Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NEWS/GO3 PR - The trouble with mushrooms.

You know: 'kept in the dark and fed on manure'. Plus another, entirely deliberate allusion.

Via a blog post, but from the FoE.

Now, despite being a bit more involved and trying to stay abreast of 'issues' than some, I don't still know enough about nuclear to have a clear view one way or t'other.

However, I do know when I sense a potentially fast one going down, and that I don't like.

Such as this is too important to let pass, at least not without the whole thing being properly discussed. In fact by my reading much is about getting rid of discussion and/or accountability in the future, which can't be right.

And all they are doing is ask that you write to your MP if you agree (or adjust the template if not fully), which is as free will/democratic process in action as I feel life needs be.

As received, E&EO:

Please write to your MP for a more democratic Planning Bill! [inc: link 2 'theyworkfor you']

Deadline Monday 02.06.2008!

Currently being whisked through Parliament, almost unnoticed by the press,
is one of the most anti-democratic pieces of legislation ever to be
attempted in this country.

If the Planning Bill becomes law, in its current state, opposition to large
projects such as nuclear power stations or new motorways will become far
more difficult. We will effectively lose our right to be heard at hearings.
Opposition will take the form of written evidence only and apart from an
"open floor" session, where the developers need not be present, there will
be no other means to oppose. It seems that we will be very much distanced
from any source of information or any voice loud enough to be heard!

Once a large project has been finalized and executed by an
"Infrastructure Planning Commission", an un-elected body with hitherto
unknown powers, the IPC will be above Acts of Parliament. The IPC is not
even answerable to the relevant ministers!

Friends of the Earth demands that the Bill should:

a.. Take climate change into account
b.. Ensure that the General Public have a right to be heard at enquiries
c.. That Ministers remain accountable for decisions

There is very little time left, as this Bill is at the report stage, and is
to be debated in the Commons on the 2nd June 2008.

Please spare a few minutes and go to this link below:


If you are in agreement with the contents of the template letter, then
please send it to your MP. We would also be very grateful if you could
forward this email on to friends and colleagues.

It's an ex-parrot. A green one.

Newsnight: Are green taxes dead?

'Are green taxes dead?'

Cripes. That's a big... sweeping... question to a complex issue... set of issues.

Short answer: I certainly hope not, if 'Green taxes' means sensible, fair, practical ways to help people make personal choices on their consumption of 'travel'.

However, if it is anything like the historical, and current crop of ill-conceived, poorly thought-through, city-centric, revenue over planet, stupidly-communicated 'initiatives' tried or floated to date, I certainly hope NOT!

For instance, retroactive taxes on the majority of the poorer electorate's older cars to fund pay and pensions black holes for legions more box-tickers (even if 'green'), many of whom never actually pay for the consequences of their travel, was never going to fly as anything like helping person or planet.

And with each clunking great effort of this nature, the chances of selling something rational to an expanding, travel-imposed (work) or addicted (social) race gets ever harder.

Indy - Don't Be Yellow, Gordon. Be Green

What an interesting Earth-coloured rainbow is getting conjured: Brown, Green and now Yellow.

What the heck is meant by 'Be Green'? Especially from a major national newspaper.

Mind you, when I say 'major'... what is the readership of the Indy, and where are they located? I suspect most sales are in major urban centres where there might well be adequate public transport alternatives, plus a salary levels more able absorb such increases. Just as I wonder what the transport options are of, say, a News of the World (ABC figures a tad higher?) reader facing a bit of a trek on their shift (don't see many Ministers taking the night bus) if priced out of using their 10 year-old car by fuel prices. Oh, and the rather odd notion that retroactive taxation to try and encourage the purchase of a Prius as the latest 'green' measure; one that is discrediting the whole notion of necessary reduction and mitigation from the wrong messengers touting very self-interested messages .

Too much, too often, turns out to be more designed to put money in places that are in the name of this 'green' rather than serving many tangible actions that might well actually help. For instance, how many 'Senior climate advisers' are there now in government, quangos and activist groups?

Indy - Why are car tax rates going up on older vehicles, and is the move unfair? - an attempt at balance, but almost every sentence written from a person sitting at a desk in London. I'm afraid been lectured at by such folk is proving divisive.

Guardian - We must all act together - That would be an 'MP' we, which is like a Royal one, only they do carry cash, even if they don't need to spend it on much. Love the fact that he turned to... the Guardian with this message seeking support. Not sure he's getting it. The support I mean.

Guardian - Higher still and higher - A frank exchange of views. Not sure the view from comfy chatterati-central is winning out, mind.


Much is being said (and not much done so far save a few 'initiatives' designed to serve the interests of the initiators more than anything else).

Whatever one believes about AGM, climate change, etc, 'green' is here to stay, with all its confusing invocations and justifications.

Trouble is, most still seem stuck in a rut of simply arguing the point of whether bad climatic things are happening and if so who or what is to blame. One presumes that those who advocate man IS involved are principally interested in what can practically be done to mitigate and/or reverse our probably negative impositions.

