose’s catty jibe at Kate

'Rose was invited to take part in a talk on “corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability”...

After the speech, Rose jumped into a helicopter, which whisked him to the airport, where he was due to fly out to clubbers’ paradise Ibiza for the bank holiday.'

Not just hypocrisy... M&S hyspocrisy.

Interesting that this is considered 'on message'.

Deep Fertiliser

No idea where to put this, but the subject of of the vast amount of phosphates we waste is pertinent: Waste not, want not

All the news that fit not to print

Seems worth a share to avoid unnecessary IT waste- HP Smart Web Printing

Friday, May 23, 2008

It will probably happen over here too!

Fuel price rises are causing a few rather unexpected problems over in the USA too. This from MSNBC reports on the fact that waste cooking oil (known as french fry grease over there) is now being regularly stolen by 'rustlers' who transesterify the oil into bio-diesel in home made backyard stills.

A few years ago waste cooking oil was a commodity that you had to pay people to take away. Now they pay you for it. The increasing cost of petrol and diesel has now made it a commodity worthy of theft!

Watch out for the grease rustlers near you soon!

Not all oil is quite what it seems

This from News.co.au had me in stitches - I'm quite au fait with people 'taking the p**s', but 'selling the p**s' is a new one on me!

Note the last statement. We think we're suffering, but Zimbabwe has 165,000 per cent inflation and 80 per cent unemployment. Strewth!

Stingers on the forecourt

This from Metro.co.uk is symptomatic of the craziness that is resulting from what the ever increasing cost of fuel is doing to the world.

The number of non-paying drive aways on petrol forecourts has increased to the point that service stations are now fitting automated stingers to shred the tyres of any car that attempts to drive off without paying!

What next? Maybe armed guards with machine guns?

In praise of means testing. Not.

Especially when it comes to enviro-support.

Aussies too rich for solar panels

This could just as easily go over to my El Burro Hotay blog.

I am not a big supporter of means testing. In theory it could mean a necessary measure of support going to those most in need.

In practice it just means a whole new layer of unproductive pay and pension parasites get in the way of sensible delivery. There's a newgovernment over there, right?

And, too often, consequences that actually undermine the theoretical benefits intended.

Ripper.

Syncrude

Perhaps it ought to have been named SinCrude given the damage that recovering oil from oil tar sands causes to the environment.

A fascinating insight into the booming Alberta Tar Sands extraction industry from Time Magazine. Canada looks set to become the 'Venezuela of the north', and its all down to those nice chaps from big oil's biggest, ExxonMobil.

Well worth a read.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

IDEA - Tin Can Lid

I really should spend more time on what this is all about... ideas.

Here's one I made earlier: the latest Junkk reuse idea.

Currently doing service on last night's Tuna and Corn cans.

Why don't you...

Had a rather busy morning on other blogs.

Mostly involving various folk (on various topics) rather vocally suggesting that I 'do my bit' by various green means.

Thing is, in most cases, I'd love to... if I could afford it, in time and/or money.

Of course I can visit a client by bike, but it will take several hours. And they don't cover travel time.

I'd love to visit chums in London with the family by train. But it's silly money.

Hence I identify more with those not in the eco-glitterati end of earning a crust, and have a few suggestions in return...

Addendum:

I have been accused of 'slagging off' British Rail in critiquing the reliability of the service to this neck 'o the woods, and not being about positive solutions. I have been moved to reply:

You are right of course, in most respects.

And I am one who does not like to find myself as anything but on the positive and encouraging side of things.

However, it is difficult to do a SWOT analysis of things or situations without looking at all sides. If you only see the SO and choose to ignore the WT, you might find some say 'so what'?

My personal interest is how things play out with the consumer, so that positive ways can be sought to encourage one and all to embrace more mutually 'helpful' environmental behaviours.

Things will not happen unless people vote with their wallets or feet, especially in commerce or politics/legislation, respectively.

