Friday, January 25, 2008

Clueing Up

More happy Friday stuff. This time a book via a group.

Yesterday I was with a group of nice folk in Bristol at a networking event hosted by an equally nice outfit I'd met by virtue of being not first in a recent award: The Hub.

In a most relaxed style over a (BYO) lunch we were treated to a talk on web-based social networking by one of their members, Ed, who works with these guys, amongst others. Quick off the mark with his uploads, too. You might notice the Vac:Sac at left in one pic.

While he didn't really tell me much I didn't know, and depressingly reminded me just how much I'd paid for over the years that was now free and open source, he did focus my mind on the various Web 2.0 opportunities for self-promo that needs to engage with.

FaceBook, MySpace, BeBp
Wikis (lost of potential here)
Fikr (if only for image storage)
YouTube (ditto)
Blog (Looking at it!)

He also mentioned a good book to read for those trying to grasp and exploit the etherlike world of the net, which I in turn pass on here. It's called the ClueTrain Manifesto. It's free, so what's not to like?

Sadly, even though Bristol is but 1 hr away (on a good day), it just eats into a day getting there and back, so I don't know if I can afford to pop up and down too often. But there are also some useful guys there who may be able to help me take to some higher levels, so fingers crossed.

Telegraph - BBC plans social networking site for children - Don't feel (quite) so bad about the considerably less (but still a lot) I spent to do considerably more, with more folk, than those who have access to our apparently limitless pockets.

Or, for that matter (though you will need to delve a bit).... here:

London Standard - Whistle-blower to sue Mayor over 'bullying' claims - 'LDA's Diversity Dividend, an interactive website allowing companies to assess their diversity performance. ...the £295,000 contract for the website... The website never operated properly.

Good News Friday - Plastic Fantastic!

Nice to share something nifty. Actually a few somethings.

First up there was a slot on BBC Midlands Today just now about a recycled plastic process that actually will handle mixed media. No more contamination issues! OK, it's fence posts and not the next water bottle, but it gets around that big issue of co-mingling spoiling the batch.

There is a follow-up report tonight at 6.30pm if you want to catch it (Good luck, with the fun I'm having with the BBC site either reading or commenting - if I see one more 402 or 502 error...)

That's the other bit of good news. I emailed the enviro correspondent concerned, Dr. David Gregory, to find out more and got a nice, helpful reply straight back:

At the moment* they're called

Encapsulated Waste Limited
The Old Transformer House
Showell Road
West Midlands
WV10 9LU

*Evidently, as the Google I did got this...;( Shame to have a PR and no 'go to' in support!

Anyway, maybe I should quit for the weekend now, while I'm ahead!

Roger, Over. And Out.

Bit of Friday fun: Monarch expands onboard recycling pilot

I have to say this sounded intriguing. But then I read on and realised that that some poor old plane Captain was not having surgery, being cloned or getting put out to pasture in a new job!

Good on 'em, though the words 'extending' and 'pilot' (as in programme) and 'plans to' always have me holding my breath as to what might transpire... eventually.

At least they are doing a fair bit of tangible stuff already. In fact I am amazed that more airlines are not, and required to be, doing more by now.

It reminds me of when I was an ad man with a few airline clients (bearing mind we are taking a pre-green CSR decade ago), when I was already pestering about mitigation ideas.

So I was chipping in with notions on everything from taking out the classifieds sections to the comp papers (the items will be sold by the time you get back) to having Duty Free sales as a pick up at destination on deplaning. Sadly these were usually dismissed with a patronising pat on the head.

Maybe I should get back on the blower again? Not sure what we could find to reuse en route or back home, but you never know!

RE:VIEW - Which? Magazine

I was going to say that I don't usually get involved with things that cost money, but that's daft. Most things have a price. Hence I am addressing here: Which? Magazine.

It won't be a long 're:view', at least not for now, but I am doing so here for a few good reasons.

First, and to be upfront, they have kindly popped me in their PR list. I like what they are trying to do; they seem to like what I am trying to do, so backs are going to be scratched.

But mainly I think they are a good resource to consider on matters green, especially if you are thinking of blowing some serious dosh on a green product or service. As independents, these guys do allow you a more objective opportunity to weigh ROIs and even enviROIs to 'look before you leap'.

There are a few options you can consider. Just get on the sub now and see what turns up. They have a major Green commitment ongoing and so each month there is likely to be something that will simply turn up.

Or you can see what they are up to and get on one of their deals, which is usually a 3 month trial at a good rate and then see how it goes. Don't forget that with the sub comes access to the archive (lots online). So even if you don't see what you need now, if you're going to blow a wad on, say, a solar panel, it may be worth investing in a sub to see what they have to say. And throughout the year they may well upgrade, like we do here.

