Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Just, not sure by whom, or if in the right way.

Earth Day Roundup: Cool Things You Can Do

Rather unfortunate ad currently on this page from 'we can solve it', to this Brit at least (footage of the Normandy landings with the line 'we didn't wait'. Well, not until Pearl Harbor, anyway).

But if tactlessly put, perhaps a better message than the one from SJ Johnson at top (also currently), a family company who are working on making better the health of our family and the environment with... Windex, Pledge & Shout?

I kinda feel 'working on' and anything suffixed '-er' might best be kept in the 'Jobs in progress' file before splashing on the media spend, especially for Earth Day.
Lest one be accused, however unfairly, of allowing Corporate America to co-opt and monetize it.

Your tax £ being subsidised

Father fined for overfilling bin

The law is, of course, the law.

But there is a certain lack of PR savvy in the choice of person to make an example of, and the way it has been done so far.

In one, more tabloid, account, the authoritarian protagonists seemed to be quite hung up on the fact that it was claimed to be gaping 4" when in fact they had measured it at 7".

At least it was in the silly bin, you silly billies!

There are a few areas of outstanding natural despoiling in our area where the stab-proof sporters from even the local plod don't fancy tackling the visiting inhabitants for a few weeks of each year.

They also seem to have not yet had adequate advice on the problem with too much waste, and hence seen fit to look at what can be recycled.

One question. If you do end up with an excess, even after all the recycling options have been exhausted, what are you supposed to do? Flytip?

I also wonder as to which aspect of LA funding the proceeds go? Better services? Or payroll and pensions?

Acronym-spinning time: WASTCAN (Wielding A Sledgehammer To Crack A Nut). I like that one!

The devastating virus 0157 .......

..... otherwise known as eco-smugness.

Never let it be said that we don't comment on both sides of the enviro argument. This from The Times is actually quite an amusing rant against the environmental movement.

"What is becoming so fascinating about the new puritanism is not just that we are all being brainwashed to accept the inevitability of hair shirts, but also their unquestioned moral worth. That somehow or other, this life of sackcloth and bicycles is going to benefit our souls and make us all better people."

"My real problem with the eco-alarmists is the pleasure they take in austerity; their evident desire to strip away pleasure. Deep down, they disapprove of skiing, even on a Scottish scale. They dislike colour, excess and fun. They really do want to see us imprisoned in a narrow, grey, scratchy world of recycled car tyres and hemp lingerie (and no, I didn't make that up)."

Ooooo-errrrr! Something has definitely gotten up this lady's nose!

"we will chant a litany of carbon offset, recycling and composting, the buttresses of a new religion that makes radical Islam resemble Methodism."

"the thought of life in this smug, dull, joyless, labour-intensive, recycled, fair trade, waste-free world makes a woman yearn to be already dead and buried in her eco-friendly coffin, fertilising some field for methane-free cows."

Methinks she is taking something of a micro-view of the whole issue? Or maybe her hemp lingerie is itching?

Of Greentosh and Earth Day


We have had the hour, which worked so well. I guess some, better funded than most, have seen fit to expand with another 23. Keeps the roof over their heads I guess.

Greentosh... LOL.

I like it, especially in its less sinister incarnation. Other than this blog I would not have know it was Earth Day save for a press release advocating I ditch something I have and replace it with the new, eco version they are offering.... for the planet. Bless.

So long as they don't fib, good luck to 'em, but with one small caveat on the overall effect all this if having on the credibility and patience of the consumer.

I recall at copyriter skool the story of a Canadian canned salmon brand that was suffering because the flesh was white. The solution, which worked gangbusters, was the line 'guaranteed not to go pink'. Sex may sell, but perceived negatives can shift loyalties. Just ask the Democratic Party candidate machines.

The sad fact is that there is, very probably, a fair bit out there now that I would like to know about and act upon because it is, genuinely, better for the future of our kids. And may not even cost a premium. Sadly all but swamped by the dross.

Thanks for sharing. Cheered me up a bit.

I have to question one stat though: 'The average dustbin contains enough unrealised energy for 500 baths, 3500 showers or 5,000 hours of television.'

If it's true, then 'Back to the Future's' Doc Whassiname's Radio Shack fission plant must be closer than I thought.