I, for one, was not of the understanding that there was any more such a things as 'British Rail', as the country is now cross-crossed with diverse networks. The 'old' system was not very good as I recall, but this one seems little better, and that's with the benefit of a lot more money and experience.

Your lack of a driving licence, for whatever reason, has shaped your travelling ever since.

However, I would beg to suggest that this might not be the case with the majority of the population, be it for work or social reasons.

And so most have options, and with market forces will make them according to their needs and aspirations: cost, convenience, reliability, etc.

To which can also be added comprehensibility. In matters enviro, communications are a major factor.

But in most industries you can't often get away with telling a customer they are dumb for not getting to grips with the menu or price list. They will, forgive me, just walk away. The booking and paying aspects should be the easiest parts of the customer experience, not amongst the most confusing and/or onerous.

Then, having persuaded your audience to try out your product/service, if it falls short excuses can get you a fair way, but not for long.

It's a shame that things on the continent are apparently equally as bad (not sure they'll thank you for sharing), but really that does not help the case here very much to an already less than thrilled buying public.

I agree the media plays it up, but one has to have sympathy with the local lady to where I live who recently failed to win compensation for a vast % of her daily trips being late or cancelled.

There are some (is it helpful to infer a pejorative by suggesting something like 'Guardian journalists?) who may be able to afford the money a time of a slow sojourn as the wind blows them, but most are on a 9-5 deadline and tight budgets, with pretty unsympathetic bosses or clients keeping... um.. track.

Assuming getting more people on trains is what is required, and desirable (other stories for other times), denying what is wrong and hence avoiding ways to improve may prove an idealistic, optimistic notion in seducing new customers aboard.

In the case I cited before, if I can be reassured that a fair % of trips I make from London mid-evening out West will not leave me stranded, I might be tempted back. Others have much worse, and often more onerous crosses to bear. What solving these is worth to secure our patronage vs. the alternatives, I leave to the actuaries.

CATEGORY - WALK, WALKING

ARTICLES


INFORMATION

walkit.com - I like the strapline too!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

LOL x 2

Together chiefs hit back at us

Good one...

...campaign director of Together, has to say (sent to Greenbang by a press officer).

And two...

With so much noise around going ‘green’ nowadays, Together seeks to provide consumers with a trusted reference for what they can do to tackle climate change.

And... for heavens' sake, why do all these vastly over-funded (and hence staffed, and resourced - Campaign Director, plus press officer?) and overlapping gov/industry/quango things come across so gosh-darn po-faced? I know it's their careers and a box-tick under CSR and all come the AGM, but get real. There are scores of these things.

Does the normal consumer notice? Or care? Hey, it's their dough so blow it any way they feel like, but that's the second outing for a short list of stuff I heard when I was at school with IK Brunel. Next they'll have a full-blown campaign on 'bath with a friend'.

Is this really the best use of money, especially if (and I am not sure if it is) public funds are getting blown (what's a Campaign Director run to these days?) on yet more awareness at the expense of actually supporting DOING initiatives.

With all the tangible reduction/mitigation ideas out there ready to be supported, THIS is the kind of me-too initiative that most value is seen in?

No wonder this country has blown £60B on quangos and all the real innovators are upping sticks. The lunatics have hired accountants to pay consultants to review the state of the asylum so lessons can be learned, with a view to putting place a new layer of assessment to hand back whatever is left to the few poor sods there are out there actually making a few beans to count... and then tax.

Rant over. Carry on.

CDM's, CER's and a strong whiff of corruption.

It looks as if the much vaunted Clean Development Mechanism, developed under the Kyoto Protocol and run by the U.N. is not quite having the emissions reduction effect that was it's primary goal.

According to this from the Guardian, things are not going too well under the schemes; "evidence is accumulating that it is increasing greenhouse gas emissions behind the guise of promoting sustainable development. The misguided mechanism is handing out billions of dollars to chemical, coal and oil corporations and the developers of destructive dams - in many cases for projects they would have built anyway."

