Friday, October 31, 2008

TOG news

Yesterday I had another insight into the confusion on green issues that we all face.

En route to a meeting, I listened to the BBC radio news, with a story about our seabird population.

Not good. Seems they are in a dire state, and this can be traced back to the state of their principal food source, sand eels. And this... is due to global warming.

Oh dear.

Thing is, just 15 minutes later the DJ, Terry Wogan (somewhat of a rebellious spirit to the corporate agenda, like they don't have enough already) read out an email on this story (though without any reference to the news slot just read out) from a listener of unknown professional provenance that the sand eel reductions were nothing to do with climate, but more at the door of Danish fleets 'hoovering them up' (the term used) for animal feed and even, ironically, to be used as an alternative source of fuel.

Now, as a listener, in one quarter of an hour I had two diametrically opposite reasons provided for the fact of sand eel reductions over the airwaves and am currently none the wiser as to which is anything like the accurate one.

Now, I hate to say it, but there has to be a problem that when it comes to read any old press releases by charities that cite 'global warming', the track record of this £3.5B, multi-tens of thousand strong (analysts, researchers, etc) national broadcast entity is a bit suspect, and the net result of all this has been to cast more doubt on anything the BBC comes out with on science issues.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I don't design the 2012 Mascot

London 2012 Olympic mascot: Calling all entries

Dear Sir,

I hadn't realised, by virtue of not reading 'the brief' until now (the point pre-deadline I'd logged in my PC), that this was a search for an agency.

And much as a showcase in the Guardian is attractive, exposing one's brainpower to a potentially profitable property without being more certain of the rewards is unattractive.

Not likely to be a problem bearing in mind the entity involved in the real deal is a committee of worthies from an 'interestingly relevant' set of backgrounds, who don't do bland and yet came up with the whatever it is.

Hence, and rather than submit any doodles, may I instead make a suggestion?

Whatever this 'thing' is, in light of the eco-stance that will form a major part of the games, and the likely frugal, waste-sparing nature of most visitors during this period, rather than piece of useless tat Made in China that serves no function, the brief requires that in addition to being all a mascot needs to be, it is designed to do more than sit on a desk or ending up in a drawer.

Now, having set such a brief, and knowing all the potential manifestations it will need to satisfy in 2 & 3D, in the time left I can't imagine how to fulfill it.


But I would suggest a good start is a hole. You can use it to hang onto things, or things from.

Let the designs begin!


One less reason to shop...?

Has the the lucky Rabbits' foot that is struck again?

Well, for some.

Now, I'd be hard-pressed to say our little effort in Ross is much more than a drop in the ocean, but our local Morrison's has run out of Let's Grow vouchers.

Just popped over to get the boys' lunch, and as the cashier handed me my bill I smiled and asked for my vouchers, too.

"We've run out', she said.

'Well, what do I do to get them,' I asked.... "See the supervisor".

Oddly, I had only got a few words out before this lady was in full 'It's not my fault" mode.

They've run out, they didn't get any more and at this stage (it ends Nov. 6) there may not be any. No offer to log my receipt in case they do.

Now.... I don't know much about marketing, but that rather smacks of a bit of poor planning and rather suspect customer relations at head office.

Happy to play our part in making the scheme a success. Shame we seem unlikely to get any more vouchers, mind.

Anyway, every little bit helps. And maybe we did, a bit, too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

GOOD PACK: BAD PACK - Turkish less than delightful

From our recent hols... not the best example of packaging ever!

Boeing, Boeing..

Timeframes can be problematic.

Biofuel flying will take off in three years, says Boeing

When these guys, and celeb supporters like Richard Branson, though biofuels were the answer, few would have argued.

Now it is a new ball game.

ps: note 'Will' turns to 'Could'

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Friend's Electric... still emission free?

Just had to write to the BBC Politics Show:

Watching your pre-recorded segment on electric cars.

As I am sure 'experts' such as Mr. 'Monbeeay' [a pronunciation that I have not heard before] will confirm, I don't think it accurate to say that these efforts are 'zero' or 'emission free'.

The exhaust pipe is just in another place.

I am unsure what I am being sold here, but with the BBC selling it with their usual fine grasp of the science and commitment to looking across the issues objectively, I am pretty sure there will be a pup involved.

Now, how many fluffy reporterettes will we get serving up a blatant bit of inaccurate information in this regard before our national broadcaster gets its technical/science act together.

Gaurdian - £100m road to electric motoring ... police, post office and politicians step off the gas

Love the bit about free parking by Greenpeace. I think they might have missed the whole revenue aspect of governance. Plus the point of reduction. Maybe they all have G-Wiz' already and fancy a freebie? While it lasts.....


As a key aspect in domestic emissions (and energy costs), this deserves a break out category.


Guardian - Tread lightly: Install a condenser boiler
Times - Market for eco heating keeps warming up
Times - NEW - Stoves - energy efficient heating




DirectGov -


More telling me what I should think

Perhaps more for El Burro Hotay, but I did not like the way this was heading...

Sarah Palin: her clothes, her shoes and her odd attitude to facts

Every Sunday I pop over to get a summary of issues on matters environmental from the major papers.

And what do I get? Quelle surprise. A rambling diatribe about an aspiring VP in a foreign election, replete with trivia and gossip.

