Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pols? Or Engineers?

Decide for yourself.

This interesting article from New Consumer argues that Engineers hold the keys to sustainable transport solutions, not Politicians.

What do I think? Well, our pols don't really have a great track record on sustainable transport, other than one of caning those of us stuck in rural areas without any options, whilst heavily subsidising urban transport systems. And engineering IS what originally made our once proud nation 'Great'.

"if low-carbon technology is to be successful, engineers must continue working towards providing viable solutions that are not only low-emission, but low in price."

Yes, yes and yes again. But what's the chance that our pols will follow through with anything like this when it is far easier to make billions out of schemes such as auctioning off the rights to CO2 emissions options? (see Peter's post below)

A simple answer ....... zilch!

You gotta laugh...

...especially at others' misfortunes.

We all use automated doo-dads on our sites; I just wonder if the 'Most Popular' icon had/has been fully appreciated up to this rather unfortunate manifestation. Especially on an enviro site where, one presumes, this is not quite what they had in mind.

What goes up...

... is different to what comes out, on occasion, apparently.

Bearing in mind the BBC's commitment to the cause of promoting 'environmentally sound behaviours' (and decrying those that are less so in their eyes), I am a tad intrigued at a piece just on the Breakfast News about Space Tourism.

In a gushing commercial, er, report for one Sir. Richard Branson's latest money-making venture, a reporter has flown out to give us such gems as how very rich folk can 'enjoy stunning views'... whilst asking few questions as to the consequences of the column of greenhouse gasses they will be atop when having a gawp at the planet they have just hastened to oblivion. I am pretty sure there will be a correspondent in the first flight to accompany Sir R and get his views on biofuel Jumbos and towing planes to save fuel... eventually.

As the BBC seems fairly adept at ignoring news that does not suit its narrative, surely they could have given this jolly a pass, or at least look at the total picture.

Or is missing out on a fun trip by actually getting objective not part of a funded news organisation?

Guardian - Branson unveils mothership in latest step towards putting tourists into space - 'Among the first to fly will be the physicist Stephen Hawking, the environmentalist James Lovelock and former Dallas actress Victoria Principal.'
I guess the paper will be selling tickets. Business is business. Maybe not on the eco page when they rail against 4x4s or plastic bottles, though.

BBC - Branson unveils space tourism jet - ... to uncritical acclaim:) Ahh... now I get why: '... It has enormous weight capability, so if there were a [humanitarian] crisis in Africa it could carry enormous loads [for aid]'

Treehugger - (beat 'em by a mile!) - Virgin Galactic Unveils the World’s Largest All Carbon Composite Aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo - I am however, obviously missing something here as this effort is getting a heck of a pass compared to some others of 'confused' e-value. I think it's an awesome technological leap, but having it under the green banner seems hard to wash as green.

The Register - NEW - Branson unveils Virgin Galactic mothership


WHEN: 15 & 16 October 2008
WHAT: European Biofuels Expo & Conference
WHERE: NEWARK, Nottingham
WHAT... MORE?: From the PR:

With the cost of fuel rising on an almost daily basis everyone is
looking for alternatives. One of those alternatives is Wood Energy
& the good news is that it is sustainable too.

There are already many success stories in the UK of schools and local
authorities converting to pellet or wood burning boilers to provide
their power requirements.

The experience in Europe is that wood pellets offer a low cost, clean
burning, efficient and sustainable way of providing biomass energy,
mostly utilising waste wood that would have gone to landfill. Millions o
f households, companies and community buildings across Europe have made
wood energy their primary source of heat. The UK is set to adopt more
widespread use of wood pellets and by looking at the European experience
the UK can benefit from years of growth in this market.

Working in conjunction with the National Energy Foundation (NEF) the Wood
Energy Conference, on Thursday 16 October includes speakers sharing their
experiences of this market in Europe, mobile pellet production and the
implementation of biomass heating solutions both large and small scale.

Companies or individuals wishing to start small to medium scale production
facilities are well catered for at the show with many exhibitors showing
the latest production processes.

In addition to Wood Energy, the event will be showcasing biodiesel, biogas
and bio-home heating oil. With over 100 exhibitors and three conference
streams, anyone interested in the bioenergy market, producing, using,
implementing an alternative fuel will be able to access the information,
products and services they need.

As the home heating oil market looks to adopt biofuels, and CO2 target
legislation becomes a reality, they are working with OFTEC to
ensure that the Conference includes coverage of the key issues in the home
heating industry. UK Home Heating Oil consumption is 3 billion litres/year
and represents a biofuel growth market. OFTEC will be discussing the
transition of Home Heating Oil to a bio-based fuel and report on field trials
that are currently in progress.

HOW MUCH: £25 it seems, but they snag your details before you get to that. Not so user-friendly IMHO.
URL: www.biofuels-expo.com
COMMENTS: It's an area worth knowing more about, but bear in mind the costs and the potential objectivity of what you'll find

NEWS/Commercial PR - Good things in little packages

Shameless plug time.

I was recently asked if I would like a free sample of an eco-product to test. Does Al Gore not need frequent flyer miles?

And lo, they have arrived. Even more lo, or actually hi, because someone cares what we think at Junkk.com about their efforts to do better by the future, they do indeed get a mention.

Better yet, they also get to see their pack uploaded to the re:use ideas section, to show that whatever washing might be going on, there's a lot of mitigation possible too.

There may even be a RE:view to follow, as these goodies will not be wasted (Jute bag already put to good use as a fabbo 6 x bottle carrier last night) and will soon be fighting stains in our eco-wash.

Meanwhile, here's the PR, E&OE:

Washday greens

Sainsbury's is launching a new range of Sainsbury's Super Concentrated Liquid Gels, which are kinder to the environment whilst still caring for clothes, and that deliver great results time after time.

· The products are super concentrated so only half the amount of a standard liquid is used

· This lightens the load on the environment using 40% less packaging, 50% fewer lorries on the road and 50% less water

The range comprises:

- Super Concentrated Liquid Non Bio 735ml
- Super Concentrated Liquid Bio 735ml
- Super Concentrated Liquid Colour 735ml
- Concentrated Liquid Lavender and Jasmine 735ml

The products are now available at all stores at £2.48, which at 21 washes per 735 ml bottle works out at just under 12p per wash. Prices have been kept in line with their other liquid detergents and do not carry a price premium.

There's still hope

Lego: a toy of gentle genius

I was once approached by a young designer who loved what Junkk.com stood for. He subsequently emailed me to say he was off to work with LEGO and would try and find ways to promote reuse there.

Here's hoping.