Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh Lor, summit all up

Faiths in climate change summit

I guess they have to meet somewhere to discuss and (They aim to set a manifesto to encourage..). But really, I'd love to know the carbon consequence of all these 'summits'.

I wonder if Aunty has sent a team, too?

Thinking of boxes... another way

It's been a dodgy week at the end of a dodgy month. Time for some levity.

'Thinking outside the box' is most despised business jargon

Of course, some us spend more time thinking about the box.

Pushing the envelope is evil

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Or.... reuse?

Getting a bit frustrating banging on about other alternatives, but as Aunty has investigated...

Throw-away Britain

Service? Or meeting a target?

Addendum (from a thread):

'...this "empowerment" is a growing trend. Doing it yourself whilst the people that you pay to deliver a 'service' spend all their time "incentivising you" with chip and bin fines, cameras and ASBOS..'

[This] horrifying bin scheme is a manifestation of this "empowerment" - bullshit of course and the worst of all worlds. You pay for the service, do it yourself and have to endure bullying from the state.'

As pithy a summary as I have seen of how these new 'initiatives' are concocted, mis-promoted and, if history is judge, will be more effective at generating money then helping my kids' planetary futures.

I have to put my hand up and say I am a believer in some sort of incentive-based schemes that are, effectively, pay as you go/throw. But only if this contribution by the consumer/rate payer in money and effort is rewarded with consequent reductions in related areas.

Mind you, I was a young home owner who though the Poll Tax seemed relatively fair. But I guess that was 'different'.

How times have changed, and changed views.

Newsnight - An exchange that seems pertinent for now.

Waste not, want not.

Well put.

Reduce: don't buy so much tat in the first place - Agree, though being told to spend like there's no tomorrow is a wee bit contradictory at the 'mo.

Recycle: encourage easier and more widespread recycling facilities - Agree. Plus much better national connectivity, from logistics to communications. It doesn't help that I am hearing that recyclate is deemed to still count on EU targets as 'recycling' even if its quality is useless to those seeking to make something of it. Or see budgets of multimillion £'s being sunk in Charlotte St or SoHo to create 'awareness' levels that tick boxes and add to the bonuses of the quango directors and Ministers who commission them. This seems a direct conflict of interest.

Re-use: think of ways in which the packaging etc. can be re-used about your home. Agree. Especially if it can be designed-in to be second used. I might suggest that one, a namesake, exists already:

There are others of course, though mainly in the area of redirecting away from the landfill. Hence well of value. These are linked here

Alas, we seem to be losing that Blue Peter spirit that was so much a part of my childhood.

FWIW, has been described as 'Blue Peter on steroids'

With luck, by getting back to fun and reward over guilt, thread, nanny and fine, the general public may yet see merit, and profit, in getting back to make and mend. Especially in these crunchier, more eco-concerned times.

And maybe business will follow too. Who knows, the government and its various organs of efficiency might get on board, too.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crisis, what...

Financial crisis? That's nothing

It's a shame The Grauniad seems to close comments early when they know what may follow.

As here...

Is Gordon Brown ready for this one?

I may have been moved to ask if he has been ready for anything so far.

CATEGORY - The Two E's

I think this deserves its own category now.

For those who have seen it before, this refers to discussions or debates where the needs of the Environment might end up at odds with Economic drivers (I have often called this the two 'Ecos' before, but actually environment and ecology are distinct and, sadly if ironically, can also compete).

Greenbuzz - Taking Care of Business

Guardian - It's the economists, stupid - I'd have to say that, while opinions are fine, if I were not an economist, I'd tread a wee bit cautiously, especially on an open blog, telling those who are their business.

Indy - The eco-crunch: Can Britain still afford to go green? - And in case you wonder who is an eco-expert, they are in here, too. Apparently.

The Guardian - The green squeeze - Do read the comments.... they're free.

Times - Trade minister Lord Jones hits out at green tax on flights

Guardian - Will the Green New Deal deliver? - There are an awful lot of folk on an awful lot of pedestals telling those below what's good for 'em these days. Glad to be spending more time on doing stuff to help most of my day. Might help when the revolution comes.

The Register - The FDRs of Green explain the gentle art of planet saving

Real Climate - A worthwhile read: Bridging the divides

Guardian - Free trade breakdown

The Register - What's the cost of global warming?

Gaurdian - Green routes to growth

BBC - Climate law 'could cost billions' - Of course, it 'might' not.

Guardian - NEW - The green revolution postponed

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Two E's - an example

Darling wants 'shopocalypse' now, pay later

Wot 'e sed


Sadly, quite a lot of the time one can discern the siren call of a target, with process rather than result being more important.

