Thursday, March 27, 2008

IDEA - It's kind of reuse, but I just liked it

"Modder" turns hobby into career

PR COVERAGE - Greenfinder

A little bit of trumpet-blowing never hurts.

Or, for that matter, some mutual backscratching.

We have been mentioned, in flattering terms, in the newsletter of a green directory called GreenFinder.

So, in true rapid-blog style, a compliment is returned:)

Actually looks like a nifty little resource, too.

POLL - MW/YouGov green issues marketers’ poll

You need to take a large dose of salt with them usually, but they're always worth a gander if only for a laff: MW/YouGov green issues marketers’ poll

I seem to recall taking part even. Not sure what that says about me. I think I may have skewed the result, mind.

A few points, which are acknowledged. One is the difference between 'doing' and 'being seen to be doing'. Which can equate to getting credit more for dropping a ton of dough claiming stuff than actually doing any of it. And with even major media having the attention span of gnats these days, much less checking stories, if it gets punted out as green it will get printed as green. Even if it might all wash away with the first shower.

Plus I loved this: 'Other fascinating insights gleaned from our research include the aversion of marketers to the idea that brands should pay a green tax. They believe it is the Government’s responsibility to take care of the costs associated with going green.' I believe that is a classic MaRiDa (Mandy Rice Davis) comment: 'well, they would say that, wouldn't they?'

Speaking from personal experience, I am also not at all surprised to find 'that it is senior people who are the main force pushing green issues rather than marketers lower down the scale.'

Most in the profession (which also often seems very short lived, which may explain a lot else. No sooner do I hone in on a promising lead than he/she has left 'to pursue their own interests'. Or to become a football manager, doubtless for the increased job security) seem to see their role more as gatekeepers of the status quo, and actually getting innovative on anything without the nod from on high ain't gonna happen. Even getting from Trace on reception to Mrs. Miggins in the PA pool is tricky enough. I know of one company who got their knickers in a twist about a call to see who best to pitch a green initiative to because they were on the Telephone Preference Service list!

There does seem to be a disconnect. But to be fair, I also suspect those big bosses who make big green noises are the first on the horn when any initiative dents the bottom line. Black trumps green when it comes to bonus time, even though staying the course can work out better on all counts in the long run. But as long runs don't seem a factor in mid-level marketing careers, it may explain why the short term gain is favoured more.

The full survey, by the by, is not free. £999+VAT not free. Those marketing tinkers, if it had been over a grand I wouldn't have considered it, but at that price...


Greenbang - And the ten least green brands are…

Great... er... minds...!

At least these things give folk like us something to write about.

That said, I rather dread seeing those perhaps surprisingly higher than warranted whacking out a 'Top 10 Green Brand' logo in the next few days.

Having taken part (and only having done so to find out what the questions might be... I wonder how many 'so much to do, so little time' top marketing gurus would have devoted the time), and now basking in the glow of being deemed a 'top marketing professional' (the qualification criteria were ruthless, I tell you), it is refreshing to see that 'we' are only human: 'Quick... name a green brand!!!!!' Er... Toyota Prius? No... HSBC (er, actually, what happened to them? They have spent oodles!).

Like Brucie might say (well, once have said); 'Good game, good game!'.

CATEGORY - Space Tourism

As an SF-addict, engineer a reacher for the stars creator-type, I am in awe of every development.

As one who has also bought into the notion that at the moment we have a bit of a gas problem, I find myself on the horns of a dilemma.

Best to make it a category, post what's out there and maybe we can all decide.

WSJ - Economy Fare ( $100,000) Lifts Space-Tourism Race

Gaurdian - NEW - Virgin Galactic: Richard Branson's pledge to prospective space tourists

And this being the right-on Grauniad, as part of the franchise, and commercial (was it paid for? If not, then big up to Mr. Branson for pulling a fast one on the ad sales guys via editorial), I look forward to the breathless gushing announcement of Virgin Space of Waste Carbon Offsets soon, too.

I guess saying 'more environmental' several times must make it so.

In case not, I wonder if any pictures from this £200k Kodak moment afforded the attractive collection of rich folk featured might capture the Earth weeping?

ps; Check Space, Tourism and Virgin Galactic at the least in the labels at end for more

EVENT - Homes4Good '08

MONTH - This!

FIELD: Enviro-related
WHEN: 28-29 March
WHAT:Homes4Good '08
WHAT... MORE?: Showing ways to create sustainable buildings: from constructing buildings using local, natural materials, energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technology, to promoting lifestyles that help reduce consumption, save energy and make sustainable living easy.
WHERE: Showering Pavilion at the Bath and West’s royal county showground
WHO: Well, at the very least co-blogger Dave of Solarventi is exhibiting there!
HOW: £5
COMMENTS: Looks like a nice day out!