But hey ho, I guess there is some possible relevance to be found...

'...her denial of man-made global warming was in marked contrast to John McCain's acceptance of it...'

FWIW, I thought she had expressed a view along the lines that she was not yet convinced that mankind was totally responsible for negative climate change.

A freedom of thought, and acceptance of others' right to have such a view, that some might find refreshingly less dogmatic than others who are not dependent on votes to be in a position to promote what some in certain positions are convinced is the only 'correct' view.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY - It must be true, it's in the BBC!

Newsnight supports folk who support the Junkk ethos.... ish.

"Craftsmanship is the way forward. It's perfect for the credit crunch. Things like knitting and so on are very important and very English. It's definitely a good time to start making your own things" - Henry Conway, fashionista son of Tory MP Derek Conway.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An insight?

As to whether it, and the responses it has garnered, bode well is another matter:

Obsessed with saving the planet? There are worse fates

Rising to the challenge

To good to miss, really...

The great green swindle

A genuine question, but how well vetted for 'wash' are the ads that appear on this page, if not the entire Guardian site?

Great to set a bar, and a high one, but it would be best to ensure that it doesn't get knocked off by the judges. And allow critics further opportunities to chip away at 'green' advocacy.

Not greenwash, per se, and not a great example as their claims are, one presumes, verifiable, but even as I glance at the top of the page I have to crank an eyebrow that "You don't have to leave my car at home to save fuel" by fitting a Michelin tyre. They might be indeed, but I'd be hard pressed to use less on a journey with them than not taking one at all.

Equally not overt greenwash, but glancing to the side bar on a piece about corporate attitudes to eco-marketing, I am not sure that selling a paper by carrying an ad that suggests one might win a skiing holiday to Banff sends out the most coherent, or best message.

Anyway, good luck to them with their mission. Along with others I am sure, I'll be watching. Maybe even contributing, too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

YouTube Videos

Just got my act together on some video archiving on YouTube, and thought it worth listing here too:


Green is Good - with thanks to Clikingo, and Kipp & Cody

A quick intro to the site - with thanks to Clikingo

The 12 E-Ways of Christmas - with thanks to Phoenix J


The initial 'pitch' - with thanks to iMovie

A later pitch to a 'Dragon's Den - via - Didn't work. Still could... here 2

Monday, October 20, 2008

NEWSLETTER - September and a half

Still getting to grips with the new system.

What's not so great is a few folk have written to say the links don't work.

This is really odd. The system itself tests every which way, including pictures and links, and then before sending out to those on the opt-in mailing list I send to some test emails scattered about here.

All worked, from a Mac on OSX/Safari to PCs running FireFox/IE. Can't suss it.

Anyway, just in case it didn't work for you, and the link to the online version did not link (well, it wouldn't I guess) either, or you are just surfing this blog and might be interested (if you like it sign up by registering at!) then here it is.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Time, and tide, and...

I actually missed all of the originals these letters refer to today:

IoS letters, emails & texts (19 October 2008)

However they serve as worthy reminders to take anything in the world of green you read with a pinch of salt (especially in 'major' media), and avoid coming to any conclusions until you have seen a broad variety of opinions, and then take a wee while to see how they shape up.

ps: all here are put pieces in the jigsaw still

Careful what you wish for

An article which got me on board, at least initially...

Miliband's blueprint for greener homes

And that was despite stumbling over this early on...

'The drive has the full backing of the Prime Minister, who has decided that promoting energy saving should be...'

However, I knew I was in a differnt place when I got here:

10 ways to a more energy-efficient house

Eco hat - sounds good. No link. Google is my friend.

Ground source (or geothermal) heat pump - would prefer more info on this

Air source heat pump - ditto

Hydro turbine - I am a fan, but planning is a zoo

Energy meter - well yes, but while a Wattson is very cute, it is not the only one and about as expsnive vs. others as you can find. London rules showing though?

Triple-glazed window - ROI & enviROI?

Biomass burning boiler - I am tempted, if only to get Mr. Putin off my back.

Underfloor heating - new build? Or dig up my stone floor?

Solar-powered charger - just assess hwo long the panel will last. Most are cheap and don't.

Wind turbine - er.... this option is really under challenge on both ROI and enviROI.

and what you should be doing already

Using energy-efficient lightbulbs - OK

Turning down your thermostat by at least 1C - OK

Switching to a green energy supplier - er....

Making sure your home – including potentially wasteful areas such as the loft space – is well insulated - OK

Turning off appliances such as computers and televisions when they not in use, rather than leaving them on standby - depending on...

Using energy-efficient washing machines and fridge-freezers - er...

Getting a free Home Energy check by logging on to - if it helps, go for it


But it's worth sharing other, related stuff as it comes our way:


Guardian - UK's first nappy recycling plant - Must apply for a job(by). Hey, it's not before time!

Letsrecycle - Firm seeks site for first UK nappy recycling plant

Telegraph - NEW - Nappies: terry cloth more environmentally-friendly than disposable

Times - NEW - Blow to image of ‘green’ reusable nappy - Guess it depends on where you read?

Times - NEW - Washable nappies greener than disposables, suggests report - and, indeed, who



Real Nappy Campaign -
Women's Enviromental Network -

Suppliers is of course quite in the... er.. thick of this, via a local relationship with aptly-named Green Nappies.