As to the Howie's scheme being a lot less fun, I'd say it rather depends on who you ask. I guess if it's the agency, client, models and production crew left at T5 I guess you are right. As to getting the job done with least eco-impact and zero carbon-hypocrisy... top marks.

Speaking of which, make sure you catch the latest BBC green effort tonight. Something about kids' fashion. I got a DM piece the size of a LiLo on it last week. And it was on the Breakfast News this morning.

First point of business in boosting our awareness: flying a bunch of folk to India for what seemed like 'The Sulky Six Go 'Whatevah' in Mumbai'. You can't get irony that good any more.

Happy Earth Day.

Cache as cache can

And another acronym: CACA.

An interesting take on global politics and reporting of same, courtesy of a chap evidently with no life, a worrying grasp of IT and too much time on his hands (but thank heavens for such folk):

BBC - Capitalism harms planet - Morales

Seems to have become (as no trace of the former can be found):

BBC - Leaders warn on biofuels and food

Thing is... why so coy? It's a debate worth having. I'll need to look up the definitions and hence difference between capitalism and consumerism, but it's pretty clear that economic growth almost inevitable equates to wanting, making, using and disposing of ever more stuff, and a limit might well be nigh. Then what?

Not a debate I'd fancy being within collateral damage range of, mind. I can see why they bottled... er... robustly handled it.

Olympics costs - to infinity and beyond!

Back in February, the DCMS admitted that the cost of staging the London Olympics 'could' (yes, that horrid little word again) quadruple to the staggering sum of some £9 Billion.

We mentioned on this very blog the lack of accountability and the astounding cost estimate spiral for the Olympics swimming pool complex which had been awarded to a sole bidder.

And earlier this morning I heard Tessa Jowell on Radio 5 attempting to defend the fact that the overall estimate has now reached £9.3 Billion! Not that she actually answered any of the questions directly, it was an absolute masterclass in prevarication and the avoidance of real answers.

Well, here's a piece from Sky News reporting on the fact that the Commons Public Accounts Committee is taking the view that "the British public have been "grossly misled" and the original estimate for the Olympic Games was "totally unrealistic","

Difficult to argue with that conclusion, isn't it?

"There was no initial contingency fund set aside. In other words, no allowance was made for the possibility of overspending."

An original estimate without any contingency built-in, a failure to account for VAT, and a minimal security and policing allowance (Hell's teeth! The torch relay through London cost almost £750,000 alone!).

Anybody in the real business world responsible for putting forward such an original estimate would have been sacked long ago by now. But this is our Gov, and accountability, at least at that particular level, doesn't really seem to matter anymore, does it?

More on Greenwashing

A very 'across the pond' perspective, from PRWatch, but with very common parallels over here in the UK.

Plus a link to SourceWatch, which provides examples of Greenwashing from all around the planet.

Quote of the day - You say tomatoes, others might say rampant porkies

In the Indy - Head of E.ON UK, the British arm of Europe's biggest supplier of wind power, Paul Golby:

"The politicians have not been entirely honest about the cost of our renewables commitment, and so the public don't really know what's coming their way."

Something has got up the nose of the Newsnight editor

Some may say I might not be the only one. At least, so far, no one can excuse them of overt censorship, yet...

Further to an earlier post... Blogging - a new era

6. At 09:01 am on 19 Apr 2008, PeterBarron wrote: Oh come on Junkkmale (4), give it a chance. It's only been going for a day.

Oh... I am sorry that you appear frustrated at my lack of enthusiasm and support... well, for the additional 'improvements' to the blogging experience made in addition/complement to the infamous error codes. Now sorted, if I may repeat my congrats on that at least.

How much of a chance do you need? The same the BBC gave BA and the T5 planners for things that had a fair old while and a healthy wadge of wonga to get right, and yet...

It's just that when asked/invited to give an opinion I naturally assumed that one is going to be expected... even if aspects might be unfavourable. Maybe specifying a minimum time window to allow for settling in would have been helpful? Oh, but then there's that 'comments closed' situation. Hence an upper limit too. So a window of posting opportunity maybe? Dilemmas abound.

Might I be allowed to ask what IS the rationale for closing a comment thread? Looking back a few it seems not to be based on a simple time period.

