Friday, February 22, 2008

Has fish had its chips?

Well, it looks increasingly likely over the coming decades, according to this from Reuters.

Whilst we mentioned both the increasing numbers of dead zones and the proportion of the oceans affected by man on this blog only recently, this report suggests that "Climate change has compounded previous problems such as over-fishing, as rising temperatures kill coral reefs, threaten tuna spawning grounds, and shift ocean currents and with them the plankton and small fish which underpin ocean food chains."

"A deadly combination of climate change, over-fishing and pollution could cause the collapse of commercial fish stocks worldwide within decades"

Given that some 2.6 Billion of our planet's population pretty much depend on fish protein, things don't look too promising, do they?

I suppose they could always eat corn and wheat etc instead. Oh, I forgot, where such crops do continue to grow, they'll be using all spare output to make stuff to run cars on. I think I feel a bit of a dilemma coming on somewhere down the road.

Everything is relative

Just ask the Ancient Pharoahs where it got 'em!

Not quite how to categorise this: Porsche launches second attack on congestion charge rise

Having a dirty great 4x4 Cayenne Turbo in Islington is not perhaps the most eco-laundable thing in the world. So no great sympathy there.

Nor is thrashing around looking for another mode of transport to drag into the mire with you, as airlines are trying on with shipping now. But oh, the irony... 'The German car marque claims the amount of emissions saved in a year as a result of the charge will be equal to the emissions produced at Heathrow Airport in less than four hours.'

However, my greater concern is priorities. And that stat, if proven, speaks volumes about where our leaders' brains are at in seriously dealing with things rather than dicking around with showboat Planet Ban-Its.

LONDON - First business kerbside collection service for WEEE and batteries

This is a new category to tie-in with's postcode localisation facilities.

It's a pretty much posted 'as is/maybe a bit edited' press release, but as it's so what I want to see and share I can see no reason to get it up and out asap:

First business kerbside collection service in the UK for WEEE and batteries

The Enhance business support programme has helped instigate First Mile’s unique successful business kerbside waste collection service for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and batteries.

First Mile is recruiting about ten new clients a day, since it launched the service in December 2007. It now has about 200 businesses using its new service.

Bruce Bratley, managing director, First Mile, said: “We want to get every SME in London recycling by 2010. That may sound a tall order, but it’s easy with First Mile’s services. ”

First Mile’s popular collection service provides London businesses with a package of storage sacks: a box of five WEEE sacks – £25 each – and one for dry cell batteries – £20 each. The sacks have been specially designed for heavy, rigid materials and can hold up to 25kg. Bulky WEEE is also collected; businesses simply slap a sticker (£25 each) on the item and call First Mile to collect the items outside their premises.

First Mile provides customers with consignment notes for hazardous waste and duty of care for all waste collected. Staff at First Mile are also undergoing training to separate the collected WEEE into equipment that can be reused or recycled.

EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) aims to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of WEEE going to landfill. It seeks to achieve this by making producers responsible for financing the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical equipment, and by obliging distributors to allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge.
The WEEE Directive entered into force in the UK on 2 January 2007 with full producer responsibility from 1 July 2007.

The Batteries Directive

The Batteries Directive was published in the Official Journal on 26 September 2006. The UK and all other Member States now have a deadline of 26 September 2008 to transpose the provisions into national law.
The Directive seeks to improve the environmental performance of batteries and accumulators and of the activities of all economic operators involved in the life cycle of batteries and accumulators, eg producers, distributors and end users and, in particular, those operators directly involved in the treatment and recycling of waste batteries and accumulators.
When the Directive is transposed in the UK, the Directive will reduce the quantity of hazardous and non hazardous waste batteries going to landfill and increase the recovery of the materials they contain.


First Mile
First Mile provides easy recycling sacks for mixed waste, IT & electronics, batteries and confidential destruction. It also provides low cost, no hassle rubbish collections.
All prices include sacks, delivery, collection, disposal, recycling and compliance.

Enhance is the support service for green enterprises in London. It helps develop businesses and social enterprises that reduce London’s waste, reuse resources or work with recycled materials.

London Development Agency (LDA)

The London Development Agency (LDA) works to improve the quality of life for all Londoners and drive sustainable economic growth.

London Remade
London Remade is in the business of recycling, creating environmental solutions for a sustainable capital.

London Community Recycling Network (LCRN)
LCRN is dedicated to supporting and promoting community-based sustainable waste management activities, and make them the preferred solution – financially, socially and environmentally .

A Cautionary IT tale

Spam is a pain. A royal nuisance.