Anything that gets out of the deep doo-doo that our little future generations can crank out!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

AWARD - The MediaGuardian Innovation Awards

er... who sez*?

WHEN: Dec 5
WHAT: The MediaGuardian Innovation Awards
WHAT... MORE?: The Awards are open to innovative work in any media or across a variety of media. There are 14 Awards categories each seeking to reward the mould breakers, scene shifters and upstarts in the media industry.

COMMENTS: You never know. *Assuming reuse counts, too.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Worth a ponder or, well, four trillion

I certainly would prefer it go to some of these vs. a pol's pension or City type's bonus.

What would the bank-bail out money buy for the environment?

RE:pair - IT - Answer - Fixing a Mac monitor

Just dashing this out, having scrabbled about for answers to include in the next newsletter.

I really need a better system! And help. And...

Qu: From Junketeer Susan:

'Hi. I have a 17inch Apple monitor which has about a minute to live. Any ideas where it can go to be mended/refurbished and reused?'

Ans: You don't mention where you are located so I can only respond in general terms.

The sad fact is, of course, that repair is seldom cost effective. But that doesn't mean it's not worth trying.

For instance, here in our neck 'o the woods, Herefordshire, I have found a shop which still does just that. In fact just a few weeks ago I took in a TV (which is a CRT monitor in most ways that matter) that didn't work, and now it does. £49, done and dusted. Here's their email:

If you're not in the area then I am sure there might be a similar outfit around. Google is your friend!

You could also try any of the Mac resources from . , ,

If it is 'worse than that, it's dead, Jim', or still dying without much hope, then the best you can do is dispose. Your local council site (dump) may well have a dedicated section for this, and even a site (URL) to guide you before making the trip. This will be a one way trip to the knacker's yard, though.

One resort is of course to let another try. Hence an honest post on any one of these from may get a hit and find it's gone to a better home. No money, but a warm and fuzzy glow at least... a bit like the last time it worked as it should?;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Auto default

Can you be a green petrolhead?

Agree on most. Especially on the size of machine required. A point a few of our green-auto advocates who need 6litre Hummers and 7-series Beemers still miss, even if they stick h2 in 'em to show their eco-cred.

But do cut those poor Americans, especially the teenagers, a wee bit of slack. (Oops, I forgot the host of this blog)

I haven't been there too often, but in many states they can't drink 'til they are 21, in others where there are reasonable, practical public transport systems it's no diff to London (Centre of the Universe), but in some places there's the small matter of most living in a country that is the same distance across as it is from here to Turkey.

Aside from the money, and the logistics and a few other things, if you live in a county where some kids need to travel often scores of miles to get in to school/cinema/etc, it's hard to imagine how else they would do it.

With those Yellow bus jobbies they seem to have the school run better sorted than we do here. As to the rest, if you can re-shoot Bullitt with a Prius...

Trailer Trash

Green film festival: the best clips

I almost switched off when I saw some odd movie with Ricky Gervais in it.

But then it clicked. Trailer... then Trash.

I was interested in 'Garbage! The revolution starts at home'

Not now.

This is old territory. We are trying to inspire folk and get the majority onside. A 'P-EU' rant is not going to do that, sorry.

If this is one of the best... oh, dear.

FWIW, my family has barely thrown out anything in several years. Thing is, we separate it out and either Green Cone, compost... or reuse (a few things piling up that have us currently stumped).

No stinky. No messy. Much savey. Even a bit of ma£ey.

Maybe I should film it. And then fly, Irony Air, to get my award in Turin.


Messages... and messengers

Piers Morgan solves energy crisis

I was driving to a meeting today (Oh, the irony. However, I did stop off at Ledbury to check out how to get to Brum or London in a more eco and possibly cheaper way... IF the train runs) and listening to the Jeremy Vine show.

It was about charity reverting to home.

Usual wind up. In the stir-up corner was Kelvin McKenzie saying 'sod the rest; Brit is best'.

Against him were lined up at least three fragrant ladies who obviously lunch, but also do good works for 'those less fortunate'. They were very much of the view that more aid rather than less was the order of the day. Folk were starving (true), it wasn't their fault (true. Well, at least the starving ones. I keep seeing nice limos when the Pres lobs up) and 'it's all down to global warming'.

Now, on that last one I am still in a jury that is out. However that all of them opened their pitch with 'I have just got back from flying around...', irony-free, to my mind did not help what else they uttered.

Some are just more equally allowed to 'study the situation' than others, I guess.

Oh, what a state(sperson)

Finding a climate for growth

As to the agreeable (new adjective du jour?:) Mr. Brown, it might be worth looking back and seeing what he has said (or, more likely open-endedly mis- or possibly not spoke) vs. what he has done, on most things but in particular anything to do with my kids' futures on this planet.

As to the awesome thought and authority that has gone in to this... "This is not the time to abandon a climate change agenda which is important for the future... The climate change agenda is part of the solution for many of the problems we face as a world economy"... well, I bet those words stopped all those rowing in their tracks with their substance, depth, detail and insight.

But at least some, somewhere, will be happy. 'We' have yet another, brand new target. Apparently.

