Friday, May 02, 2008

BA fleet goes hybrid

When I saw this headline I had this peculiar vision of rows of Boeing 747-800 Prius models lined up at Heathrow, with tons of batteries in their holds getting charged up off the mains!

But, alas, no. This story from reports that BA are going to equip its sales force with a fleet of Honda Civic Hybrids.

“We have set ourselves targets not only to cut emissions in the air but also on the ground and each driver will be reducing their carbon footprint by one third every year through this strategy.”

I suppose every little bit helps.

The pen is mighty funny

Dilbert hasn't played green for a while (but has gone colour in the interim...not sure I'm keen), but now he has, he has returned in style.

Why not over here?

This from a regional Irish Newspaper, the Guardian, highlights just what a government committed to actually doing something (rather than just talking about doing it) can achieve.

"The homeowner will pre-pay €100 towards the cost of this assessment, with Sustainable Energy Ireland subsidising the balance. Approximately two thirds of the cost of this assessment, will therefore, will be covered by the Government. The assessor may advise that the house requires such work as attic insulation, interior or exterior wall insulation, low emissions double-glazing, heating control or a range of other energy efficient works. Grants will then cover up to 30% of the cost of these works, to a maximum of €2,500. On completion of the works a follow-up energy assessment on the building will be undertaken so that there is a 'before and after' test of what has been done."

Simple, assessable, checkable and measurable benefits!

So, the big question is, why have our own Gov's schemes been such a total dog's breakfast, to the point where the majority have now been passed into the hands of the big utility companies? Is it simply that, for our lot, 'talking about doing' is just that much easier then 'doing'?

Plan for greener dairy industry

An interesting article from NewsSniffer, regarding the plans to make the dairy industry 'greener'.

Lots of well intentioned plans and targets included:-

"the roadmap aimed to address the environmental consequences of producing liquid milk through the supply chain from farms to retailers."

"Producers have also pledged to improve water efficiency by up to 15% per litre, source 40% of energy from renewables by 2020 and recycle or recover 70% of non-natural waste on farms."

"Processors have committed to doing their bit by aiming to source 20% of non-transport energy from renewables or combined heat and power, and to a 30% reduction in water use."

All well and good, but I can't help commenting on this one in particular:-

"The Milk Roadmap includes measures such as sourcing half of all packaging from recycled materials by 2020."

Only half? When I was much, much younger, we all had 100% reusable and recyclable milk containers. I seem to recollect that they were made out of glass, and we called them, errrr ..... what was it, oh yes, I remember now ....... bottles!


I am not a great believer in 'days'. Especially days 'off'. Well, other than the obvious (me...not sitting here).

Most so far have either not worked, backfired, or highlighted just how addicted we are, or forced by survival to consuming, and frankly any extreme version just comes across as silly.

I'll make an exception here:

It's billed as an experiment. So I'll be interested in the results. And... how they are interpreted and shared... and reported upon.

The theory is nice, and by making it a weekend they are setting a more realistic bar.

Thing is, I will not be taking part. Because I can't. Simply to much to do. And a lot happens at the weekend.

Hence while I give thumbs up to the principle, sadly it's thumbs down to the reality. But it will be interesting to return and see how it pans out.

Suffer little children

Can science exhibitions help children become eco-aware?

I've noticed this journalistic trend of posing such a question in such a way quite a bit, so I guess it works, but personally find it odd. But I guess it gives you a chance to try to answer your question, along with the rest of us. So...

Of course they can.

But as you go on to describe, and as with anything, what the intentions are, to whom they are directed and how well the communication is executed will decide the success, or otherwise, of the outcome.

Simplistically, there are three basic mechanisms at play, and which are not different from sending kids to school: primarily eduction, pretty much the umbrella instilled by information and entertainment.

The trick is to have enough of the latter to create receptive minds for the former to sink in as the fun part is enjoyed.

Sounds like this particular event was pretty good. But as you note, it is very much down to the ages involved.

And that goes to what a lot of trendy types who like to meddle a lot think those 'in their care' need to think, and then work hard, with lots of lovely money to set about shaping.

Despite being in a household not bereft of opinionated discussion and pretty chock full of enviro reminders on why everything, from energy to waste to water IS important, my 11 year olds I'd put at aware, but really with other issues top of mind.

That might dismay the box-tickers, but doesn't faze me. They have plenty of time yet, and by living with good examples and reasoned explanations, I am confident they will come to form their own views, leading to actions I think will not do poorly for the future.

I just think foisting concerns on kids about climate change and hoping they will suddenly have insights that currently escape consensus in the science community is asking a bit much.

Make it fun. Salt it with information. They'll get the message. Just... who decides which one it's supposed to be? I think that's still our job as parents.


Trying to pull this category together (see labels for previous posts)


Guardian - Turning over an old leaf - Good leads (must add 'em below one day)
Guardian - Get green with a book swap scheme


Policy is from politicians. And politicians react to voters.

The green tax revolt: Britons will not foot bill to save planet, poll shows

Whatever may be said, those in power want, first and foremost, to stay there. And you don't do that by running against the will of those who vote.

After their performance of late, I am not expecting much from the incumbents.

Of course, other than poorly thought-out and possibly plain daft enviROI- tax-or headline-grabbing tinkering that just irritates or puts folk off anything that is billed as 'green'. Like they have worked so well, so far.

Green campaigners are right to be dismayed, but many (not all) also need to look to themselves as well for way too many petty, self-serving Planet Ban-it campaigns, especially on trivial issues.

And with hard-working folk under ever more pressures on time and income, the sheer number of fund-draining initiatives... and personnel... being imposed on the tax/ratepayer or donor by government, LAs, quangos, and activist groups, is looking like a heck of a burden to carry in the face of difficult to comprehend, and still very poorly communicated (despite multi-million £ comms budgets) climatic times.

An awful lot of folk saying an awful lot of things and very little being DONE to actually derive many worthwhile, end-benefit results that folk can relate to. Or TRUST. When it comes to much that of necessity involves effort or cost in less than fun ways - like reduction or mitigation - it's not easy, but the current lot don't seem to be doing it very well... as these findings would suggest.

I do not however imagine seeing a reduction in the green-tosh/wash/scare/target/nanny/offset industries, etc and all the associated 'green hangers-on' (inc. many in the media, who often jaunt, irony free, to Bali at the drop of a conference to decry unnecessary jaunting) anytime soon.