"chemical companies can earn almost twice as much from selling CERs as from selling refrigerant gases. This has spurred concern that refrigerant producers may be increasing their output solely so that they can produce, and then destroy, more waste gases."

Wherever something is traded, there's almost always a small proportion of that trade that is corrupt to some degree or other. This, however, seems to indicate corruption, cheating and falsification on a mega scale. The thing is, these schemes are potentially rather important to the future of humanity, and they need to be managed and controlled carefully and correctly.

But, under the control of the U.N. , properly managed and controlled? Fat chance!

Addendum:
And, of course, where there is trading, whether in carbon credits or anything else, and there is a chance to line your own pockets, the sharks circle about and dart in every now and again to take their own substantial piece of the action. I'm talking, of course, about lawyers, as this from MSNBC explains.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Careful who you wish to be

It comes with my Sunday paper, but the 'Style' section is one I could well do without.

It usually has me reaching for the bucket, but now the luvvies have 'discovered' green it's more like the AK.

I was going to pass this one by, but as a poster pointed out, 'Socially Conscious Upwardly Mobile' does have a certain ring: Scuppie power

NEWS/GO3 PR - All in a good cause

Some will know I am tad weary, and leery, of many 'awareness' efforts, and have of late been a often dubious of various advocates going off hither and thither in the name of climate.

However, I will share this, simply because its footprint is low (at least they are not all flying to the Antarctic to see what flying to the Antarctic does) and the return to a necessary group (our young) is high.

PR as provided, E&EO.

CLIMATE ADVOCATES CALLED UP TO CUT OUR CARBON CRAVING

As part of its Low Carbon Futures programme, The British Council is launching a nationwide search for 30 motivated young people to take urgent action to cut carbon use by joining Challenge Europe, an ambitious pan-European programme designed to change the way we use carbon.

Developed by the UK’s international body for cultural relations, the British Council, Challenge Europe is recruiting 30 Climate Advocates aged between 18 – 35 years old in Wales, England and Scotland to work together to develop innovative solutions that will reduce our addiction to fossil fuels in the public, private or commercial sectors. UK Climate Advocates will work in partnership with local scientists, entrepreneurs, academics, politicians and community leaders to ensure that the boldest and the best of these ideas are turned into reality.

Challenge Europe aims to show that individuals currently outside the climate change arena can bypass debate and make a profound impact on a pan-European scale. The British Council aims to engage over 200 genuinely motivated Climate Advocates to work together to develop over 40 innovative solutions that will change fundamentally the way we use carbon.

The British Council is actively partnering with a number of organisations across Europe, who will support the Climate Advocates throughout Challenge Europe by sharing expertise, best-practice and offering guidance.

Successful applicants will be selected by independent panel, and will come from a wide range of sectors and backgrounds, offering skills from the scientific and technical, to the creative and voluntary sectors. All will be adventurous, driven, knowledgeable in their field and highly committed. They do not necessarily need to show evidence of previous work in the climate change field, but will be ready to commit a minimum of 150 hours of their time to the programme.

To apply, visit www.britishcouncil.org/lcf-challenge-europe by 26th May 2008.

'Why won't 'they' do anything?'.. we ask, without irony.

The war to end all wars

It's a shame that such threads usually deteriorate into 'tis/t'isn't happening AGW advocacies.

I used to believe that such certainties were unlikely to be achieved, and hence rather beside the point. Being proved right as a climate pessimist is a Phyrric victory at best. But as my greater interest is in what motivates the masses (or, in the case of most that is 'green' from all self-appointed bodies (activist, government (when it suits), business (ditto) & media (double ditto)... so far, not much) I tend to ponder more the messages as well as the messengers to try and understand why most still are not engaging.

As an example, BBC's Newsnight trailed a major piece with Mr. Miliband on this 'major' issue and invited pre-feedback for during the show, with the promise of answers afterwards.

A 100+ questions were posed. A few (very... few) were asked live. And a selected half dozen dispatched later (much... later).

Before even watching this, I wrote on my blog that if this is not front page news today, throughout the UK at least, I will have answers to some key questions.