Let the lobbyists out of the traps and the subsidies flow!

Telegraph - Ed Miliband promises less hot air

Well, when it comes to assessing talent, everything is relative I suppose. Is there a bar on the shores of the Dead Sea?

Newsnight -

You know what I found most telling about Mr. Miliband (the Even Younger)'s vox pop was his acknowledging that he, and indeed most, involved would not be around in 2050.

For a pol today, that is enough for me to know that a) it ain't going to happen, but b) a lot of folk are going to see target-based careers enhanced and/or making a load of money in the short term looking like they are trying.

Meanwhile, this is another press release that I imagine is already filed.

If we are going to be exposed to this government's latest whirly wheeze, and especially with a ringing stamp of 'You're all doing very well, aren't I' from Young PM Queeg, might we at least have a bit of historical context from the last decade to see how the latest claims might stand up and/or work out.

INdy - Loophole in minister's new emissions target - Rather sets the tone: like "telling everyone you're going on a calorie-controlled diet but not counting cream cakes".

Guardian - Can Ed Miliband deliver?

Guardian - Post-bubble possibility

Guardian - Saving the economy or saving the planet is not an either-or

See, there I was, getting all awed by the massive brainpower and seduced by the compelling skills of persuasion that score one the big bucks in the halls of power, and then I got to this:

"I am confident that we have the bold and challenging leadership we need."

I am sure you are, dear.

Is the Guardian now in the business of posting job applications as well?

At least the posts in reply made the energy consumed reading on worthwhile.

Guardian - Another green dream?

I am continually amazed by the way some manage to divorce 'Britain' from its 'government' - especially in terms of words and deeds carried out in its name - and the 'people' who in theory have given their mandates through 'votes' to others, especially to blow their money in their name via taxes.

Telegraph - Ed Miliband, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, has his work cut out

Indy - Miliband's blueprint for greener homes - while I was on board with much here, some of the suggestions do fail on my current enviROI measures, and hence rather colour the overall thing with a wash of green.

Guardian - On our present course, the bold new carbon target is worthless

When one's course is set by PM Queeg of the U.S Less 'I feel your pain (well, the pay, perks and pension might help ease it a bit)', cheered on at every repeated Titanic iceberg-ramming by a collection of Westminster Useful Village Idiots already nice and comfy in the few lifeboats, I must say 'worthless' is what first sprang to mind, too.

This is one mutineer ready to sign up on this 'ship in a state'.

Guardian - The greening of Brown

So, if I read the first para right it is basically: 'A distracting chance to just look good to your mates in high places whilst blowing yet more on saying a lot but again doing b-all'.

If his 'towering intellect' hadn't understood and/or got interested until now, then he's a few gigawatts short of a becalmed wind farm.

You damn the man with the faintest of praise.

Indy - Rebels to force climate change Bill concessions

I'd just be happy with a world-class climate my kids can enjoy.

But hey-ho....

Unleash the targets, crank up the bonuses and let the box-ticking commence!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pedal power

I have had cause to be less than impressed with this 'writer' before.

Let by this 'A cab driver's blog has criticised the Public Carriage Office for allowing tourist rickshaws on the capital's streets' I got to:

Against rickshaws

An interestingly economical form of written communication, but we've established before where the 'journalism' aspect figures.

And obviously remuneration is not by the word (at time of writing they were: 'Cabbies are' ... or is it?

Wonder where Ken or, more relevantly I suppose Boris would stand on this eco vs. econo. vs. safety issue.

Guess we'll never know.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Go figure

It's a list. In a paper. Of the top 100 enviromentalists.

The IoS Green List: Britain's top 100 environmentalists

If they (who?) say so. Fills a page or two, I guess.

I wonder what the criteria were? Volume? Being in (or luvv'd) in London? Applying mine of achieving better enviROI does come up with a rather different result.

I know more, doing more, within 20 miles of here.

ps: No 99. I think it's a water butt? But, then again, maybe not.


But just when you thought the trendy luvvie media had lost the green plot...

20 great green designs

Some are great. So I am just glad this is not claiming the best. Give 'em time, mind.

Department Next

Ed Miliband, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, has his work cut out

Interesting analysis, but the replies are worth a scope.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

AWARD - Shell Springboard 2008

: Friday Nov 7
WHAT: Shell Springboard 2008
WHAT... MORE?: A programme that provides a financial boost to innovative, low carbon business ideas from across the UK. The idea behind the programme is that the business response to climate change should not be all about compliance and cost. There is a huge business opportunity if society is to move from a carbon-constrained world.

The criteria for those businesses which apply are very simple. Applications will be considered if the product or service will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emmissions, is commercially viable and is innovative.
COMMENTS: Been going a while. We keep entering, too. Like Robert the Bruce's spider... one day! And yes, we do know that they are an oil company. Thing is, we don't go around telling folk what not to do all the time... so whatever gets the dosh to DO good... we'll live with them trying to PR it.

AWARD - Google Project 10 to the power 100

Awards , eh? Famine, then fest. Or, as we are talking numbers: 38 busses.

: Oct 20th, 2008...soon!
WHAT: Google Project 10 to the power 100


Community: How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?
Opportunity: How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?
Energy: How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?
Environment: How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?
Health: How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?
Education: How can we help more people get more access to better education?
Shelter: How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?
Everything else: Sometimes the best ideas don't fit into any category at all.


