Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One for the plot

In a month I stand in a lonely box at the NEC trying to persuade FMCG brands and retailers to buy into RE:tie. So this pigued my interest: Tesco back Dragons' Den-style show to reward unknown brands

Sadly, while there are clues to pursue, at the moment it remains more tantalising than tangible.

Especially as it is probably shot and in the can already. Anyway, nothing ventured...

Well, they did ask.

Green bling - Can luxury mean more than excess consumption?

It's all a matter of what your definitions are, and where you set the bars (and the link to the article didn't work for me so I can't reflect the detail).

That said, it is hard to reconcile the words with consequent actions, especially 'environmental and ethical messages' followed, almost inevitably, with 'excess consumption' in the next sentence.

It's why I find a Sunday supp special on 'recycled fashion' hilarious when by the following Friday it's all 'so early this week' and they've all scooted off in the Lear to Tokyo to gush on making barstool covers out of Willy's, er... well...

Take that as a no. And all trying to jump on board the bandwagon should feel deep shame. Well, if they had any shame. Or the ability to feel.

Smiling because you don't drive a chelsea tractor?

Well, you may have to drive that smile off your face if you have cause to stray into the London congestion zone on occasion, as Ken's new £25 'gas-guzzler' charge is going to catch an awful lot of ordinary family cars out too.

This from BBC News reports that non 4x4's, but still categorised as members of the chelsea tractor club, such as the Peugeot 407 SW and several models of the Vauxhall Zafira range will also fall into the £25 bracket because their emissions exceed the 225g/km emissions limit.

As they say, if you don't catch enough fish, spread the net further.

Darfur - is the deafening silence broken at last?

The genocide in Darfur has been going on for what seems years now. Ostensibly, at least according to the current Sudanese government, this dispute between local farmers started over water (the shortage thereof), has caused the deaths of over 200,000 people and created the displacement of an even greater number to refugee camps within Sudan and in its neighbours. The fighting has even spread over the border into Chad and supposedly into Ethiopia too.

Yet the world's major media seems to have generally ignored the entire issue, until now. So what appears to have made the media realise that there is actually an important story behind Darfur?

Ahhhhh, I see, an internationally renowned member of the big screen fraternity, Stephen Spielberg, no less, has made the media luvvies sit up and take notice by stepping down from his role as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies. Now that's something really worth getting worked up about.

Isn't it amazing how a bit of celebrity can raise the media image of an issue whilst the deaths of hundreds of thousands can't?

Yet still not a peep about the fact that Darfur lies right across what is probably the largest potential oilfield in Sudan. Is it me?

Sticks and.. well just sticks may warm my bones

Of late, and with some justification, anything involving 'bio' and 'fuel' seesm enough to get the Council excorcists out. So it's nice to stumble on something that seems a bit more enviROI+ in this regard. - Green shoots from dead wood

At least, I'm hoping it is from the 'dead wood' aspect. But just looking at the money flying about... it's eye-watering!


If you don't know about it, it's well worth a look... and signing up.

Hey, it's free. What's to lose? Actually, what's to save, or gain, more like!

And I say this still smarting from a few attempts to get in touch with more than the inevitable 'whoshudIsayzcallin'?' gatekeeperette and hence being ignored. Shame, as I like what Martin Lewis has done, is doing and can do. And I think he'd appreciate

The reminders are weekly and usually contain well worthy nuggets of gold.

Such as this, which prompts my review here and now: Time to switch energy supplier. He even has my outfit, Swalec, sussed as pitching today but bumping up soon.

My only niggle is the email, like the site, is a navigation nightmare. But then is not exactly the London Tube map.

Must fly

It has been a good day so far for not only finding 'interesting' stories or opinion, but also being pleasantly surprised where I find them.

Indy - Revealed: the £1.2m spent by select committees on travels around the globe

I wonder how many were on trips to assess the impact of air travel?

Peak soil as well as peak oil?

That's just a little snippet from a well reasoned article by George Monbiot, on biofuels. Monbiot argues that many of the crops (and even crop wastes) grown for biofuels actually create a net carbon debt of decades (and even centuries in some cases), and lead to soil exhaustion, not to mention competing with land for food production.

"Removing crop wastes means replacing the nutrients they contain with fertiliser, which causes further greenhouse gas emissions. A recent paper by the Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen suggests that emissions of nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas 296 times more powerful than CO2) from nitrogen fertilisers wipe out all the carbon savings biofuels produce, even before you take the changes in land use into account. Growing special second generation crops, such as trees or switchgrass, doesn’t solve the problem either: like other energy crops, they displace both food production and carbon emissions."

So just when we were beginning to think that some selected biofuels were the way forward, the counter arguments appear to become more convincing.

"All these convoluted solutions are designed to avoid a simpler one: reducing the consumption of transport fuel. But that requires the use of a different commodity. Global supplies of political courage appear, unfortunately, to have peaked some time ago."

Political courage? Come on George, we haven't see any of that for decades!