Recycling is OK (or not, if you check one of the sister articles here), but I'd still wave a small flag for reuse.


On the main site we are starting to see more and more ideas spun from waste product data.

Many are simple, some are not. All are great, because if just one bit of stuff ends up being reused that's one bit less in the bin and hence landfill.

A Junkketeer has just uploaded this very simple but nonetheless sensible suggestion*:

Liquid soap container

However, I am using this opportunity to create this new category, to see if a piece of waste product data with no idea.... at least yet, can be pondered for other applications by the collective imaginations out there.

In this case I am thinking the siphon pump component.

Think about it. You have a device that moves 1-2" with relatively little effort, and moves a small amount of fluid around. What could this device be introduced into, even in multiples, to 'make something useful rather than throwing them out?

You never know, it may be good enough that we end up arranging collections in towns around the country just for these pumps so an enterprising soul can make them into a whizzo device.

*Note to self: must make clearer/remind posters that there is a wealth of extra info that can be added under the Advanced Details, with "colour' unfortunately set to default to Black at present.

So good, we created it twice...

Nothing like job creation schemes. Is Trust the new quango?

Two energy trusts is a doubling of bureaucracy

I can think of some more if anyone's interested...

Sadly, one can intone, Yoda-like, 'There are more'.

Many more.

Process has now become more important than product.

Just think of the tangible good that could be DONE with all the comms budgets alone splurged on 'awareness'.

Talk is certainly not cheap anymore, but it ticks many target boxes.

If only all this could 'effort' be harnessed.

Dreams and realities

Green scheme scrapped as household recycling is sent to landfill

It is introduced with that most dubious of disclaimers...'could', but I wonder why this is not more in the media domain.

I must say, my frustration with the focus on recycling, and all the sexy tonnages and ticked boxes and targets that involves, looks quite vindicated.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lights, camera, celebs.. hypocrisy!

The film festival that wants to save the planet

I feel more 'aware' even as I write...

There were moments where I felt that maybe a little introspection was having a salutary effect, but my irony alert meter eventually did break its needle.

But for poetry in prose, this cannot be equalled...

Here we are, 150 film-makers and journalists from all over the world, congregated in a luxurious hotel, fed succulent fruits with impossibly beautiful names – the cupuacu, caju, abacaxi, the pupunha and the jambo – and connected to intravenous drips of caipirinha, looking across the inky-black waters of the aptly named Rio Negro, the river that will take us into the Amazon. Here we are, ostensibly, to discuss the end of the world.

Of course, to some '"The best way to convince people today is through film, through the image".

To others, perhaps, a better way is by example.

Make do and mend

Saw this report on the news this morning: 'Green Grannies' web lessons

Not a great start that what I call reuse was described as recycling, but I persevered.

In fact, so much that, as per host invitation, I wrote in with a suggestion on some tips.

Sadly mine did not make it. As, I imagine, many other did not.

What did make it was 'making soup out of chicken bones' and 'darning your own socks'. Inspiring. Not. Ain't gonna happen with such as this.

Much as there is much to laud in such an initiative, I fear the way Aunty decided to pitch in was hardly the best help Granny might have hoped for.

I will have a rummage and see if more can be made of this (Not much yet on the Oxfam site), for all concerned to benefit rather than filling a box-tick 'green' slot on national broadcasting.

Renewable Energy By Imitating Fish?

Sound a little far fetched? Well, not so, according to the VIVACE research project from the University of Michigan.

It seems that schools of fish swim highly efficiently by riding the vortexes created in the water as those in front of them push their tail fins from side to side. The research looked at this principle and came up with the concept of utilising vortex induced vibrations (generally something that civil engineers spend most of their time trying to eliminate or minimise in bridges and in any project where structures sit in water) to create a potential renewable energy source that will operate even in slow moving currents.

Interesting. Maybe a technology to keep half an eye on?

May the force be with you?

Controversial food scraps bin scheme for all households

Hmnn. Not sure I like the sound of that word 'force'.

With 3 (and counting... we have a biggish garden, unlike some) compost bins it really is no problem dealing with the veg.

Still struggling with the Green Cone for the other organics (meat, bones, etc), especially as the sun has dipped and there is no place at all where it would cop enough sun to brew.

So I rather fear there may be a bit of a clash in the offing between those who set policy and those who have to live through the often 'idealistic' notions of those who set them... backed by threat.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Pepsi to get new-look packaging in 2009

A new 'look', eh? That'll sort things.

I'd like to pitch a substantive design evolution (for one range at least) that will cost them nothing if they are changing packaging anyway, that will confer not only only tangible end-benefits to their customers (and hence a competitive USP), but also genuine CSR and hence PR advantages, too.