Reach: How many people would this idea affect?
Depth: How deeply are people impacted? How urgent is the need?
Attainability: Can this idea be implemented within a year or two?
Efficiency: How simple and cost-effective is your idea?
Longevity: How long will the idea's impact last?

COMMENTS: It really is hard to see a down side. Remember... do no harm! Actually, keeping thinking of ways to do good, better.

One mighty suck for mankind

Newsnight -

Speaking of sucking...

'Susan Watts reports on a radical new approach designed to stop climate change. Confused?'

As I look out of my window at a lovely autumn taking over from summer (well, what passed for one), I simply ask that whatever man-made effort is made to mitigate (if at all possible and affordable) the power of what man might not be helping much as nature does her thing, I'd still like the climate to change a bit, please.

It's complex, and so easy for us all to get confused, I guess. But while dealing with possibly addressing possibly/probably man-worsened negative climate change is a rallying cry I could get behind, the shorter version used here is about as much use as Global Warming is... was.

Guess we should ask all those chaps I saw on the news recently who are going up to the Antarctic to race about how it's all going. Maybe when they meet the eco-racers driving round the country to see how little fuel they can use?

At least the atmospheric Deep Throat (one mighty suck for mankind) hoover sounds a bit more like DOING than talking, but I do worry about relative %ages near the things. Harking back to my A level sciences, if you suck all the C02 out locally and hence cause an osmotic (or is that fluids?) gradient towards them, won't that monkey around with the natural balances of the various gasses that make up air?

And is that a good thing?

I know it looked nifty (if in reverse) in Total Recall, but it's just that 'we' have not proven over nifty in our meddling with nature before.


It's about economics, but I sensed an interesting aspect...

Iceland would be mad to join the EU

As it cropped up at the end there, though not perhaps as a major point, I got to wondering about Iceland's energy independence.

Bearing in mind that it is, as far as I am aware, quite isolated from the vagaries of this aspect of economic development, is it just that they have been so profligate elsewhere that their commitment to renewables has not helped much?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Civil exchanges online. A rare pleasure.

I got a reply (well, with a few score others) from a celeb jounro!

The piece in question is below, and I'd popped in a sarky one liner more to keep the author on his toes. He's better than most in the green arena, though can, has, does and will still err on being a bit 'thee and me' in the who's in and who's out of Greeleet VIPdom.

But I did swing to his defence a wee while ago when he came out the the nuclear bunker. Not so much for the nuclear bit, but for his right to speak.

Green shoots of recovery

I was just teasing (some of these posts can come across as a bit worthy), and actually really appreciate the fact that an author here a) reads what they have set in motion and, b) better yet takes the time to reply/engage. Few do. Major kudos.


Oct 08 08, 3:18pm

- Junkketeer - We're talking pretty small beer, just a Shares ISA. Without revealing my entire personal finances, I ain't rich, despite having written a couple of excellent books which everyone on this site really ought to rush off and buy. (there, I have shown there is no better thing than repeated publicity)

- youngpretender - you're quite right, of course. RBS is horrible, and their investments in fossil fuels are indefensible. I'll offload those (small quantity of) shares just as soon as they regain some value...'

I, too, am pondering the penning of a eco-book, with all the recycled, natural-inked, 'just had to fly there to find out how flying there was killing us' pitfalls.

But with this being the Grauniad and all, and there being about 20 articles daily on what to do and, more controversially what NOT to do (or else) du jour, it must surely have occurred that fronting up on investing in a company that invests... etc.. was kind of what a lot of folk get lambasted for/finger-waved at by commentators here all the time. Bit like Mr. Monbiot lobbing up (he didn't I hope) in his new motor for the 'hundreds drive round the UK in cars to show how much fuel we can save by being more careful driving' irony event winner today.

Especially if many seem to figure they'll just have one last, wafer-thin PR-jolly to Antarctica to see.. er ... report on how tourism is killing the polar bears before the ice melts. Or hell freezes over. Or those shares gain enough value so a profit can be made first before any enviro-breast-beating kicks in on a per word basis.

Ain't easy, is it, caring about the future but also trying to be pragmatic? Keep up the good work.

You could always ask Aunty...

... his tame PR arm.

Is Richard Branson a green hypocrite -- or just a bad businessman?

We have always advocated Gold from Green

A certain retailer decides that you can save green in more ways than one by hooking up with, and...

Poundland escapes high street pounding to post bumper results

Coincidence? Who is to say? But whatever it is, it's a happy one we're thrilled to share:)

If nothing else (and, FWIW, we think there is more... lots more), we seem to be very lucky in, with and for the company we keep.

And you know what Napoleon looked for first in his Generals?


Another thanks to Martin of EnviroAbility

WHEN: Closing date for entries is 31 October, 2008
WHAT... MORE?: Aimed at helping ordinary people find solutions to environmental problems, the Prize was launched ten years ago and is recognized as a prestigious international initiative, attracting entries from around the world. The Prize is a joint initiative between the University of St Andrews and international energy company ConocoPhillips.
Below is a brief description of the Prize. If you know of anyone who would be interested in applying or an organisation that could see a benefit in hosting a link to the Prize website, please forward.