And there's a lot that can be done to deal with it.

Some useful. Some... less so.

Despite the vast amount I get, my personal preference is still to deal with it myself. Select a sender or topic column at the end of the day, highlight and hit delete. Usually catches a good 90% in one big net. And the few one-offs you can scope and zap in a blink.

Trouble is, some get their knickers in a twist at just one errant email. And because they scream like neutered cats, a load of folk, from government dow... up, a ton of folk like to meddle on our behalf.

Which means beyond my personal setting on my PC, there are additional intercepts prior to anything arriving at Junkk Towers, at the ISP.

Now it seems there are levels of severity that incoming emails can be challenged upon, with all sorts of clever gizmos to spot a Viagra sale or organ extension a mile, or at least 9" away.

Thing is, these keep getting 'upped', I presume because the spammers are getting cleverer at dodging 'em.

And becuase of this, you might find that something you wouldn't have minded seeing, or even expected, gets whacked before arrival... and you won't know it. Serious if it is a person to person email, but eqaully a pain - all round - if it is a newsletter you have signed up for (like the forthcoming effort..... don't ask).

I only became aware of this because I realised I was no longer getting the BBC daily... after several weeks!!! No comment on its value, becuase it is of great value... at least to stimulate a line of enquiry.

So I checked, and yes, it was now dormant becuase it was bouncing. So I asked my ISP and no, I couldn't see what was being bounced (and had been without me being asked or even told), but I could request a white list exemption. BBC now back in the fold.

Not very satisfactory, and a bit of a worry. And now I am trying to figure out what else I might not be getting (it's a bit like proving a negative) to get them approved, too.

So.. bear it in mind. And any who have signed up for the newsletter... when it comes... soon... please ensure every mechanism to deafult stop it has been forwarned not to!

If this wasn't so funny.....

....... it would actually be rather sad. And I know it's not really enviro, but this just has to be seen to be believed.

I am talking about this from the Labour Party, extolling what they believe are their top 50 achievements since coming to power in 1997.

But, not a single mention of the removal of horrendous regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor any mention of the fantastic humanitarian relief efforts undertaken in places like Kossovo, Sierra Leone, plus many locations affected by the tsunami etc. And peace in N. Ireland? Relegated to a comment about devolved power (No. 26). Successfully bidding for the olympics? Not mentioned!

If you want to blow your own trumpet, then feel free to do so, but please include things that are genuinely worthy and please tell the truth. E.g. No 25, 'on course to exceed our kyoto target'!! Get real!!

Nos 1,2,5,6,7 for a start - surely you are taking the proverbial with these?

And absolutely no mention of Northern Wreck, Sleaze, Back-handers, Peerages for donations, dodgy donations, record levels of taxation, record amounts of red tape and numbers of bureaucrats etc. etc., anywhere to be seen! And stealthily getting the UK into the new EU constitution without a referendum? Now that really has been an achievement!

Sorry, but this list appears to me not to be a list of successful achievements at all, it's a list of successful box ticking and bean counting exercises where theoretical 'targets' have been 'met'.

I despair!

1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.
Ha Ha Ha! Only by taking mortgage and fuel costs out of the calculation!
2. Low mortgage rates.
Ha Ha Ha!
3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52.

4. Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.
So where are they all then?
5. Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.
Ha Ha Ha!
6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.
Ha Ha Ha!
7. Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.
Ha Ha Ha!
8. Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.

9. Employment is at its highest level ever.
By massaging the figures!
10. Written off up to 100 per cent of debt owed by poorest countries.

11. 85,000 more nurses.
So, just why is there still a shortage of nurses? Where have they all gone?
12. 32,000 more doctors.

13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards.
Anybody spotted one yet?
14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.

15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.

16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.

17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.

18. Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year.

19. Restored city-wide government to London.

20. Record number of students in higher education.
And a record number leaving in the first year! Not to mention thousands leaving with huge debts that will take them decades to pay off because of the 'successful' student loan scheme!
21. Child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.

22. Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Children’s Centres.

23. Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

24. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.

25. On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Now you are really taking the pi**!!
26. Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.
What about achieving peace over there? That really is worth shouting about!
27. Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.

28. All full time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.

29. A million pensioners lifted out of poverty.
30. 600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.
31. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.
Which is so complex, most people don't even claim it!
32. Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.

33. Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.
Errrr, where exactly?
34. Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997.
35. Banned fox hunting.
Which continues anyway.
36. Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.
With labour contributing what over the last 10 years?
37. Free TV licences for over-75s.

38. Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.

39. Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.

40. Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s.

41. New Deal - helped over 1.8 million people into work.

42. Over 3 million child trust funds have been started.

43. Free eye test for over 60s.
Errr, hasn't this always has been so?
44. More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.

45. Free entry to national museums and galleries.

46. Overseas aid budget more than doubled.

47. Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.

48. Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.

49. Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.

50. Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school.


Telegraph - They forgot about the smoking ban! - Are these Labour's top achievements? (see 50 Comments) - Well, it wan't going to be in the Gaurdian I guess.

EVENT - Ask Hilary Benn MP the questions you've always wanted answered

First, I had one of my own. And yes, it is... to you... £5-700 a pop.

Usually I'd put this in our format. But as they have kindly laid it out in the PR, here you go:

Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change

Practical steps for implementing and mainstreaming your carbon reduction strategy
Tuesday 13th May 2008, Central London

Keynote Speaker – Hilary Benn MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

“Councils have the democratic legitimacy to bring together local public bodies, businesses and communities in partnerships. They also offer to influence how citizens behave. Councils must become exemplars of sustainability to be able to influence the behaviour of others.”
James McGregor, NLGN, October 2007

Local Government Chronicle and New Local Government Network recognise the fundamental importance that local authorities play in fighting climate change and its effects. Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change goes beyond the rhetoric and brings you concrete, practical solutions for planning, preventing and adjusting to climate change.

Expert contributors include:
Hillary Benn MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Ray Morgan, Chief Executive, Woking Borough Council
Tim German, Director, Cornwall Sustainable Energy Partnership
Deborah Fox, Director – Public Sector Programme, Forum for the Future
Philip Mind, Senior Policy Consultant, Local Government Association
Attend this conference to hear guidance and learn more about:
Establishing strong leadership and full commitment to climate change issues within your organisation
Involving your partners to implement an active climate change strategy
How the new climate change performance indicators will affect your ratings
Developing sustainable procurement to tackle climate change in your organisation
With specific sessions focussing on waste management, planning and energy all services you provide that potentially affect climate change are covered. Attend this event and gain a comprehensive view of the current challenges, enabling you to formulate your own effective climate change strategy.

Sadly, I won't be going. Talk is not as cheap as I thought.

Maybe not was intended?

Aluminium's rubbish recycling rate

Each week our kerbside guys pick up the blue RE-Box which, apparently, on average, 98% of us are correctly filling

So this must apply more to when things are less... 'convenient'.

Now, the consumer, being also the public at large, is often a busy, stressed, lazy, selfish, slovenly beast, so to get them/me/us to cooperate a few techniques can be applied.

While I can see some possible need, if not merit in the most common (fear, guilt, fine, threat, nanny) options, my way out front fave is... incentive.

Now, education is good too. But as with all the recycling ads (however much they cost), I kinda know and am hence rather uninspired by the target box-ticking wet dream that a can can become a can and wasting is bad and all the consequences, but... what else is there to light my 'end-benefit' fire a bit more?

Well, after several paras... it seems, there is, actually, this:

'If that isn't incentive enough .... there are even centres across the UK offering cash for cans to recycle.'

Ker-ching. Ta very much.

However, might this not rather cut across the bows of the various 'you do the work, we get the money' schemes out there already, and/or coming?

Just wondering.

There's what we get told by government...

There's what we get told by media*.
There's what we get told in blogs*.
And then... there's what we chance upon in follow -up letters pages....

Biofuel production is not justified

Now, maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong.

But it all rather makes my case that whatever we do get 'told' to 'help' 'us' make decsions, it may not be all we need to know to arrive at the right... or at least best-informed ones.

*I blogged on this t'other day.

The people have spoken

Or... sometimes... have been drummed up into agreeing with others who claim to speak for them?

Have Your Say: Power To The People

I have come to this via a link on an associated piece elsewhere in the publication making a more general comment about consumer power - An exciting example of what consumers can achieve

Hence my comment to this is more general, and applies mostly to: '...we want the good guys to make good profits and the bad guys to lose out.'

It all rather falls down to how good gets defined, and by whom, especially before it gets served up to the consumer to decide.

Hence you can see some quite worthy issues build up a head of steam with justified indignation and actions provoked by consumer feedback.

Sadly, you can also get a lot of short-term, narrow issue, Planet-BanIt stuff where the issues get lost in the hyperbole.

Sadly, one's trust in the more traditional organs of objective information, from government through quangos to the media, are now sadly lacking in the trust factor for this consumer to rely on anything without a lot of digging and cross-referencing.