As stated by many world leaders, repeated here, and summed up by Ban Ki Moon, AGW 'is the single greatest threat to humanity'. Hard to get on board with this by most current piecemeal, contradictory, politically opportunistic and frankly hypocritical behaviours.

Yet government is still just tinkering around the edges when the mood suits, with most efforts by this country more designed to distract from other issues, or to raise taxes that are hard to relate to tangible environmental benefits.

I was fascinated by an accompanying piece, where it was stated it will take a 1,000 more computer systems to confirm this issue once and for all, one way or the other.

So why not just DO it? This is the future of the planet, apparently.

Look, if there was a leadership contest announced I bet (and almost won during the show - AGW soon got dropped in favour of probing 'juicier' news options) you'd be hard pressed to get an imminent meteorite strike on even the Science & Tech blog of most media for the next few months.

If this is as serious as claimed to be, why not make it as serious on every and any agenda 'you' (government and media) can think of, starting now, where practical to the exclusion of all else?

Government, and even 'climate-sympathetic' media organs have so far proven totally unsuccessful in persuading the majority of the electorate on almost any aspect of this issue to date, despite billions being spent (quangos, comms budgets, PR... some subsidy-driven efforts) with almost nothing tangible to show for it all.

I wondered if anything said, discussed, promised and (though probably subsequently reneged upon) shared during a minor late-night news show watched by a small minority of the population, complemented by however many here, or there, is going to make a blind bit of difference to what the government, the UK , the EU or the rest of the world actually DOES any time soon, vs. waffling on.

Front page news? It barely raised a serious % of commentary the very next day even on the site. Now, what's gracing the key pages of the Guardian today, and not some niche blog tucked away to keep a small audience entertained?

That... is the legacy of those who would claim to lead, and inform, and have brought us to this point.

And so, sadly, I have my answer.

You can't build on Greenbelt ......

..... well, errrrr ...... except when you get the Gov's approval to redraw the boundaries so it is no longer classified as Greenbelt! Full disgraceful story from the Telegraph the other day.

"The move will see the land redesignated so it can be sold to developers to try to meet ministers' house-building targets. Official documents warn that the process "will result in significant change" for local communities."

Oh, so its being done so that yet another set of ministerial targets (probably erroneous) can be met. Sorry, but don't these chumps realise that once land has been built on you can never change it back (OK, 'redesignate' it) to Greenbelt!?

And I just love that term they use - 'redesignated' - I seem to recollect that there was a similar term for this back in the old days when parliamentary constituencies regularly had their boundaries changed - wasn't it called gerrymandering?

Inspired?


One more for my new ad-related blog, Bordello Ivory Tales (link RHS), but it still applies here, if not more so.

In case the image is not clear, 90% is of a plane. You can see the headline.

Now, honestly, has that got you running to book a train?

I'm sorry, but waaaay too many green-related ads are a total waste of money. This was 2/3 page colour in the Sunday Times.

Monday, May 19, 2008

NEWS/GO3 PR - Limits of prediction

I welcome and celebrate information when it moves along understanding, so long as that is what it does.

Posted as received, E&EO with no comment on any agenda:

(DEFRA - if you want the guff from the talking heads in full) New vision of climate change through Google Earth

Millions of Google Earth users around the world will be able to see how climate change could [my favourite word - ed] affect the planet and its people over the next century, along with viewing the loss of Antarctic ice shelves over the last 50 years, thanks to a new project launched today.

The project, Climate Change in Our World, is the product of a collaboration between Google, the UK Government, the Met Office Hadley Centre and the British Antarctic Survey to provide two new 'layers', or animations, available to all users of Google Earth.

One animation uses world leading climate science from the UK's Met Office Hadley Centre to show world temperatures throughout the next hundred years under medium projections of greenhouse gas emissions, along with stories of how people in the UK and in some of the world's poorest countries are already being affected by changing weather patterns.

Users can also access information on action that can be taken by individuals, communities, businesses and governments to tackle climate change, and highlights good work already underway.