Anyone know someone in that organisation who might care about green (planet) as well as green (profits) and has the authority to make a difference if it also makes commercial sense?

A nice way to end the week

Remember the Voucher Tree idea we had? Well, it all came to an end and, I'm glad to say, also to fruition. Also, with a great sigh of relief, it all worked out pretty well and so no egg on yours truly's face.

Bearing in mind we had really only had a month of the programme left, the two stores with trees in them collected a pretty fair amount, and so we decided on a bit of PR to thank all concerned.

And that worked out nicely too. The local media were very interested and supportive, and I think we gave them a nice shot, thanks to a whole bunch of nice folk pitching in (see above - several schools were kind enough to send representatives). Even the weather cooperated.

Here's an edit of the Press Release that went out, and we'll hopefully see the story appear* in various forms next week.

I'd just like to thank all concerned for making it the inspirational success it has become, especially the townsfolk who made the effort to drop off their vouchers.

Give that Town A Coconut!

Local schools benefit from Ross-on-Wye shoppers and businesses teaming up to make the most of national retail chain promotional opportunity

Not too long ago, a locally-organised community initiative was launched to try and make the most of the Morrison’s supermarket 'Let's Grow' promo, whereby purchases can generate free vouchers that schools can use to buy gardening equipment.
'Voucher Tree' palms were made specially by local re:use business from old packaging, with 'coconuts' made with the name of every participating school.

The original plan was to put these in the local Morrison’s supermarket foyer but unfortunately it proved to difficult for them to get head office permission in time. But a quick call to local stalwarts bore fruit, and the trees sprouted at Terry’s Digital and the EnviroAbility Book Swap shop in town.

Terry Thomas of Terry’s was happy to oblige. He remarks:
‘It was no problem having a tree in the store, and worked out well for everyone. Being right next door to the supermarket we were convenient to drop off vouchers, and it made us some new friends in passing too. A real win-win all round!’.

Dennis Humble of EnviroAbility agrees, adding:
‘We were more than happy to offer all those kind enough to pop in a way to make sure as many vouchers as possible would get to where they can to the most good. In fact we had visitors from other towns come by and say what a good idea it was, and how they wished their community was as responsive and had done the same too.’

Now the promotion is over, the organisers will be handing over all the vouchers collected to the designated schools who asked to be part. Says Peter Martin of ‘It was nice to see every part of the town pull together to make the most of the opportunity, though it’s a pity we couldn’t have had a tree in the actual supermarket foyer as a reminder to shoppers to collect and drop off on the spot. But the bulging bottles we have ended up with show just what can be done when the public, businesses and local media pull together.

It cost next to nothing to set up, but we are very appreciative of the time and effort of all concerned to help make it work. With luck we can think of more such mutually-rewarding community initiatives again in the future!”

*Addendum: It has. Nice one, all

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Do good. But don't spend it all at once

Gordon Brown's social enterprise vision

They do sound nice, don't they?

So I am relieved at the notes of caution being voiced, though concerned that they are being voiced up to a person for whom vision has not proven a strong suit to date, and who is not noted for his talent for listening, or indeed grasp of realities. But he does seem to know a good soundbite when he hears one.

As one who has been involved with, for sure benefitted but also suffered from 'commitments' to social enterprise, I wish more reflected the notion that 'the result is a reasonable salary and a sense that they are making a difference'. To which I might add 'delivering a healthy ROI to all involved'.

If customers don't like the product/service, and hence buy/into it, then sadly all these enterprises will become is money pits sucking funding from elsewhere. Or they will go bust.

Peter Jones' comments, rather colourfully expressed at the beginning ('do gooders' can rather set an unfortunate tone, and frankly passion for doing good can be a potent part... of the mix. See later) but more considered on reading later on, get closer to it.

Any twerp can have an idea. I know, I have. Lob in a bit of money you can, if relevant, protect the IP.

But none of this is much use if you don't flog it on. And keep on doing so.

And here is where I see a stonking great gap between stated aims, useful support and actuality. Government doesn't understand sales.

I have lost count of the number of Third Sector funds, forums, quangos and whoever, with natty offices and staffed to the gunnels, who are out there to invite you to submit, assess your plan and slip you the readies. Business Links, Chambers, Trusts, you name it. Awash with cash, seemingly concerned with the bottom line, but almost all designed to launch a box-ticking scheme, often with a pot of EU/taxpayer money, and then... get you to 'sign off' quicker than you can say 'match-funding'. And often the funding pot is pretty bare of actual serious dosh to dole out once the empires, especially often overlapping ones, have taken their cut first. It's like being bought an F-16, helped to take off and then bang, the guys in the back seat eject as 'their job is done'. You either crash and burn or get addicted to in-flight refuelling just to stay airborne.