So is it possible, and if so PLEASE can we then throw all we can at getting an answer to this once and for all?

It's pretty critical. If there is man-worsened negative climate change, then self evidently it would make sense to stop making it worse. Even just to buy time (unless we just give up and go for the party of all parties to celebrate the end of the race).

If, however, it is out of our control (even if we are making it worse), then maybe other strategies should be allowed for that do not involve p*ssing in the wind. Because we are talking best uses of vast amounts of money and resources here, with a potentially short planetary triage period.

Around the time of the Milliband interview there was a piece by Environmental 'Analyst' Roger Harrabin. If I recall, in it was a claim that we'd need 1,000 more resources going into the predictive modelling to actually know what is going on.

Despite being one who is more than dubious about the motivations of many researchers, I'd say that if this can sort it out once and for all... let's just do it, quick, so we can plan accordingly and act with confidence.

Otherwise all I am seeing is a planetary death by a thousand cuts, from politicians whose sights extend a maximum of 2 years (Dear Lead...er...follower chooses that highly-read organ The Guardian to make his case for retroactive car taxes to shift workers facing the night bus in the Midlands), to media who dabble as it suits with often plain daft agenda-driven propaganda dressed up as green advocacy.

Green Party - Greens call for Government to abolish road tax and charge the polluters - as a low mileage user (for now), that works for me(for now). I just hoep they have thought through on behalf of those with less choice.

NEWS/GO3 PR - Gardens to go

From a few things I'd seen and heard, I had some doubt son the recent Flower Show being as green as made out. This is much more like it:

Flower Show giveaway proves a hit

PR as received, E&EO

A new attraction at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show has crowds flocking - but it's not a conventional exhibit.

The Show's garden leftovers are being offered to community groups and charities who can re-use them, proving that one person's discarded flower-pot can be another's treasure.

The re-use yard, run by the Charities Advisory Trust, opened its door the other day to find new homes for flower show materials which are not otherwise recycled.

Exhibitors dismantling their sites have been depositing materials with the yard, based at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show site, since the end of the Show on Saturday. For the next eight days, groups will visit the yard by prior arrangement to collect materials including flower-pots, wood and stones.

Charities Advisory Trust Director Hilary Blume identified the possibilities for the yard when she saw the opportunities for surplus materials which could be put to use by community groups.

'The Trust knew these materials could be re-used, so we came up with a simple solution which provides groups like city farms, schools community projects with gardening materials. And it's also convenient for exhibitors dismantling their sites.'

QUOTE OF THE DAY - Helicopter Environmentalists

More of a definition really, and I'll credit (unless otherwise proven)... me.

"Helicopter Environmentalists are those, from government, media and now even corporate circles, who drop in briefly; making a lot of noise and stirring up a lot of dust that can be really distracting. Then they usually just as quickly flit away to the next self-centred issue their people point them at, leaving others to sweep up behind them. Ironically, their favoured mode of transport is usually more guided by their busy lifestyles than any tangible examples there might be value in setting".

The seabed scramble continues

Whilst Norway, Russia, Denmark, Canada and the USA argue about how to divvy up the seabed of the Arctic, the UK is part of the rush to grab potential seabed resources too, as this from the Telegraph reports.

"officials are watching with a mixture of awe and suspicion as Britain and France stake out legal claims to oil and mineral wealth as far as 350 nautical miles around each of their scattered islands across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans."

"The forgotten relics of the Empire make Britain a player in the marine race. There are the waters off the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, already home to a clutch of oil exploration companies; the Pitcairn Islands in the Pacific; Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean; and a string of outposts such as Montserrat, the Caymans, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos, and Bermuda."

As far as I recollect, Ascension Island is an extremely tall underwater volcano that has only the very top sticking out of the water; so it sounds like some extremely deep drilling technology is going to be required! Oh well, Big Oil makes the world go round, and Big Oil gets what it wants most of the time, as well as having the money to finance ridiculously deep exploration rigs.

But, to me, this is all rather sad, and highly indicative of one of humanity's basic instincts, Greed!

QUOTE OF THE DAY - Screwing folk 'til the pips squeak might not work.

Especially when it is patently unfair.

From the Guardian, by a Labout MP:

"...I am in favour of prospective green taxes to change people's decisions when buying a new car. But taxing them heavily on a car which may have been bought seven years ago does not seem a good way to go and will discredit the concept of green taxes."

New stuff on new kit... fine. You know what you are buying into and can decide accordingly. But retroactive taxes are getting as prevalent as they are proving unpopular and, oddly for guys wanting to stay in power, are almost all totally unsuccessful in working with the public as they are at just working.

And don't get me on the new Carbon Credit effort that has been floated, with some cross-party support, which is shaping up as an unworkable tax and fee generation system with almost no way to reduce anything globally save a bunch of 'name of green' Gov/LA/Quango/City/Activistparasites at the expense of most average people... and planet.