Thursday, March 06, 2008

Why such stupidity?

That was my initial and pretty much only thought on reading this from The Telegraph yesterday. But the story sort of stayed stuck in the back of my mind, and I feel moved to comment on it.

The strange thing about the arson attack is that it appears it was carried out by ELF [Earth Liberation Front], an ultra extreme green faction that seems to regard destruction and arson as reasonable political weapons, yet the target was a set of 'environmentally friendly' new buildings.

Now I could sort of vaguely get my head around it, but still never condone it, if they were targeting things like petrol stations or oil refineries and the like; but to burn down new houses built to a quite high eco standard is just insanity! It's eco-terrorism of the worst and most stupid kind. Sorry, but groups like ELF are a major millstone to the vast majority of people with 'green' leanings and I, like many others I am sure, can never countenance wanton destruction in the name of green politics.

So, to any groups like ELF; please go away and leave the stage to people with brains, common sense and some scrap of human decency. Displays of such stupid, wanton and unnecessary destruction means you are basically unfit to call yourself human beings.

Addendum (from Junkk Male) - Worth adding this post, and the responses it got (the notion seems to be that something needs to be done, but when it comes to doing it is seldom creating positives that get first priority, in favour of primarily non-action-related negatives) , as it is related: Enough Pious Eco-Snobbery - But What Next?

Glimmers of sense, if not hope

Crunch time for social enterprises

A great piece, with some excellent links. Thank you.

A few years back I was invited as a guest at one of these shindigs. Usual suspects. Different minister. Same platitudes.

I wasn't there (see below), but one thing that I do sense has not moved on is the acknowledgement of those in high office of the sheer breadth and scope that can be brought under this vast umbrella that is 'social enterprise', or even if anyone has yet managed to come up with a decent definition of what one actually is. Maybe that is the problem, there cannot be 'one'. Especially as we all, inevitably, end up competing to survive.

Because I for one find it very hard to lump together those doing invaluable work with, say, drug addicted street kids - which by any measure hardly seems a consumer group likely to lead to a self-sustaining business model any time soon - and compare it with what I'm up to. And that can have an effect. It does often rather feel that the truly vocational are also placed side by side with those who have a for-profit model when it comes to awards and funding, but with unspoken agendas at play which can lead to vast commitments of time and funds which often stand no chance of success from the off.

I had a rummage and some might find this - a purely personal view from one at the sharp (and, it seems, usually wrong) end interesti... well, another view, at least:

There is a lot of good to be done, and businesses to be run, successfully, doing it, but I do fear that at the moment the thrust of support and guidance given is not from the best qualified or able, and even if with the best intentions, perhaps not with the best results. Especially in terms of value for money/ROI to those doing the investing or those in theory intended to benefit.


SEC - Response to BERR's enterprise strategy

Paranoia, and KNOWING there's sod all you can do

It's a bit of a rant, but with a glimmer of a sensible point inside.

I just had a gander at a major social enterprise award I entered yonks ago.

It is heading for the finals, so the publicity machine is well and truly out.

So I was checking the semi-finalists in the several categories to try and see what's 'in' and what's 'no-win' when it comes to judges and/or funders.

Now there were the usual highly local magazines and groups, which are fine, but often seem a stretch when it comes to the expandability and sustainability criteria that mostly, and sensibly (if more in theory than practice) get imposed.

But what brought me up short were two entries, which were pretty much exactly what I had put in as developments of in need, and worthy of support. Not brand new by any means, but with unique twists that really made them seem different. One in the area of reuse matchmaking and the other in car sharing.

Now it's all pretty academic, and of course any good idea can be matched and/or pipped by the same one.

But it did get me to wondering about the actual levels of protection and degrees of confidentiality one might need vs. get in such cases. You only go in for such things because you need help, but how often does one apply the same level of non-disclosure as one would to, say, an investor?

Tricky, as in most cases one is not talking a 'thing' that you can patent or trademark or copyright, and a good idea is only as good as you getting it to market first.

Nuclear power!

That's the only realistic way forward according to this most surprising of sources, The Guardian.

The piece is quite well argued and I find it difficult to disagree with the author. But, I'm staggered to see that it's in The Guardian, a bastion of the anti-nuclear lobby! It's a good job that it is not on CIF, there would be the most horrendous set of ranting posts building up already!

Perhaps, in Bob Dylan's words, 'the times, they are a-changing'?

Meanwhile, much more importantly...

There's a little slot at the end of the BBC morning news.

It's reserved for Yummy Mummies (and, it seems, dozy, slobby, homeworking Dads) having a wee moment having kicked the kids off to school, the spouse to real work and just finshed sorting the debris all this has left.

It's usually celeb-lite time.

But, in keeping with Auntie's new civic awareness, the PR's pushing their clients forward usually need a bit more to sweetn the deal than they act in some soap. And a cause is always a good one. I just wish all concerned were not so naked in what the real reasons for appearing are, and scoot so superficially over the theoretical actual reason for them being on.

So today we had one Tamsin Outhwaite on matters 'green'. I seem to recall her being on in this regard before*, so she has a bit of form. But for a moment it looked promising. Something about green heroes and awards, and a woman in Wandsworth who has created a site called Nappy Valley to help with reuse (Good luck. I rather think that, as with JunkkYard, FreeCycle has kind of been there and done it).

But before I could jot anything down it was on to her new TV series, a gritty drama based....

Which is, I'm betting, what the site will be on about (actually, it's on ITV, so maybe not), rather than sharing her insights on not leaving the TV on standby, not having a bath, etc.

*Addendum - found it. To be fair, the same cause. Different, though brand new, career event though.

'Green gold' or problems untold?

Neat headline from a decent and objective analysis of biofuels from CNN International, that clearly and concisely provides a great deal of useful information without the hysterics that our British media tend to add in.

If you take natural habitat and convert it to growing crops for biofuel, it's all about carbon debt that ensues. Some are obviously unacceptable.

"The worst land to convert is tropical peatland rainforest (creating a carbon debt of 840 years) or Amazonian rainforest (320 years) with the lowest carbon debt of 17 years created by converting the wetter woodland-savannahs of Brazil's Cerrado."

Well worth a perusal.