Another animation, developed by the British Antarctic Survey, show the retreat of Antarctic ice caps since the 1950s, and features facts about climate change science and impacts in the Antarctic.

The project is currently a snapshot of some of the recent scientific information about climate change and its impacts. The partners in the project will be looking to develop these ideas further in the future, preferably with additional partners.

Feedback on the content of the project, or any ideas for future animations or impact stories can be emailed to OURWORLD@defra.gsi.gov.uk

What 'e sed

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO’S THE GREENEST OF THEM ALL?

Amen, and well said (inc..... especially the bit about the bags. Just got my latest, much fairer P&P, sets from the Dailys Mail and Telegraph - from when they were having a quick green movement/week/day. I was going to say you can never have enough... but my collection is now getting to surplus (which begs other overall 'eco' questions).

I was going to blog on this, but you really have covered most, so I'll piggy back.

I was at first keen on entering this contest, but having read what it was all about, plus the fee, soon lost interest: http://junkk.blogspot.com/2007/12/awards-sunday-times-best-green.html

These 'eco/green' specials, especially those with an award or ranking, are really getting quite out of control.

It's almost as if the media dept. is calling up editorial and saying 'hey, here's a way to make money. And oh, by the way, we can call it 'green', for extra kudos on us too!'

I have not read the articles in this latest issue (frankly one look and it became a duty rather than a joy to even spare it for subsequent professional review as opposed to personal interest), but I truly hope the editorial standards have not been shaped by who the sponsors are, as much as they have been in the past: http://junkk.blogspot.com/2007/12/he-who-pays-piper.html

On a purely subjective, creative note, I was also struck by how unutterably dull it all was. What was there to excite... motivate? I know it was a business insert, but the general public do read the ST too. This extra wadge of newsprint must have ended up straight to bi... er..recycling. Oh, the irony.

The shame of it is that it was... is a nice idea (once the rather disingenuous distinctions of the measures of merit used are resolved), and could have been great. Also that there are, doubtless, a few genuine folk in there who scraped together the necessary to compete and deserve a big up. But sadly, they are not finding themselves always in the 'best' company or, forgive me... 'environment'.

I have to say that I am starting to look at many 'green' awards, and many 'conferences/summits', as more methods to create income (often from those who can ill-afford the budgets) and/or drive spurious PR for those able to afford to enter or lobby the organisers and/or 'expert' judges they hire, which serves the worthy guys out there poorly indeed.

Uh-oh

Let me get this clear. I think the climate is behaving funny, and 'we' might not be helping.

So I advocate sensible precautions. And that includes funding research to make sure we're doing the right things in the right way, with the right amount of money, in the right timeframe.

That does not mean half the world being paid be the other half to come up with eco stuff.

Sadly, it seems that way. Which makes this a bit of a worry: 'Fewer hurricanes' as world warms

Last I heard , AGW/PMWNCC post-Katrina-wise, we were going to see more hurricanes (though this does suggest 'worse', with luck based on severity rather than death tolls, as the latter is spurious in a growing population scenario, especially coastally)). I know this might be tied into the 10+ year cooling, but it doesn't really help considering the previous narratives.

I await, with dread, how this will get reported/blogged.

Few editors lead with 'it's not that simple'

Reuters - Atlantic cyclones may decrease as globe warms: study

Flower Power

Just watched the BBC coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show, which is, apparently, taking note of climate change.

The eco theme this year (subsequent ones will be interesting as fashion is all about not being 'so last year') is laudable, but having watched aluminium rolls (so that's what my recycling old cans goes to make), plastic sheet wrapping plants that get rejected as not being perfect, and having just heard the reference to using hairdryers (to make plants blossom more quickly), I am having trouble getting my head around the notion. I bet the skips when it closes are also a treat.

This currently seems about as eco as our disastrous attendance at the Ideal Home Show a few years ago, when about 1% of the stands were actually anything to do with tangibly making a difference to the planet.