So, starting with this month, let me simply highlight for you (and them: what may tickle your fancy will help them, so I will upgrade in future as I get reminded by my review copies' monthly arrival):

Green products - Dyson bagless cleaners (new range), Retailers (no real green focus, mind)
Green family - onging personal experience series
How green is your home? - ongoing feature

Note: I'm doing this so much now I have prepared this little explanation that will be popped in a post where necessary to explain what I'm up to.

I this case I am kicking of a new CATEGORY on the blog, which one day I intend to mirror on the website. But as the former (thanks to Google's billions) has an awesome content management system (to add & edit links, pictures, etc) and the latter (thanks to me blowing the pension several years ago on a steam-driven version and having no more to upgrade it at the 'mo), I'm am spending a tad more time here than on the site in the hope I will get help one day to run the two in complement (which a few other inter-connecting facilities to get you, dear reader, to lots of useful stuff on a topic).

Two for the price of one.

Or... here's somebodies we flew in earlier: Bono and Gore have an answer, not a solution

Eco(nomic) development vs. Eco(logical) preservation.

Hmmn. Tricky.

Sadly I have to agree that with a growing global population with some major concentrations about to make the leap from 3rd to 1st world (is there a second? I never seem to hear of that stage) status (with all the aspirations and consequences that will bring) I can't see the result being that great for the latter.

So, like many, I have a lot of questions, a load of answers... and precious few solutions (well, a couple that do try to involve motivating and doing, rather than depressing and berating) that at least that have a political ice cube's chance in the sheer hell of a Bali post-conference poolside cocktail. Or a refugee overnighting in a Davos storm drain.

Thing is, I rather suspect there are quite a lot of others in the same boa... er... cattle class... er... business... er... first... er... private plane seat, all with same lack of tangibles to provide. It does now provide a nice little earner for an ever-growing cabal.

But having too long been fed a domestic diet of 'not acceptable', 'needs looking at' and 'won't be easy' by those addicted to gobbling down and squandering funds into holes of various hues (most lately green ones on endless quango comms budgets to tell us to do stuff as consumers - or else - which the systems have not yet been prepared to accommodate to a decent enviROI+), I'm a tad tired with yet more pointless wittering from those totally isolated from any consequences of anything. And those camp followers chasing them about the globe with a vested interest in not rocking the gravy train, comortably along for the ride in the observation carriages

So I have to agree with such as Post 8, Mr. McGilloway, that whatever messages do get spouted, we need a new breed of messenger PDQ. Because if they have lost me, then what effect their 'situations' and how they get portrayed by the inevitable cynical mechanisms that exist (so you now need to work with this fact, which is why you don't hire Pete and Kate to front a health lifestyle campaign) in this modern age has on much lite-er greens can only be imagined.

One has to presume their sincerity and applaud their commitment (nice not to have to worry too much about paying the rent, mind, but hey), but it does seem that there are mental blocks in place in pondering if they are really getting things across to the masses in the best ways possible, and not just pandering incestuously more to their mates behind the VIP Green Room velvet ropes? Warm and fuzzy, to be sure, but not making my kids' futures look any rosier, I'm afraid.

So yes, these two talking about, much less commenting upon cutting back on lifestyle excesses does indeed seem a stretch to empathise, and engage with if you are more Fiesta Family than 'One of my other car's is a Prius' Person.

And they are more than pandered to by an equally illogical, nannying media, who seem to be operating on set agenda and box-ticking mode in trotting out anything 'green' without thought, and yet to see no irony in flying en masse to the snowy wastes to see if they can find a melting glacier, or Tuvalu to dip a toe in the azure rising waters and solemnly intone to camera...' and it's you lot flying EasyJet who are to blame.'

Acts. Together. Get.

Houses. In. Order. First.

And if not 'practical' as in Tony 'Well, y'know, it's not really practical for the likes of me not to... as I have a stonking mortgage to feed [like the rest of us don't]' Blair, then step out of the frame and leave it to leaders who can lead by examples worth following.

Until then, I reckon this lot are just knocking back even further the chances of any coherent, rational, public changes in opinion and/or consequent behaviour.

This addiction to 'awareness' without also thoroughly assessing overall consequences is looking increasingly more short-sighted and self-serving the more we get fed it.

ADDENDUM - I don't know if it is a Mac thing (it's better but not 100% on a PC), but the BBC site is woeful in getting replies through these days. Either an error message or rejection. And then, just for good measure, it either has missed or hasn't so you end up duplicating!