Are you doing something for the environment? The 2009 St Andrews Prize for the Environment is open to entrants from anywhere in the world. The winner will receive $75,000 USD and two runners-up will each receive $25,000 USD.

The Prize recognises significant contributions to environmental conservation and since its launch in 1998 has attracted entries from more than 50 countries each year on diverse topics including;

sustainable development in the Amazon rainforest
urban regeneration
health and water issues
renewable energy

Submissions for the annual prize are assessed by a panel of eminent trustees representing science, industry and government with the award going to the project the Trustees consider displays the best combination of good science, economic realism and political acceptability.

HOW MUCH: Looks free. Yay!
COMMENTS: We figure we're in the a left filed entry on recycling...ish.
Note... it is international. If you win and knock us off, think of who told you:) Heck, if you win in those other categories, still think of us!

Maybe they don't know what they are?

Nearly half of FTSE-250 companies keep their carbon footprints hidden

Bet they all have awesome CSR reports, though.

IRONY ALERT - Driving misers crazy

It's a tricky one.

Competition throughout history has driven innovation, and innovation in driving is the competition here.

However, I had to crank a slight eyebrow at a piece on the news today about a driving competition that is based on the lightest foot winning.

I would just wish that there had (if there was I missed it) been a slight tilt towards the fact that, whatever the awareness, there are still an awful lot of cars gadding about the country burning fuel. It's better, but to me still erring on F1 trying to allude to eco-status by thinking about bio-fuels.

So far all I have gleaned as a consequence is that a smaller car uses less fuel, plus if you don't accelerate or break hard. Well, D'uh.

I do wonder what box-ticking effort this latest exercise in awareness might really be serving.

Addendum - Just watched the lunch news. The objective is, apparently, 'to use the least fuel'.

I wrote in and asked if, as a local participant (they went past my home), I could claim a prize, as my car used sod all fuel today as I didn't get in it.

Sadly, no reply. But fear not, this is so popular that there are plans for many more. Gaia breathes easier, I am sure.

Addendum 2 - Just watching the BBC Breakfast News about some noble race or other across the Antarctic. I am sure TV show and book to follow.... on BBC Worldwide.

Now, I am all for all these 'higher, faster, stronger' celebrations of the human spirit, but do wonder how the irony alert gets disconnected because some staffers are on to plug the thing.

Were we not being lambasted for how all we are up to is messing up the wildlife in colder climes? And how do all these guys and their teams get there... kayak?

I am still trying to get my head round yesterday's well-publicised 'eco'-race (one of many to come, apparently. Maybe F1 will get in on the act) where hundreds of folk drive around the country to show how little petrol they used. I was the clear winner by not going out at all in my car, and if I did only for something I really needed it for.

Consistency, Aunty, consistency. Next you'll be vying for a slot on Virgin Galactic... oh.

Join Captn. Fishtock's 'Polar Bears need more settees to rest on icebergs' now!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

OCO to monitor CO2

Reported on, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) [hey, isn't that yet another CO2 molecule?], to be launched in 2009, is going to gather and monitor planetary wide data with the objective of providing a high resolution global map of CO2.

It all sounds highly intriguing and extremely complex, but, hopefully, will provide some much needed genuine empirical data.

Just love the conclusion ...... "Understanding what might happen is essential. Even if we don’t like the answers."

In the midst of all the financial doom and gloom....

... you can always trust the genius that is Matt of the Daily Telegraph to come up with a slant that will make you smile.

Have press card, will travel (to save planet)


Now I have just about got used to endless celebs and their camp following 'journalistic' mates raising 'awareness' of climate change in their sweetly ironic way by helicoptering up to a snow-covered place at the first crack of a calving glacier or to see if saying 'boo' to a polar bear will stress it out... a bit more.

Or getting in a boat which, one presumes, uses some form of internal combustion power ('No dear, you can't put your settee on the funnel as that's where the poisonous gasses belch from when Capt'n Fishstocks yells 'Hypocrisy Ho!'). They have gathered that kayaks don't work too well, especially when trying to make a point.

But I am still trying to get my jaw off the floor as I watch my BBC Breakfast News about a couple who used their Tesco ClubCard Miles to buy Business Class flights.

Hey, whatever keeps the ratings up in Sevenoaks, I guess.

However, what got me, immediately, (and, to be fair a few readers, who whose comments were jokily referred to mid-way) was that what made this advertisement for the 'buy more stuff' scheme by a major private retailer a 'good thing' to share was, apparently, the fact that the couple accrued these points by collecting recycling waste.

Now, I really endorse the notion of reward-based eco-schemes (so long as they make sense.. and work) as opposed to the usual fine or hairshirt stuff, but for the love of Gaia could they not have found someone... anyone... who did not negate the whole effect, and hence point in such a crass manner?

Apparently it was offset. Now, I am no expert, but I am pretty sure the carbon gain of recycling some plastic bottles for 12 weeks is probably going to struggle to cope with what pops out the exhaust of a 747.

I wonder if it was the same one that ferried the bouffant and crew to New York for a quick slot on how the news in America is made. Don't they have guys over there to do that?

And now, as I type, It seems that shrimps in some bay up North are vanishing on account of... the salt water being diluted by all the rain.