Everything has an eco-cost of course, and weighing the investment (with 'awareness' the vague cloud, that can be dark or light, hanging over all such efforts) is a horrible task, but much of what I saw looked more to do with winning by looking green rather than saving by being it.

Indy - Green fingers - I guess you had to be there

Indy - Environmental damage of Flower show -

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Money. Drain. Down?

Deserves its own post.

Some might find this of interest: Waste mounts as £100 billion web of quangos duplicates work

Which leads to this report

Amazing the mutual chums who emerge in there. Not just the overlapping entities but those who exist to support the money they get and disperse.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Build 'em up; shoot 'em down

I'm watching the BBC Breakfast News, where 'Supermarkets are accused of playing up the whole plastic bag issue'.

Hmn. I wonder who else was pretty high on the ban-wagon not so long ago?

I seem to recall endless features with various retail Sirs that seemed pretty supportive.

Now, as it seems some (ta-da!) have suggested that this was both trivial and a real distraction if not plain incorrect, the opportunity has been grabbed to now shout and scream in a totally different direction.

What I still do not see, or hear, is any sensible analyses of the actual best enviROI situations that should be embraced by the authority/manufacture/retailer cabal to work together so willing consumers can easily and sensibly cooperate.

Addendum 1:

Found the BBC URL : Plastic bag policy 'a diversion'

Also just watched a spokseman from Morrisons, Angus MacIver, pretty much take apart the bouffant's 'interview' questions. Oddly, it was cut short quick smart.

Addendum 2:

Just watched yet more on this. First up, the Minister in question, Joan Ruddock, is blithely saying the only reason for all this is that it is 'popular'. No worries bout it being right. And I really dislike being told that I, as a part of the 'public', support this. How the heck does she know?

There was also a twofer. One was a spokesman from the Carrier Bag Consortium, and the other a Green rep. from the London Assembly.

What astounds me is how, after all this time, the two could state and/or exchange facts (such as the success, or otherwise, of the Irish experience - which the assemblyman seems to have included in a world fact-finding tour. No irony there) with, still, no definitive evidence one way or the other.

This, to a bewildered consumer, is PATHETIC, on the part of those in authority, in government, quango and media.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Share and share alike

It's Friday. My back hurts, my RSI is like sherbet in my veins and I'm clocking off.

So as one kind reader has shared, so do I, and my making a comment-free link we maintain cleanliness on our hands, other than to say it's often not the message that matters so much as the messenger...

OH YOU HIPPY-CRITES: HOW GREEN ARE THE LEGIONS OF HOLIER- THAN-THOU STARS?

I at least have a new word to add to the lexicon.

More on Hydrogen.....

....from Guardian CIF. The piece argues that Hydrogen fueled planes are a possibility, but it is perhaps all the more interesting for the comments that it has generated.

Make some noise!

Or... don't.

DEFRA have produced an online map of the country's noise pollution.

On balance, an... 'interesting' idea.

I just don't see it being very practical, hence useful, hence being used. I wonder how much it cost... and will cost to maintain. Versus a bloke with a mic. going out on demand.

BBC - Maps chart noise in urban areas

PRESS RELEASE -

(DEFRA) Detailed noise maps available at the click of a mouse -

A new Defra website provides maps showing the level of environmental noise from major industries, road and rail networks in 23 urban areas in England.

The information, covering 80,000 km of roads within urban areas, 28,000 km of major road networks and almost 5,000 km of railways, will be used to draw up action plans to reduce unreasonable levels of noise, where practical. In urban areas these will also include measures to protect designated quiet areas.

Users are able to search by postcode to access maps that show noise levels over an average 24 hour period, as well as during night time hours only. The site also includes information on the number of people exposed to these levels of noise. All member states have to produce maps under the EU Environmental Noise Directive.

Note: An agglomeration is defined by the regulations which implement the directive as a continuous urban area of more than 20 hectares with a population of more than 250,000 and a population density of more than 500 persons per square kilometre. The boundaries of the agglomeration do not necessarily match those of the local authority with the same name. In some cases the area mapped goes wider than the local authority area, in others areas have not been mapped because the population density was below the threshold level.

