Monday, January 21, 2008

Add a jummy you Yummy Mummies!

A bit of a big up as I read this: Patio heaters axed

In light of the eco(nomic) vs. eco(logical) dilemma faced, well done Ian Cheshire, B&Q’s chief executive and Wyevale Garden Centres.

They really are a tad hard to justify.

ADDENDUM - Patio Heaters, not DIY/Gardening Centre bosses:)

Indy - A waste of energy - Couldn't have said it better, or earlier, myself

NEWS/GO3 PR - Do you have a local hero?

Way hey! This journalism lark is a doddle when you just cut 'n paste press releases.

I can't keep saying the same thing about caveats and cautions every post, so in time we'll juts have to take 'em as read. ok?

Even if, as here, this time we are talking what, in theory, should be a more trusted, trustworthy and/or objective source.... HMG.

In fact I have created a new category for news from guys with such provenance, titled GO3, which is actually one of my acronyms from way back and stands for GOGOGO, from GOV, Local GOv and nGO. The last by the way, does include some with more obvious and less objective agendas, so should be viewed accordingly.

Anyhooo... here we go:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is calling on communities across the country to identify the local heroes who they believe should be honoured by the nation.

Gordon Brown said:

"All of us know someone in our street or someone in our community who spends all their spare time helping others. They are always raising money for charity, running errands for elderly neighbours, coaching kids, or doing something to bring the town together.Carers, helpers, or just good neighbours, nothing is ever too much trouble or too much effort: they are the people who inspire us all, make our lives happier or easier, and make our neighbourhoods safer and stronger. And how many times do we say to each other: 'That person deserves a medal'. Well I think it is time they got what they deserved. And that is why I want us to see more of our local heroes presented with an MBE or an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen."


In this year's New Year's Honours List, more than 4 in 5 of all the OBEs and MBEs awarded went to people who have carried out valuable charitable or voluntary work, either as a career or in their own spare time.

The honours presented by HM The Queen are highly-valued. There are only around 2,000 awarded each year and only the most worthy candidates succeed.

Anyone is allowed to make a nomination - you do not need to be an official of any organisation. To find out how, go to, call 020 7276 2777, send an e-mail to or write to the Ceremonial Secretariat, 35 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BQ.

Nominations are considered by the independent Honours Committees, and their recommendations on who should be honoured are announced twice a year in the New Year's Honours and HM The Queen's Birthday Honours.

The nomination process is very rigorous and can take some time. And unfortunately, because receiving an honour is rare, not everyone can succeed in achieving this special recognition, but that should not stop them being considered, and your local hero has the same chance as everyone else.

Now my distaste for the term 'hero' in such a context is well known, and documented here, so moving swiftly on... still seems worth passing on.


Ok, part of the new 'sreamling'. And having slagged off major news media long enough for sticking up any old bit of PR they get sent as news, here I am doing the same.

Thing is, some are often worth a mention as a decent attempt at 're' or 'eco' something, and sticking 'em in a folder 'til I get round to it just isn't happening (literally). So I'll have to forgo the in-depth provenance check and hope it's all kosher. Not like soem better funded news outlets do much more. Eh, Auntie?

So here you go, with due caveats and cautions of enviROI advised, a cut and paste (maybe with a small edit or comment here and there) job:, the only UK manufacture of fashion bags crafted from recycled advertising banners, is launching a new range based on banners from Liverpool, European Capital of Culture events.

Including totes, handbags, sports bags, courier bags, weekend and laptop bags – all bearing the Liverpool European Capital of Culture Official Logo, the high quality accessories are made from wholly recycled street banners, and each item is an individual product that no-one else owns.

Paul Gilbraith, managing director, comments: “Thousands of advertising banners are produced for festivals, concerts and advertising campaigns using PVC and polypropylene, which do not biodegrade. Instead of disposing of unwanted banners in landfill sites, we turn seemingly valueless items into eco-friendly fashion. The result is a reasonably priced bag that most discerning fashion conscious people would like to carry.”

Gilbraith continues: “We’ve already approached five major supermarkets with our product samples and are keen to work with companies that manufacture or commission banners to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their green profile and profits”.

Seems a 'why not?' to me. Good luck to 'em. And knowing what's it's like approaching supermarkets myself... they'll need it!

But if the idea is good and all concerned make money... plus save the planet a bit better... why not?

One day, the machine will stop

That's a quote taken from John Gray's piece in Sunday's Guardian CIF.

I found the article quite interesting, mainly for the plethora of viewpoints that the usual gamut of posters on CIF bring, but also for Gray's analogy of our planet being an obese patient hooked up to a life support system.