Some do delve into the P&Ls and all the rest, but as it's an enterprise you are usually dealing in the future, with forecast guesstimates at best. And visionary thinkers are not usually too great at the numbers. So they will say what is required to be heard, and if it's at all social enough will get the launch money. As to what happens down the road...? Case closed. The caravan will have moved on.

Why can there not be more emphasis on matchmaking talents, bringing together the ones with ideas and assisting them by the introduction of a sensible complement (for every Trevor Baylis there has to be a Peter Jones whose introduction to each other will benefit both...the project... and the country), with more funding going into forging those business relationships such that a team is created to ensure that both the social and the enterprise aspects can be delivered, with returns, quickly and... sustainably. Once in profit, everyone can be happy, left to it, and support can move on to new, good works.

Or, the whole thing can be driven by targets and PR opps...

Gaurdian - Social Innovation Camp: finalists announced

More, and better?

In my idle trawl of funding news today I noticed this:

Website Will Show A Better Way To Recycle

A new website that will make it easier for people to recycle has scooped the top prize in a Government-sponsored competition. The Can I Recycle It portal was judged the overall winner of the Show Us A Better Way contest, which asked members of the public to devise a website that would provide a useful service using some of the non-personal data held by the Government.

This competition was one I noted, but then promptly forget, partly because I'm old, partly because I don't trust the government to credit inventors properly, and hence suspected that any ideas would soon become a very public/bureaucrat domain and not much to do with the creator, and partly because in my experience such things are often judged on agenda rather merit.

Interesting that many have noted another gov/quango site, Recycle Now, seems to have roughly the same thing. Also mentioned is Sort it. Can't have enough of a good thing, I guess. Slight duplication of effort on the public purse, mind.

Fortunately, perhaps due to lack of targets and boxes to tick, reuse again gets missed.

Now, if they had a site for that! Ahead of our time still?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pay peanuts, get what you deserve?

Who's paying for our junk habit?

With a title like that, how could I not?

NEWS/Commercial PR - Bringing the sun inside, even in winter

One of our good friends on the site and especially this blog is Solarventi

Seems they are moving up in the world and have gone all posh with a PR agency, from whom we have had a release on their behalf.

Happy to share, E&EO...

New Report Shows Amount of Free Energy Available from UK's Most Advanced Solar-powered Air Heating System

The report data shows that a single SV30 generates up to 2kW per hour of free energy, even in external temperatures below the annual UK average of 14 Celsius. During daylight hours, a this will warm incoming air to between 30 and 40 Celsius higher than the outside temperature.

The report also highlights the unit's dehumidification capability. During daylight hours, the average relative humidity of incoming air was reduced by 80% compared with ambient. This further reduces heating bills, as heating a dry home requires less energy than heating a damp, humid property.

The SolarVenti units are powered by a highly efficient solar cell. In sunlight, the units activate to provide interior space heating by warming large volumes of incoming air. This also safely dehumidifies all types of property that may suffer from airborne damp by displacing and replacing the damp air with warmed dry air.

The SV30, which provides heated airflow of up to 150 cubic metres per hour, costs £1272 +VAT including wall mounting brackets and fittings. Roof mounting kits are also available for all larger SolarVenti units.

The 'SV30H Plus' model heats both Air and Water in one unit. This gives heated airflow of up to 100 cubic metres per hour, and heating incoming air by up to 40 Celsius above ambient. It also produces hot water at temperatures up to 55 - 65 Celsius and is supplied as a complete self-install package including hot water cylinder, heat exchanger, solar-powered pump, pipework and fittings, at £2532 + VAT. The unit can be switched between heating the air or water or a mix of both. Airflow from SolarVenti units is controlled with the supplied regulator. Thermostats are also supplied with all SV30 models.

SolarVenti units are designed and made in Denmark. Over 26,000 have been sold worldwide to date, with the majority used in houses and holiday homes and a growing number of municipal buildings.

NEWS/Commercial PR - POOH CORNER gets its latest update

Now, in true Michael Caine style, 'norralorra people know this, but...' does have a little place called... POOH CORNER.

It got created to 'address' matters of a more effluvial nature that are nonetheless environmentally valuable, and copped the moniker when my boys heard my talking about the topic, made a very odd connection with Christopher Robin whilst giggling 'He said poo!'. It was a while ago, but even at 12 they still fall about. Like I say... boys.

Nothing there yet, of course, because for now all goes here on the blog, but I really must get busy loading it up as, over the years, a lot has come in that would be ideal to go here.