There was a time when I would have swallowed that hook, line and mayonnaise, but now, without a serious scientist or two elsewhere agreeing, as far as I am concerned this is more likely due to over-fishing due to ever-increasing demands for prawn-cocktails as such the BBC canteen expands with more staff to address the news 'needs' of a growing population.

Times - Honeymoon takes off with recycled Air Miles -

True eco-champions. Where did they honeymoon? Antarctica? Probably not as it's packed with celeb luvvies and media camp followers raising 'awareness'. Besides the 'irony', anyone calculated 60,000 items recycled vs. 2 on Biz Class in Jumbo, Co2-wise? Or doesn't that matter?

BBC - Recycling litter funds honeymoon


Funny who things turn out. I used the above as a mild example of how perceptions matter on a thread about 'International conferences....' (not by me, I might add) which started a long time ago on a, how to say, 'serious' 'list'. Look how it went:


I have followed the discussions on this thus far with interest.

It is obvious the balance is never going to be easy.

Take today.

A couple is lauded (rightly) in the media for taking advantage of a
pro-active, positive, incentive-driven supermarket scheme (and well
done them) to reduce waste and encourage recycling.

Their reward is 'points', which they choose to redeem for... two
Business Class seats to an exotic location.

Which aspect did my more 'climate optimistic' readers pick up upon?

As the topic did come up, do any experts present have a ballpark of
how 60,000 pieces of mixed recyclate would stack up, carbon-wise,
versus the consequences of their flight?

The issue of offsetting did come up and, though I fear the principle
is more important here, facts on mitigation would still be helpful.

To which I got an 'off list' reply (funny how the list encourages debate) from a person how might actually know:

Gr8 stuff (privately – as i hesitate to make an ‘expert’ pronouncement here!

My guesstimate though – between you and me – is that the 60,000 pieces will be a few 100kg of CO2e

The exotic flight – perhaps as much as 10 tonnes CO2e

So yes – 100 to one against!

To which I replied (off list - I know a lost cause when it presents):

Ta for the guesstimate. Mine was a fair bit higher, but I figured the balance was not that optimal.

I do have a bit of a bee in my bonnet on those talking a lot actually doing very little, and racking up a lot of bad enviROI whilst engaging in little more than that which they seek to scold others for doing: earning a living. I don't deny them the opportunity, but do question the multiplicity of standards.

And if those don't play well with my 'hood, then my kids' futures on this planet are not being served well. IMHO:)

I then made a mistake. I added:

At least I didn't get the usual flood of 'How dare you use this list for such things!!!'

Well, yet.

'Yet'... soon came:

All a bit of a no-brainer, I would have though - but obviously not.

Recycling materials is not an excuse for profligate energy use elsewhere. The simple message is that we avoid all energy waste or the game is lost. Flying to exotic locations is, sadly perhaps, a luxury that we can no longer afford. There are a lot of interesting places in Europe, accessible by train at a lower energy cost than a flight to NY and back.

Its not about balance, its about doing things differently. One saving does not justify another case of waste; that's plainly absurd. Clearly the Government have done a poor job in communicating the problem if such inane comments are still made.

I didn't comment on xx's original email as xx is a colleague and a friend but the plethora of comments deserve a reply. Much of what is achieved at conferences lies in the social interaction that happens between sessions. That's where contacts are made and useful networks established. Video conferencing certainly has a role but it does not replace every aspect of human contact - except amongst the socially challenged. Of course there are unnecessary jollies, conducted every day, but there are also events that require human contact where the nuances of the other delegates can be seen. That is how human communication evolved and it's not going to change any time soon. Events that deal with issues such as climate change, where networks develop that can begin to make more effective change, are sensible uses of travel - and xx did point out that he's not flying. Flying off to exotic locations is, I would have thought, an example of senseless and selfish use of travel.

This is more what I expected.

Clearly the Government have done a poor job in communicating the problem if such inane comments are still made.

I wonder if he meant mine, ad hominem, or the fact that the BBC shared this story as OK because one offset the other. In which cases maybe the government, its national broadcaster and others who would claim to 'know better' are doing a p*ss poor job, I agree.

nd I guess Bali is out in future? Then again, getting UK delegates to the US and vice versa will require a nifty train, too.

However, as these guys want 'my sort' out of the club, it is best not to ask in open forum... er... list.

I do fear I touched a raw nerve.

Plus recalling a few past attempts of mine - to point out that when some folk use 'us' as a separate entity to a 'them', the latter might find themselves less sympathetic to the spirit of 'Don't do as I say...' based solely on a bit of perceived 'green cred' - generating more than a couple of old boys muttering about who should be in the club.

Shame then that they are not open to other views, then. Might explain the results generated at a few conferences (very few; I go on my own dime) I have been at where the public and their daily concerns and perceptions are poorly represented.

Sadly, he was also unable to help with my substantive question either. Funny how one willing and able to do so did... off list.

I now have another acronym: IYANWUYAU 'If you are not with us...'

And sadly, I cam mostly apply it to those who should be courting such as me, not driving us away by being incestuous, arrogant, know-all numpties.

Monday, October 06, 2008

But... do they recycle?

Ch 4 - Starbucks leaves the tap running in the interests of hygiene..