I also like to know if I can about who I am chatting with, so I clicked the link to check and find out more on your name. Sadly, just this, as far as I could locate:
Blog Network Find and talk to the BBC's bloggers. User Profile Listed below are comments made by between and across all BBC Blogs. « NewerOlder »

My pointing out that live links was an unfortunate deletion was a feedback suggestion by the way, though if it was causing problems maybe there was good reason for deleting this option. I am sure that might have been noticed and discussed when this was planned...right? It just all seems to have been coming as a bit of a surprise to you.

And there do now seem a lot fewer folk than there used to be, along with the off-page redirections to further sources I appreciated.

Anyway, I am glad to see this thread is still allowed to remain active. But I'll have to remember the latest bit of nuSpeek to add to all the others of our age: '...as I understand it the new features are there in order to manage the huge workload robustly, not to stifle debate.'

Rather Clintonian. 'As you understand it'? Don't you KNOW? It is your programme's site blog is it not?

I concede that I may be in a minority, though I take some comfort in the experiences and opinions shared by some others.... in a total of 16 comments (so far - 1 from me and 4 from you guys, so at least we're now in double digits) on fundamental changes to the blog thread page of one of the last serious news programmes of the broadcaster to a nation of 60 million.

In my line, advertising, a critique from a customer who cares enough to write is the most valuable thing you can get, and should be cherished. And embraced.
But I'm afraid by deed and tone you and and your organisation often make me feel that is not high on the agenda where you work, managing huge workloads, um, 'robustly'.

That's for whom... again?


Talk about Newsnight: Comment guidelines

Talk about Newsnight is a blog which aims to bring the programme team closer to its audience by providing an insight into our production process and offering a platform for review, analysis and debate of the subjects we are covering.
When joining in debates and responding to blog entries we are happy for you to criticise the programme and to ask serious questions about our coverage. Where we can we will respond.


Can't fault him for not replying, and in fact quite graciously (though perhaps with tongue in cheek:):

I wasn't intending to be rude or defensive - of course I embrace and cherish your comments, and I'm pleased at the very least that 2-way communication is working better than before.

The "give it a chance" referred to your comment that user numbers were smaller than before - it will take a while to get the numbers up, but I hope that the ease of commenting will help.

I agree entirely on the live links, which I hope will be available soon.

The reason for my Clintonian defence is that the blog fix has been done across the BBC by a team not under Newsnight's direct control.

So we are finding our way with it too.

I remain concerned that so many aspects of this revamp involved deletions of things that, to me, encouraged open debate. I still have no answer as the the rationale behind having a 'comments closed' shutter. And also that the editorial aspects of the blog fix seem to have been carried out with little or no input from the Newsnight editor.

Peter (19) - thank you for your considered reply.

And with the welcome addition of Cloe-F at least we're up to a 22-way conversation now:)

I am sure this may well steadily rise as existing posters get to grips with the new system (I ended up with a 'name' I'd forgotten about thanks to some registration/cookie combo when I signed on to the BBC site ages ago), and possibly new friends now the infamous 502 is consigned to history.

However, Cloe_F's tech feedback might prove enough to dissuade many in this 'data-available' concerned age. Another aspect one might have hoped had been raised at pre-planning stage?

But I am sure that now it is shared it will be addressed. You do indeed have access to some very well informed folk, with valuable experiences to share, especially in some pertinent areas of expertise. Which is what I would be sorry to lose.

It is a shame that your team had no, or little input on the mechanisms for feedback on the work you do. As journalists and editors I am sure you are usually more than interested in every aspect of how news and opinion is gleaned and disseminated. And blanket impositions, even with good intentions, can often end up pleasing none of the people, none of the time.

Moderation is a tricky path. It's not just what gets said, but whether something is allowed in ... or out... and why. Or for how long. As those involved elsewhere with such as 'Have Your Say' for instance might have found. I don't bother with these efforts because, beyond anonymous venting in the wind, there is little incentive or reward for investing the thought and time. And the result is all too often a highlighted 'soundbite' chosen to suit.

Clearly, this thread is looking quite healthy for open debate in this regard so far and, with luck, will improve even more.