Anyhoo... to the point.

Those nice folks at ecover, who already dominate the 'E' section of the Ideas pages, have sent us a freebie to go with a bit of worthy PR. The pack is now here and here. No ideas yet, but the cap is promising. Maybe ecover can get busy here as they have before.

The PR is here. The first bit is well worth noting. And as they are mates I've left in the 'product blurb', too (too much to pun it a shamless plug..hole?):


40% of the world's population, 2.5 billion people, don't have access to a toilet. To raise awareness of this global sanitation crisis, and to celebrate the humble yet essential Ecover bathroom cleaner [now that's something I have never seen celebrated before! - Ed], November 19th has been designated World Toilet Day.

We’re excited about World Toilet Day because it complements our three year partnership with WaterAid to provide access to safe water and sanitation in the Hintalo Wajerat area of rural Ethiopia.

For further information on Ecover’s partnership with WaterAid visit

About Ecover Ocean Waves Toilet Cleaner

As with all Ecover products, the Ocean Waves Toilet Cleaner is formulated from plant and mineral-based ingredients, biodegrading quickly and completely to ensure it has a minimal impact on aquatic life.

Telegraph - NEW - Why we shouldn't sneer at World Toilet Day

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Efficiency games

New Solar Balloon Creates 400 Times More Energy Than The Average Solar Cell

I'll share because it looks and sounds fun, but the claims may need an eyebrow crank.

When switching off just won't do

7-Eleven Getting Big Gulp-Sized LED Upgrade

'in order to do its part to reduce GHG emissions'

I am glad that they have 'seen the light', but let us not get too carried away with echoing the PR.
'The savings will be worth it as the lights will use about 75% less energy than fluorescents.' '..after they see what kind of savings 7-11 reaps.'

Not to mention the kudos... oh... they can see that already.

Please, let there not be vast acres of print media issued to tell one and all about this measure.

Actually I'd be keen to know exactly how long the $1B investment will take to get to payback... and then accrue major operational savings; not really for the eco-cred but just to stamp on some beancounters' foreheads to show that green can make green.

It needn't be an 'either/or'.

Nice motors, shame aboutthe colour

Leonardo DiCaprio, the star who helped turn Hollywood green

'As well as his Toyota Prius, his latest car is equally in tune with the times - a BMW H7, which runs on hydrogen.'

Must be tricky driving both at once.

'may look like a fuel-hungry executive saloon - but it burns hydrogen, not petrol'

And just because the fuel is not petrol that makes it less hungry... how? And what is the enviROI of hydrogen at the moment?


It's a grower! (sorry:)

Energy Source

Telegraph - Cost of living: some good news for once - I had some dabte on the right category here. Should it have been more under 'Energy' or even 'Alt. Energy'? Still, with two wind-fallen trees' worth out back...


Gaurdian - Rainforests

Looking at the above, that suggest 'Deforestation' as a category, too. Ho -hum.


Times - NEW - New ways to make use of any old wood

Peak Oil

Two words that cause major disagreement every time they are used; so any article that provides a sensible and logically argued explanation of the Peak Oil concept is worth a few minutes reading.

This is one such by investor Praveen Jaiswal in Seeking Alpha. Enjoy.

Water, water, everywhere....

..... and not a drop to drink.

According to this from the International Herald Tribune, that is the prospect facing billions of people, especially in Asia, over the coming decades, as climate change alters rainfall patterns and increases areas that already suffer from droughts.

"global climate change takes many forms, causing droughts in some areas while increasing flooding and the severity of cyclones in others. Droughts reduce water supply, and floods destroy the quality of water. Rising sea levels, for instance, increase the salt content at the mouths of many rivers, from which many Asians draw their drinking water."

By 2080, they reckon that as many as 3.2 Billion people (that's almost half the planet's current population) could face a shortage of clean water.

Yes, I know they use that horrible word 'could', but it doesn't sound too good if true, does it?

Oh, and if you want something topical to actually drink from, how about one of these 'global warming mugs' from

Nothing ventured

Obama to skip UN climate talks

Probably he and his entourage not going is doing more to reduce carbon emissions than any conversations held there will achieve.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mini Nuclear Plants...

..... look to be just around the corner; they are even taking advance orders already! No bigger than a large hot tub, and creating enough power to support up to 20,000 homes, the full story is from PhysOrg.

Perhaps in a few years time there will be a matchbox box sized version suitable for generating the power just for one property? The mind boggles!

Turkeys think Xmas is better vegetarian, when asked.

Or, who pays,.... oh, heck who cares?