The following gives a guide to typical noise levels:

Level Noise Description

dB(A)
120 Threshold of pain
95 Pneumatic drill (un-silenced at 7m distance)
94 Fast Train (180 km/h, behind yellow line on station platform)
83 Heavy diesel lorry (40 km/h at 7m distance)
81 Modern twin-engine jet (at take-off at 152m distance)
70 Passenger car (60 km/h at 7m distance)
60 Office environment
50 Ordinary conversation
40 Library
35 Quiet bedroom
0 Threshold of hearing

The alternatives are out there...

The other night I watched a very inspiring programme on the SKY documentary channel about alternative energy innovations.

And I must say I was impressed, not just by the number, but also the quality of ideas on display.

One that caught may attention was a unique wind turbine design that really seemed had a lot going for it, but a US designer called Bill Becker.

I attach here the Google page I called up as there's a lot to wade through, and there may even be pros and cons, but I just wanted to get it logged now while fresh in my mind.

Medium shows; don't trust media (or quangos)

Found an interesting site recently, attracted by a debate on some rather spectacular waste stats:

BBC More or Less - Going to waste?

Let's just say that, in their 'enthusiasm' to make a problem look a lot worse some, such as The Independent and WRAP, are seen by the BBC to have been less than rigorous in confirming, or fully explaining their facts.

So says the BBC (it's a few minute slot at the end of 20 -odd). And in this case, I'll say I see merit in their investigations. We're talking numbers that go from 1/3 to 1/5 in the blink of a rational challenge, and factors of 100 wrong.

Me, I don't have £3.5B (or even £50M) to play with, so I don't know, so I simply share what I read... and crank the necessary eyebrow where and when appropriate.

Eco-woe word of the day is....

....... 'Barbarisation'. Its a new term on me, but I did kind of understand what he meant once I'd read through the article in the Guardian.

Loads more doom and gloom!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And the award for the most useless solar invention

......... goes to this madcap idea reported by ITN News.

Jeez. What a complete and utter waste of time!

Barking, and I don't just mean the councils

Just watched BBC Breakfast, and while I often accuse them of being lightweight, the male presenter referred to a 'police state'.

They had on a very nervous and poorly-prepared 'spokesperson' on, and not from an LA but one the endless quangos there are that exist to act as a bridge between the public and those who impose these daft initiatives. The big conclusion was less than inspiring:

Sorry, 'good communications' is not going to help very much when there is an official culture of 'fine first' backed by aggressive, ill-conceived legislation.

I am afraid the poor chap from Wastewatch was hardly convincing or reassuring that these 'isolated incidents' will abate.

And speaking of waste, is the suggested mitigation money well spent in defence of the environment, or just meeting yet targets? What next, personal rubbish sorters to add to compost advisors in the legions of snoops and assessors in the name, if not practice of green?

This is just going to set the public against any sensible initiatives. The beancounters and box-tickers have gone barking mad.

Addendum - I just heard the slot repeated, and apparently the council official in question justified their stance on the basis that 'they have to save the planet'. Do what? I applaud a lot that leads to sensible recycling, but this is utter tosh.

Daily Express - NEW BIN TAX BOMBSHELL -

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More from Bjorn Lomborg.....

.... in an interview with the US based National Review.

Lomborg, as ever, is advocating getting priorities in the right order. Worth a quick perusal.

ET, offset your trip home

Green aliens and UFOs said to visit UK

Sadly, not the latest salvo in the advocacies we are getting from all quarters to be more environmental, as even those who flatten crops (how does that help, again?) do... they just are that colour.

To infinity... and the hell with the emissions!

Time to join the 350 club?

This article from Axis Of Logic is a very sobering comment on the state of our biosphere's atmosphere, specifically with regard to the increasing levels of CO2, and the consequences seen already on rainfall patterns. The article repeatedly uses the phrase 'without historical precedent' to make some very key points, and suggests that mankind is approaching dusk on planet earth in terms of human history.