But what did prompt my original concerns back last week (16/17 April) was the 'comment closed' time out, the rationale for which (if it is to stay as an option) still remains unclear. I've noticed it elsewhere, in such as Guardian CiF, and can't see a good reason for it, considering the internet/web's ability to allow information to expand with the interest and demand it stimulates.

With this 'new', robust system, and the clearly re-energised moderating team it has empowered, I am sure leaving things open to accommodate the odd subsequent follow-up commentary is technically and administratively possible if the will is there.


It's the little things.

Some days have passed. I already have a sense that a few things might be addressed. But others might be quietly ignored. Like links to poster's URLs.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I noticed that the advisory on the nature of moderation (pre/post - oddly not a field that one change applies throughout) was a tad erratic and informed them.

It has now been changed.

You're welcome, BBC. Oddly no acknowledgement, so to subsequent posters I might appear to be to be incorrect in my advice. Just rude, or spiteful taboot? Thank heavens for the cache. Like I say, it's the little things, and they do mount up.

NEWS/GO3 PR - bare?

Introducing Thread.

I need another designation. This came from the PR on behalf of the BBC, so it's not commercial, but it doesn't quite seem to sit right under the section for gov, local gov and ngos/charities either.

I think it must be because I am not that big on fashion as, almost by definition, it seems to suggest moving on (and hence spending) quite quickly from one thing to the next for no clear reason except to be different. And speaking as one whose wardrobe evolves at a glacial pace, I find it hard to reconcile anything planet-saving with stick thin models and their caravans of hangers on scooting round the world selling ever more bizarre stuff at silly money... even if on (very rare, and hence fashionable) occasion it might be a tad greener than some.

It didn't start well. Actually, it almost didn't start at all. A dirty great envelope arrived with some anorexic yoof model (the strapline is 'Fashion Without Victim, but this is a different 'cause du jour' and hence I guess OK by not being that department) on the front wearing a T-shirt shouting 'Save the Future'. And out of this fell an equally vast magazine, publicised using 100% this and that, with more of the same. Three words and one picture a page with various moody teens wearing stuff I thought just looked like jeans and t-shirts but I suspect have pricer labels on account of not coming from a charity shop or Primark.

So I nearly passed, as helping the BBC flog trendy new publications, especially rather 'inefficient' one's of dodgy enviROI, in the name of green really ain't my... Katherine Hamnett... bag.


It's not a magazine and it's not for sale. I am just not sure who it benefits and who and what the cost was/is.

Here's the blurb, as provided, E&EO (new acronym: Edited (for space and/or often rampant, redundant client-laden unnecessary verbiage)) & Eyebrow-cranked (if I think some claims may be a tad over-egged:) Often:


As ethical fashion promises to be the next big thing, the BBC has launched ‘Thread’: a new online magazine for fashion conscious people who care about where their clothes come from.

New research conducted for Thread among 16-30 year olds has shown that ethical fashion is no longer a fringe movement; almost one in three (31%) intends to buy more [in addition to... or instead of... the next big things?] ethical fashion in the future. Young shoppers believe ethical fashion is a worthwhile cause, yet do not know where to turn for information on how to be sustainable and stylish [Hmnn... not sure I think that is true, or fair. But maybe it's that they haven't had a greenish guilt-assuaging article in the glossies for a few weeks and it's time to get another bandwagon-jumping box-ticking, profit centre-creating going? Sorry, that's just cynical. There are many with, good intentions, such as TRAID, gracing the pages of... Junkk.com!]

The Thread research highlighted that young people are actively seeking information on ethical fashion and are keen to put pressure on fashion retailers to provide information on eco-credentials of the clothing they sell.