U.S. Consumers: Companies Should Pay To Manage Climate Change

An interesting survey, and encouraging in parts.

Of course I have never come across anyone (though have seen a few blog posts that would suggest a few of a contrarian aspect) who, if asked, is against anything 'good' that is 'green'.

One also has to wonder to what extent it was made clear, or the respondents made the mental leap on their own and were still cool on the notion, that the personal cost to them of most company products usually includes any costs the company incurs, plus a bit.

Would the results be the same if the headline dropped the :Companies?



Indy - How to cut your paper footprint - Mind you, this cranked an eyebrow a tad: '...on her return from the trip in 2006 which took her round most of the great forests of the world for her new book: Paper Trails. Paper Trails by Mandy Haggith is published Virgin Press £12.99' - call Independent Books Direct'

Gaurdian - NEW - Don't print this post - Perhaps as interesting, if depressing, for the replies. Mind you, a finger-wag from any in 'green' officialdom, DDAIDDAIS-wise, rather invites a mirro being held up.


Britain's trillion-page mountain stacks up


Friday, November 14, 2008

IDEA - It is art...

...but as I have four rescued from my garden, can't a way be found to reuse them?

Artist creates sculptures from hubcaps

Maybe a central community drop off 'lost 'n found', say at a local garage forecourt, to let folk see if they can retrieve them... and make a charity donation as a thank you?

A new mission!

Prof's Poser - Polystyrene cups

Inspired by a post here.

'One of my pet peeves is how many coffee cups are wasted. Why don’t more people use a thermos type or reusable coffee mug?'

I don’t know the answer, but I bet someone does.

As with all things eco, one needs to look at the enviROI. And also bear in mind whether your eco concern is waste, Co2, or a mixture of both.

It can be interesting sometimes to find out the energy used in, say, cleaning a reuseable vs. the cradle to grave of a disposable.

Sad to say, IF these things are a necessary evil, I am stumped as to possible reuses for now, however I then wonder about recycling.

This is not often optimal green-wise or anything like cost-effective, but these wee efforts tend to be used and disposed of in vast numbers by big offices.

Maybe there could be an argument for a dedicated in-house separated collection and purchase of a shredder to create virgin media bags of the stuff someone might be happy to collect and/or pay for to turn back into new ones?

If there isn’t already.

Or… just lob it all in the black plastic bin liner like usual.


Spot the missing word here.

Now, what could we turn this into?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Two E's, enviROI... and a plug

I wonder if he posted it anywhere other than the Gaurdian?

A limited, almost certainly hostile audience unlikely to be open to changing entrenched beliefs. Would this not serve more, in every sense of the word, being in a more mainstream arena (maybe it is, but if so I have missed it. Ergo...), where advocates from either side of the arguemnt can debate and 'sell' their points of view?

Maybe a bun-fight is better for ratings... and sales.

The green pseudo-revolution

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PR COVERAGE - Nice little Fillip

The other day I was a speaker at an all-day event on the pros and cons of Intellectual Property protection.

It was promoted by Fillip, the organisation that has been very helpful and supportive with the RE:tie invention I am marketing.

Seems my adventures with RE:tie are deemed an entertaining example of the roller-coaster ride it can all represent. At least it got some nifty PR in the Birmingham Post, and major regional daily.

I also had a lot of good feedback from many present, which was encouraging, as we were talking hard-nosed types from the VC and associated worlds.

I feel like sharing an exchange I had with one kind soul who offered some good advice on dealing with money men, with my answers in reply putting it in the context of one from the more creative side of the equation.

One major drum I banged at the event was that too much resource was going into funding the making of things and not enough into complementing these efforts with sales. Inventors tend not to be great at Business Plans or pitching to boards packed with bean counters.

Note that (in big bold letters), they will not do everything for you and I’m afraid to say it takes a considerable and consistent time and energy commitment from the current management team to enable them to do their job.

Don't get me wrong. I will meet more than halfway. The more I do, the more I save... and make. Thing is, there is no management team... I'm it. Chief cook and bottle washer. I can do time and energy. What I can't become is something I am not. Too many suits so far seem to have a problem getting their heads round that. I need a team of complementing talents. Some consultant telling me what I need that I have already told 'em I know I need... er... no.
It will take longer and be more painful than you ever imagine at the start, but there is no magic bullet to either funding or a stronger management team.

It will take longer and be more painful than you ever imagine at the start, but there is no magic bullet to either funding or a stronger management team.

Length and pain noted. Been there, am still... got the T shirt. Robert the Bruce is my inspiration.

I understand where you are, I was in the same position, there was one of me, but if you don’t support them, it’s impossible for them to produce the resources you’ll need to take it to the next stage.