"To some extent, technology may be able to replace the biosphere that has been destroyed, but, like an obese patient hooked up to an artificial life-support system, we will be living on borrowed time. One day, the machine will stop."

He also manages to hint at the policy that dare not speak its name.

"Far more than fantastical schemes for renewable energy, we need to ensure that contraception and abortion are freely available everywhere. A world of fewer people would be far better placed to deal with climate change than the heavily overpopulated one we are heading for now."

Oh, by the way, you'll need a good 20 minutes spare if you want to read all the comments posted.

And, just for balance, as I found the article interesting reading, one poster terms Gray "a flip-flopper who has perfected an incredibly irritating style of writing which is best characterised as 'smugism' : statement of large philosophical beliefs expressed with loads of magisterial certainty, without any argument."


First, find your venue... pref: tropical

A long time ago I think I read about Paradise or Bust /, and may even have applied. Or asked to find out more.

Never heard back.

So, without reading up on it in detail and with little intention of watching (life is too short) I learn of the latest eco-initiative that seems to involve going somewhere (I presume by air) sunny, cutting down the foliage and setting fire to stuff . I guess saving the planet in Manchester lacks visual appeal (though there was that one in a rubbish tip recently, which was another massive hit. Not).

As it is essentially a reality TV show I guess it will get a certain media following, but I simply am getting fed up with unrepresentative efforts that are almost totally for ratings rather enlightenment or worthwhile information reasons.

Having lived on the equator for a while, minor matters like heating can be ignored. And if you are not working then travel and cooling are easily addressed. So it's down to eating, sleeping and finding a way to get rid of your waste with causing an epidemic. But then I'm presuming the population density isn't too serious either.

I'm sure it will pass a few weeks. But as any sensible mirror of how we live now and sustainably in the future....?

Easy to critique I guess, so maybe I should watch. But it is telling that when I hear of such things where once I was on board I now face the prospect with dread. I guess getting such coverage will help them no end and we'll soon see the terminals at Heathrow packed with other keen planet-savers.

Apparently, according to the BBC News, today is officially (though they also claim not to know who in officialdom made it thus, so one wonders how this slot arose) the 'lowest' day. We even had a chap they wheeled on who was promoting his several week programme to charge you to avoid it all.

Maybe the best solution to most ills would be to stop watching the idiot box.


Times : It’s all tribal and strife in paradise - Having read this, I have softened to their intentions, but remain unsure as to the outcome or its value. It still seems to me more an idealistic activist and cynical reality TV producer's wet dreams coming togther, that will suck up and spit out the players, with little positive result to the planet, as claimed.

On yer bike

Watching Minister Ruth Kelly (one who I really have trouble taking seriously on anything) as we speak advocating cycling (ok) and justifying a vast amount of money to make us do so (not so ok). Ruth Kelly launches £140million cycling fund

Rather interestingly, the reporter banged on constantly that she does not cycle to work, which really was not too fair, but inevitable. Her answer was not the best, namely that she needs to take the car to do work (so that's ok) and she has an eco-friendly one!

Like recycling, I see so much wrong with the practice of such initiatives, if not the principle.

Quite rightly, the issue of safety was raised as the most serious issue. I am sorry, but a bit of training is not going to make me feel my kids are any safer against the numpties on the roads these days. So on that basis it is a non-starter for this parent until they are a lot older and the lanes are protected (how I have no idea).

Also there is the issue of weather. In this country it rains a lot. Unless there are amazing levels of new facilities being created (in addition to safe storage... so how much is all this going to really cost, or is it just going on another awareness comms effort - like most recycling - that has no chance of being engaged because the advanced practicalities have been ignored and are not in place) such as changing rooms and showers, what is proposed or when they set off and get soaked?

Sorry, all mouth and no trousers. Again. But cute seeing a couple of munchkins wheeled on to trot out the memorised slogans, which for me made it even less credible.

Non news is ? news?

This 24/7 news culture and its thirst for any bit of PR to fill its column inches and/or airwaves is getting beyond a joke.

As the father of two, whose on-smoking wife was/is teetotal but not averse to a cup of coffee or two, one has to wonder what next half-a*ed bit of maybe research will get trotted out, with varying experts saying it's anything from a disaster to no problem.

How we can have the threat of miscarriage on two cups go out in the same slot as a Doctor saying 'a moderate amount is ok' beats me. Is coffee (plus chocolate and colas) a baby killer or not? Trying to pin it down seems simply daft science and serves no one.

The net result is that the media spews out everything and ends up saying nothing. Which means we (well, I) just get unnecessarily disconcerted... and then do sod all about it.

As with most eco-pronouncements, it is a vain hope that the media could resist waiting until there is a definitive peer-reviewed conclusion, with coherent advice attached.

Fat chance. Oh, but speaking of fat...