Well worth a read, and maybe, if you feel strongly enough, time to join the 350 club?

Wildcatting in West Sussex?

The cost of crude oil seems to be bringing about a new rush to seek out additional oil reserves. We've seen Dubbya urging the big oil boys to restart exploration in Alaska, and I read an article the other day which stated that many of the US southern states were seeing the return of the 'wild-catters', commencing a new rush into exploratory drilling on a small scale. Well, now it would appear that it is happening on our side of the big pond too!

As a Geologist by original academic training, I could never understand why the UK had never really exploited what had been known for decades to be small oil bearing structures dotted around our once green and pleasant land. Maybe it was just that such small reserves were simply never commercially viable, but perhaps this is the start of a new exploration era?

Full story from the Telegraph. Let's hope the potential environmental consequences are carefully monitored, managed and controlled? But, errrrrm, just when did that ever happen regarding black gold..........

Indy - NEW - Permit for oil well in South Downs is 'act of vandalism' Ya think? (Junkk Male)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Air kisses all round

Ethical fashion. So far I have resisted giving it a category, as I can't bring myself to validate it, or those who toy with the notions on a whim.

The green dream

If you are really serious, make do. And pass the balance on to those who can do the most with it to help those who really need it. Not some ditsy designer whose brain is so 'this week' and happens to think green is in for now.

Newsnight - Another angle, and I have revised a previous piece to respond to what I saw.

If cheap supermarket clothing is 'unethical', why is it legally available for sale in this country? Hence JP and Mistress76Uk's prosecution notion would have teeth.
If 'ethics' are simply a matter of labour conditions (which I don't think they are, as the actual definition seems a tad loose), would this not fall under the ethical foreign policies this government espouses?
If so, there should be rules, so those of us without the time (or the single track mindset to pursue pet issues and decide it is the only one there is - or a production company with yet another reality snapshot concept in the name of green flying (air miles is so last week) a bunch of whinging teens (selected how?) out to have their notions changed over a short period before getting back to 'normality' (and TV 'fame') as the media machine turns to the next 'issue'. Will every £2 T-shirt now come with a return flight to Mumbai?) can be confident that our consumer choices in this country are all they could and should be.
If that carries an extra cost to us here, that we are happy to sustain, so be it. Fair wages for all, and a Tata in every driveway.
And it can be a matter for our elected representatives to control, with oversight by media and activist groups to highlight, with the people's mandate.
Anything in excess of what the country decides upon can of course be voted upon with wallets and personal choice... 'every time one goes into a shop' (how often do the two teen fashionista typical 'shoppers' do this still?) to buy clothes.

I just hope the decision-making process is better informed than some on such as biofuels or food miles, which have worked so well on the liberal guilt ethics of Middle England, but perhaps not so well on the ground elsewhere.

As with food labelling, I am intrigued as to what form this consumer information suggested will take to be of any use: 'Made in a sweat shop by 5 year olds' seems unlikely, so what form is proposed?

ps: Caroline Flint - Gaffe... my a**e.

Government's secret fears over housing market exposed by minister gaffe
Too much to hope it was deliberate.
Or are we really being run by people this thick? Buy the silly b...abe a folder.
Next time it could be a matter of national security.

Here's a thought

Stumbled across this: Time to Waste: Tackling the landfill challenge

From an outfit called the New Local Government Network

I tend to avoid 'think-tanks' like the plague, but will monitor these guys.

See no evil, hear no evil, s... ay whatever works

Green speak

Green (as a prefix to anything): a reason to be very dubious that there's any actual benefit to our kids' futures unless you can fully trust the coiner to not be motivated by political advantage, the lust for income, the desire to secure a nice little number, or drive up a rating.

Grid and bear it?

National Grid powers up for new energy

Is there something I don't know about the future that I get offered deals in the UK in $?

At the rate of exchange I am not sure I am keen.