Finding, and clicking with the right guys is the mission. Intros like this one will help that happen.

No VC is going to even consider you without a solid plan.

Noted. But most I'd not be targeting. Their skill sets are inappropriate and while I need hard-nosed money men reigning me in, wannabe Dragon's Denners who have no vision of making the world better whilst making money are not either. Without folk who pluck ideas from the ether, guys like this are nothing. A joke about a one word business plan is funny to other suits, but cheap. What about the story of how they saw a product's potential and worked with the creator to make the plan perfect, if necessary using network contacts to complete the jigsaw. 'Computer says no' followed by 'try again, do better and come back when it's how I expect it' is not a mindset I'd want on my team, even if I could find a way of helping them deliver money I need to pay back with interest. I don't need money as such; I need talent and access... which does take money. It makes sense to have that role performed by a player on my team with a vested interest in long term success, not a vulture hovering above seeking a quick return.

You need the following pieces clearly worked out in your mind to pass on even before you approach anyone else–

The potential for the business, numbers (size of market not micro detail)

The routes to market

The licensing potential

Detailed current and IP road map

SWOT analysis – risks & threats, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses

Where you fit in and your future role

What skills you’re going to need to rent in the future

Exactly what do you want to do with the funds and how will it achieve the growth that will reward anyone coming in

Investors from what I hear rarely feel comfortable with one product companies

Noted. Not really a problem, because it's a design with license potential. See rapstrap. Plus I do have more second use ideas in mind. I need a hero to play off first. Then there is a whole raft of other inventions to come. I am at least smart enough to keep 'em tucked away until I can afford to protect them, and give all necessary resources to exploiting them. Being the guy behind the 'RE:tie' is a brand foundation I am building here.

And I think you need an idea of what will generate growth moving forward.

Those numbers exist, but already this is moving into areas I am not qualified to handle effectively. If a bridge is needed to interface with a VC, so be it. That's who I need to find to fight my corner. There is no point pitting me against a suit who expects me to fit into their mindset totally as it will end in tears.

I am here to make money by doing good. Not just for me, but all who hitch up. That means seeing the potential of what I am seeking to achieve and convincing me that they can make it happen as much as I need to convince them it's worth the effort. A way with P&L's and a swanky office and a client list means diddly. I seek added value, personality matching and end-benefit focus.

If you get the opportunity to pitch to any investors they want to see someone; extremely clear, passionate, focussed, with very defined aims. Don’t forget at our level, 90% of what they’re investing in is your ability to deliver, bring in the rest of the team and manage and motivate.

I am at the bringing in the rest of team stage. It seems my pitch has re-inspired a few to wish to help, with luck not for up front money but to share in the rewards.

My instinct is that you need at least one deal already in place to use as a platform.

Agree. Too many in this country are set on being first to be second. I get one and the dominoes will fall. It will give me great pleasure to charge those who could have had a much better deal a lot longer ago... anything I feel like.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Ministers call on consumers to recycle WEEE - Maybe not the headline I'd have gone for (that said, it got more interest from my boys than something less jargonistic that would probably simply look boring. So let's call it 'creative but still obscure'), but if the infrastructure really is in place then let's all try and use it!

Register - NEW - has no idea how much WEEE ends up in landfill - now, where have I seen this phrase before: '..It is hoped that this consultation will..' Bonus-time!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Another lightbulb went off

And here it is. Sorry, no 'idea' inspiration this time.

Unfortuately, It also highlights a slight flaw in my advocacy for writing when you stuck it in around the edge, so you can take it back and demand a refund if the low energy is not matched by the long life.

We're talking 2 years, give or take. In the hall. Call it 2x365x5. Not quite as claimed.

Trouble is, a) I did not note where I bought it and b) if I knew do I have the receipt easily to hand.

Now rectified for the future. Receipt in special file and coded to the actual bulb.

I'll go green, but I am not funding others to profit from not delivering on their promises to help me do so.

You can be too green, apparently

I find I tick a few boxes at the end.

Are you carborexic?

While most, I am sure, are 'total', I do wonder about the enviROI of other activities some of these paragons might be, especially to get into the radar of the London luvvie set.

Not, on the whole, a lot I identify with, or seek to emulate. And hence I wonder how many are inspired or not. Beyond their mates.

Friday, November 07, 2008


The topic is arising more and more. So I thought a new category was in order.

Indy - Food miles: The true cost of putting imported food on your plate

Ch 4 - Kiwi lamb and food miles

Telegraph - NEW - Sainsbury boss says 'food miles’ miss point - funny it comes out at the same time as this: Consumer giants cry foul over EU label laws

Grid and bear it

In amongst a lot of rather ill-defined, news hype and spin of late, this caught my attention:

Yes we can... build the smart grid

A sober (well, a little starry-eyed stuff creeping in) look at what can, and may not be possible to do.