...but every day loses the equivalent amount that it takes to provide water for the entire population of Namibia.

Now this cannot be right in today's CSR-aware world, surely?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Don't believe a word I say

No, really. Why should you?

Check, check, and check agin. Compare and contrast. Challenge if necessary. Just make sure you have all the possible facts, and a decent spread of subjective opinion, before coming to a view.

And then be open to having it evolve if necessary.

Why do I write all this?

Well, for an envionmental campaigner, I am about to post two pieces form what can only charitably be deemed 'climate optimists'.

Thing is, it is their right to have views, and share them. So long as they are sincere, honest, well argued and referenced.

Which is why I have been so unhappy from others, who should really know better, using terms such as 'denialists' in an ongoing, and unsubtel battle of wills, and fight for the thoughts and support of the general public.

Now, I have a stated unease with focussing too much on the person and their supprters as opposed to the argument, but this can of course coem to matter.

As, I believe, it does here.

Bearing in mind my caution at the top, bearing this intoduction in mind, I think what is raised in these blogs is worth sharing, and the consequences thought about.

How the public is served its information (bear in mind that the BBC serves up only a few 'authoratative' environment reproters , with various titles that sledom to my mind are warranted form their backgrounds) is, still, to my mind, a critical aspect of how we conduct our daily lives.

Bishop Hill Blog - The amazing disappearing Roger Harrabin!

Harmless Sky - The Freedom of Information Act and the BBC’s willing little helpers

Just the facts, man... just the facts.

PROF'S POSER - Back story

Prompted by a post in a very good Gizmo site I frequent, Red Ferret, the issue of Fridge coil cooling has come up.

I was just wondering what, if anything, could be done to help improve this aspect of what is an unavoidable 24/7 energy draining system.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Reaction is probably the best form of complement

News from the "Voucher Tree" front.

We've made two, and they are in two local locations: Terry's Digital and the EnviroAbility Book Swap shop.

The PR has been picked up quite well, with local papers the Ross Gazette and Hereford Journal, and local radio BBC H&W (we think - they interviewed me for sure, but the advised date for airing keeps moving) and WyvernFM (on air and online - we'll try and get MP3s of both stations) being most supportive. It was gratifying to find hard-bitten press folk not seeing a down side to what we are trying to do.

And two more primaries, Weston-under-Penyard and Kings Caple, have asked for a 'coconut' to be added, which has been done.

Though Morrisons has yet to get back to us, we have noticed that in the last few days, if oddly well into the promotion, some 'A frames' have been put in the foyer to advise which schools have signed up. Better than nothing for sure. Shame no invitation to add a tree (or tell us they were doing this, as we could have added it to the PR), but we'd like to think our efforts may have inspired them a bit. That a sister store in the nearby city, Hereford, has only a few schools mentioned to the big list we have in Ross (like, by a factor of 10), would suggest a lot of local interest... for some reason. Still seems a pity not to just get the vouchers from till to tree in one shot.

And we've just been told of an ASDA promo around now that is very similar.

All in a good cause! As is said: 'Every little bit helps', if you know what I mean.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Just what we needed... another department

Miliband's new department - what does it mean for the climate?
'...a country safe from climate change."

'Send a letter to Miliband now, congratulating him on his new appointment and encouraging him to begin a green energy revolution.'

Dear Ed...

As we head into autumn, I do hope that a ceratin amount of climate change will still be permitted.

But I feel so much happier knowing one with your experience, backed by a whole new department and all that entails, is on the case.


BBC - Greens welcome new climate dept - BBC says 'Greens are happy'. At least further down the piece are some more pragmatic questions being asked.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Plenty scattered about via labels (below) , but time to try and start a list as they arise:



Indy - How green are the Tories?

Telegraph - Cameroonie wonks plan reboot of environmental policy -

Conservativehome - NEW - Green taxes have been kicked into the long grass - Oooo...kkayyyy






Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Space cadets

I have been advised BBC news are advising Richard Branson is to help 'survey' the ionosphere to monitor climate change.

I have looked around on the BBC site for confirmation and have only found this, which leads to this, which seems to suggest this is unlikely. Possibly the claim, rather the story, was in error.

However I will repeat my reply, just in case this is another PR turned news item.

Whatever one's views of him, his views do get a fair amount of top billing and hence do count.

But I'm most interested in what he is actually saying and/or doing, and the impacts these words or actions may have.

Without seeing it I couldn't comment, but I am guessing this is more support for 'Virgin Galactic", whereby billionaires and their mates (and pliant media remoras) get to have a Kodak moment atop a column of greenhouse gasses.

I am kind of losing count of the attempted eco-mitigations for this jolly on the part of the empire and its media fanbase, but there was the pushing planes to the takeoff and the bio-747 on the ground. Then there was using this toy to 'transport' vital goods to war-torn outposts in a hurry. Now is it possible that instead of a G&T the next dot com whizz kid or noted physicist will get handed a straw and asked to '...check the extent of 'climate change', by sampling gases in the ionosphere.' as it arcs through.

Please tell me that is not being given screen space!

I don't know, but can't balloons do this? Or if not, unmanned, smaller, cheaper and a lot less polluting rockets?

An interesting ra-ra contrast to the 'science' behind test on Polar Bear hearing problems caused by noise from Global Warming.