Half (50%) want information on the working conditions of people manufacturing the items
43% would like to see organic labelling on clothes
41% are concerned about the use of pesticides and toxic chemicals which are currently not disclosed
36% want advice on how to dispose of used clothing and its packaging
31% would like ‘fashion miles’ declared by retailers disclosing the distance and form of transport used to get the item to the shop floor
30% want information on the energy usage involved in production

Katherine Hamnett, designer and supporter of Thread says:

“Thread is great because ethical fashion promises to be the next big thing and not just a passing fad. Young people are really interested in these issues.” [Bless. I wrote the bit above before getting to this. Sorry, what I wrote stands. How much was her effort again? Verus just using a few bog standard reuseable bags and investing money in high enviROI eco-efforts]

Thread will cut to the heart of what ‘ethical fashion’ means, covering a range of issues from the environmental footprint of clothing manufacture, to the impact of the fashion industry on human and animal rights and why the choices we make as clothes shoppers make a real difference. [OK, and why this is even being published here, I will support anything that shares information, but I really have my eyebrow cranked as to how much is about making informed choices and how much is using a niche notion to get a lot of sheep-like luvvies new avenues to gush over, and those with more money than sense or sincerity a 'get out of guilt free' pass for simply wanting money and fame or the next best thing to occupy their lives and minds].

First and foremost Thread is dedicated to showcasing the latest in eco-fabulous style. The magazine shows you how to get the look you want in an eco-glam way through a unique mix of affordable fashion, exclusive celebrity videos and interviews, photo galleries and thought-provoking features. [I am afraid that if this is the first and foremost way to help save the future, I will need to remain on the floor until the stomach cramps pass as I can't seem to stop... the darn.. hysterical... laughing... I await with sick certainty that there will be, inevitably, much overseas travel involved ' in the cause'*]

It will also offer ideas and information on how to give your wardrobe an ethical makeover through a mix of shopping for new or vintage clothes, to swapping clothes with friends and customising existing clothes. Thread is proof that there are ethical options to suit your style, your budget and your views. [Phew... Mitigation!]

BBC Radio 1 DJ, Nihal, a reporter for Thread magazine said:

“Organic cotton, fair trade, restyling, vintage wear… ethical fashion is this year’s carbon footprint in eco terms but it’s still a new concept that we’re all trying to get to grips with. The perception of ethical fashion as being ugly, expensive clothes for hippies is changing, it’s so much more than that – I can’t see myself in a hemp poncho any time soon! Ethical fashion is about affordable style, with substance.

“There are now loads of places, both online and on the high street, where you can find clothes that are produced in a way that looks after people and the environment as well as giving you the edge in the style stakes. Thread is the place to find them. It is a place where fashion conscious people can tap into the latest trends and get the low-down on how to adopt ethical fashion into their lives in a fun and stylish way. ”

Thread magazine launches in conjunction with ‘Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts’, a new four-part series on BBC Three starting on 22nd April in which six young fashion lovers will swap shopping for the factories and back streets of India [*bingo!]** to make clothes for the British High Street, offering a unique insight into how our clothes are made. Over the next six months Thread will also be at the heart of further fashion events and programming across BBC TV, radio and online.


Thread has been produced by BBC Learning which delivers campaigns that aim to inspire and empower individuals to take action - action that changes their lives, benefits communities and helps to transform society. BBC Learning sits within BBC Knowledge and provides specialist learning content, formal and informal, for children and adults.

Thread aims to make ethical fashion the next big thing [until the next big thing, presumably], change consumer attitudes and behavior and demonstrate that being ethical is easy as well as affordable and desirable.

The BBC commissioned research using representative samples of 550 people (Research conducted by Voodoo research)

Thread magazine will be supported across BBC Channels: BBC Three, Radio 1, 1 Xtra, Asian Network, 6 music and BBC Blast.

And it's out in the nation's closet and up and running... tomorrow! Your licence fee at work:) Let's see what it manages to do.

**ADDENDUM - Missed the programme (or maybe it is tonight), which was last night, so I must be careful with my comments, but I just watched the sofa surfer set at BBC Breakfast with two of the girls. Sorry, this was Famous Six Go Moody in Mumbai meets Big Brother. The quote that set the scene was from one girl that She 'thought it was just going to be a big holiday'. Sorry, this has done little to convince me that it is much more than a a way to get some footage that has a greenish association more coverage than it might. As to creating changes in behaviour that come close to offsetting what was consumed creating all this... But at least they got awareness.

Indy - High fashion, low budget: Why hard times needn’t mean a fashion crisis - Ooo, poor people, how totally radical. Shut up!!! This all seems less about the environment, and more about managing expectations (well, post-rationalisations) of an economic downturn. 'I'm not doing this 'cos I is broke, I am making a statement about the ethical state of the planet.... well, 'til I can afford not to again'.