We've all heard about bio-diesel, but this was a new term to me, so I reckoned it would be worth bringing to everyone's attention.

This from Reuters explains that Shell and Virent Energy Systems are teaming up to "research a petrol alternative from non-food crops that would reduce CO2 emissions without driving up food prices."

It is not ethanol, and it is interesting that the 'fuel' will use non-food plants and will not use land otherwise suitable for food crops. On top of that, unlike higher % ethanol/petrol mixtures, the biogasoline can used used without modification to most engines.

There is no explanation of the actual technology, but it uses a 'similar technology' to the research the same players started last year using biomass to produce hydrogen.

Possibly one to watch?

CATEGORY - Greenhouse Gasses

A lot of discussion still on what they are doing, but it is worth getting a handle on what they are to try and get to an informed opinion.

Here's a start:

BBC Green - 60 second guide to... Greenhouse gases - Bear in mind that this is 'a' view by 'a' medium. Take the opinions in that spirit. But the facts are worth noting. And it's rare when one hears of the more 'influential' ones, such as NOx which, whilst less in volume in comparison to CO2 or Methane can actually be more serious. And these often crop up in very significant places.


Though related to carbon offsetting in a few ways, it is pretty different in most others. So I think worth a seperate category.

Indy - Now it can pay to go green

Marketing Week - DiCaprio aids HSBC Green card launch - Not investing as such, but as its finance related I thought I'd stick it here for now. Yet another 'trial' that's 'not yet in the UK', so make of that what you will. They printed it. I printed it. Leo got some dosh for his pet project. HSBC looked a bit greener still... and the planet has a few less plastic credit cards to worry about.

You can tell I'm impressed.

BBC Green - NEW - Ethical banking uncovered

Where's the real damage being done?

Map shows toll on world's oceans

NEW addenda at end.

The other day, at my boy's parent/teacher day, we ended up sitting with their IT tutor. Far from being just about bits and bytes, it seems the course delves much deeper than I imagined in how they use their computers to increase their knowledge base.

So we got onto resources. Several were mentioned, from Google to Wikipedia, and I was reassured to find that nothing was to be taken at face value, and multiple sources from a broad span surveyed to try and arrive at a fair view, even in matters of 'fact'.

But I was suprised when the the BBC site was mentioned, and this was laughed off with the most derision of all.

I came to the link above via a site that, it is fair to say, is 'climate optimistic' and not very pro-BBC.

So in no way was the thrust of this concerned with the rather sobering notion of what mankind is doing to the planet it inhabits.

But it did highlight how our national broadcaster, by 'doing science' in this way, just adds to the waffle and fudge on this subject, that ends up meaning so little.

I have to say I immediately stumbled on the 4% stat. Not 3% or 5%; somehow it is known that '...only about 4% of the world's oceans remain undamaged by human activity'. I think as they refer to 'sqkm' it is by area and not volume, but am not to sure. It would surely make a difference. Especially after the recent piece on the plastic vortex we noted here.

'The authors say the data is a "wake-up call" to policymakers.' I'll say, and to all of us. But at 96% down I'd say our work is cut out. This just seems so...vast... so... total... what on earth can credibly be done?

Apparently, '...the two biggest drivers in destroying marine habitats were climate change and over-fishing.' Surprising. I would have thought pollution would have rated higher than over-fishing. I also now have another niggle when it comes to 'CC'. Hence I am thinking of extending my personal acronym to PMWNICC. Climate changes all the time. To be meaningful in this context surely they mean 'Probably Man-Worsened Negative Impact CC'?

And to counter 'climate change' of this nature, the notion seems to be more conservation efforts. Hmmn.

To quote this critic, 'they [the BBC] thunder, but with characteristic vagueness don't say what this action, management or rolling up of sleeves actually entails.'

I tend to agree. Yes, we need to be aware of this stuff. But not get fed it in a way that either makes us tune out, feel helpless, ignore it or, worse, treat it as immediately suspect and irrationally, but perhaps inevitably, rebound more to a cosier counterview.

I continue to think with such sloppy reporting and agenda-driven editorial the BBC are simply making things worse.

Addenda -

Huge study gives wake-up call on state of world's oceans
And this... 'Human activity damages more than 40% of seas'

BBBC - NEW - I include the full comment with the link. No question that this sea-borne rubbish is nothing short of littering or even vandalism. I simply have a problem equating what washes up in a Pacific island with what I as a consumer put in my bin. Which seems to be the link trying to be made. Whilst all efforts at reductions in unnecessary plastics are sensible, in the shorter term I'd have thought it more worthwhile to look much more at disposal systems, from collection to reprocessing. Someone lobbing something over the side of a Panama-registered ship is harder to identify with as we grapple with PMWNICC.