Energy independence is an ideal, and one I support wholeheartedly, so long as the enviROI works out.

Let's see what actually happens. Here's hoping it works out well.

Telegraph - Barack Obama faces a daunting task on the environment

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

CATEGORY - Site Q&A - Search facile ity

A lot that ends up here can be viewed in light of the fact that I am using Blogger above the site to reply.

Sadly it is steam, driven and glitch-prone. But the core works OK.

One day all will be revamped. And what gets added here seamlessly integrated so as the info updated here goes in, so does the relevant section the site get updated too.


From Junkketeer Shedfirkler (a name with origins well worth investigating - it's OK, it's clean)

Q: "Either the keyword search only looks in very specific fields or it is generally useless! For example, I tried to find my own submitted idea (so I could direct a friend to it on the site), but none of the descriptive or main text words produced the result. Tends to bring up articles rather than ideas."

A (if more a reason than excuse, with no solution in sight for now): Not sure if it is useless. Just... next to it. What to say? It was installed when the site was built, and though many years have passed and advances have been made, we neither have the skills to improve it ourselves nor the money to pay someone who does. Sorry! One day it, and many other things that could be better, will be addressed.

From the site that says 'Rubbish need not be a dirty word'... one that shares many of our visions.

Next Monday Will Be a Rubbish Q&A Day

Tracey knows stuff, and knows people. And she knows people who know stuff.

So it should be well worth it.

And if she is stumped on anything to do with reuse... she can always 'phone a friend'.

Now, what can I pose? Tricky.

Monday, November 03, 2008

When a promise isn't a commitment ......

... Or, when a commitment simply gets fudged and/or bungled?

An interesting comment piece from the Telegraph on when what is on the statute books is simply, well, bypassed. Plus, the author reckons what has happened with the fuel poverty commitment will also happen with the climate change bill.

I can hear the arguments already "errrrr, well, the 80% reduction in greenhouse gases was a target see, and we did not have the available finances to meet it, so, errrr, we haven't, errr, met it, well, as yet".

T'was ever thus!

Joined up what again?

EU law forces Sainsbury’s to ditch witches’ fingers

Is this part of the 'Love waste, love barking regulations even more' campaign?

Quote of the day - QED

As today's papers are excited about some councils removing Latin from our lingua franca...

I thought I'd share this from 21st Century Latin by linguist Sam Foster:

Calefaction muni - veniat! Colorandum pellum totum annum et via brevior ad litus!

Global warming - bring it on! An all-year tan and a shorter drive to the beach.

Gaurdian - Ave atque vale, lingua Latina - Some folk have too much time on their hands. QED.

Also just noticed a wee glitch that might employ many officers for many days if the write the funding application well enough.

'et cetera' is often abbreviated 'etc', I believe.

Now, I see possible problems with either the easily offended or Japanese communities with "and so on".


Daily Mail - The councils who ban Latin words because they are 'elitist and discriminatory' and confuse immigrants

Telegraph - Local council cretins ban Latin as 'elitist', pro bono publico


Brainy children ‘likely to vote Green’

...research suggests.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another great new idea, from 1988

Waste not, want not

And should circumstances, or your search, fail, there is always to deal with the rest.


They are coming, so best make sure we are on top of making them as enviROI+ as possible:


BBC - NEW - The great carbon bazaar - Well, well, well...

Sadly, (necessary) stories like this tar possibly worthwhile and potentially useful enviROI+ projects with a very broad, long lasting brush. Frankly it seems waaaay too late to ask or expect any target-centric government or profit-centric trading entity to clean up their acts. The trust has gone. And with each imposition of such flawed systems by their very comfortable rewarded champions, the public looks like getting ever more resentful.

Indy - Concentrate the mind with carbon credits

As acknowledged: 'minus a handling fee, one assumes' '... also require substantial bureaucracy and would almost certainly be open to fraud and manipulation'. The current crop in charge do not inspire much faith that any planetary positive result will be derived whilst many job creation schemes and self-serving tax-grabs will be first in line.

Gaurdian - Carbon-credit schemes fall 30% short of projections, report claims - In a world of energy effciency, not the best % figure to note

Gaurdian - Personal carbon trading is not as simple as swiping an Oyster card - I note one Polly Toynbee, intellect-extraordinaire, is mentioned. Not in a good way.

Indy - UK’s carbon credits registry goes online

Times - NEW - The fool’s gold of carbon trading