Monday, July 13, 2009

COMPETITION - the engineer awards

WHEN: Deadline July 17 (this Friday:(
WHAT: The Engineer Technology & Innovation Awards
WHAT... MORE?: From blurb: There is no more important piece of the innovation jigsaw than the collaborative links between the UK’s businesses and universities.
The Engineer Technology & Innovation Awards 2009 will recognise and reward outstanding examples of that co-operation. With awards in eight categories spanning the key sectors of engineering and technology. Companies and universities are equally eligible to nominate their collaborative projects. An expert panel of judges will assess the entries against the key criteria that will be used to draw up the short-list in each category. These will include: the degree of technical innovation involved in the entry; the value added to the entry through the collaboration between academic and commercial partners; the actual or potential impact of the entry on its market or end-users.
COMMENTS: Ah well; nothing ventured... the RE:tie and our work with BCU JIIC on prototyping should count.


I see merits, and hence opportunities, in bulk buying.

I even have a few ideas of my own.

Hence I think a category is in order.


WRAP - Retail Trials Could Signal a 'Reusables Revolution'

It even has my favourite RE:word in it!


I only know a little about 'green', but I know what I prefer

I have nothing against 'awareness', so long as it has a decent enviROI+.

And hence much that is 'art' can and does qualify.

However, there is still a lot that can get the eyebrow cranking a tad...

Can an artist's wheatfield in Hackney switch the mood on climate change?

COMPETITION - The Manchester Report

WHEN: Deadline May 29
WHAT: The Manchester Report
WHAT... MORE?: Manchester International Festival and the Guardian invite submissions for innovative schemes to help tackle climate change. All types of schemes will be considered: technological, scientific and behaviour-changing.
COMMENTS: Getting a little jaded with the disconnect between what these efforts often claim to be seeking, and what they end up awarding, but might be worth a few hours as it's free.


And the winners are... well, not us, sadly. Actually, looking at it, it may not be winners but a shortlist. I think. It's not awfully well laid out...or clear.

Hair shirts and thinking caps - Not exactly easy to find either

Addendum 2:

Found 'em!

The age old dilemma bites

Watching the BBC paper headlines today.

And there was much play on the fuel poverty aspects of a suggested £200 excess to meet green energy obligations.

Now, the piece in question was rather undermined by the featured family seemingly telling their kids there was no food on the table 'cos of 'leccy costs, yet apparently much of this juice was there to power the Nintendo Wii they were sadly playing with. Interesting priorities.

But there's no getting round the fact that this is quite a hike, and again pits economy vs. environment against each other big time, and at an individual level.

Beyond all the other arguments, as one who does read perhaps more than many, my issue is where the heck this money is actually going to. If it is to decent enviROI+ projects that help in the future then fine, but if it is more pork barrel box-ticking, target-meeting impositions that mainly goes into pols pet projects and subsidised EU projects' green holes, then no, I am not happy either.

It's a shame we can't harness the power of blame

Councils blame supermarkets for £1.8bn cost of excess packaging

I hold no candle for the supermarkets (lord knows, they have not made my, or's life very easy with their arrogant, money-grubbing ways), but 'they' seem to have become a very convenient whipping entity for failings across the whole system, from the time a product's raw materials are dug up from to when they are returned to the ground.

At the end of the day, as it is with 99.99999% of life, it is about money. Spend the least you get get away with, and make the most. From the individual to the corporation to the establishment.

All complicated by 'systems' that have evolved over decades if not centuries, and which only now are being required to make radical adjustments. And as most will appreciate, with complex systems a tweak here can have 'consequences' there.

It's interesting to ponder what a supermarket publishing the amount of packaging they produce will do to help me with my decisions. Or what goes in my bin. The stuff is either necessary, or it is not. And seemingly ignores the brands whose products sit upon those shelves too. Not all in my basket is own label.

It seems quite simple, and that is an attempt to push costs from one place to another. But at the end of the day if it goes from my rate demand to my shopping bill the same person ends up paying.

Now, if there is a way for me to influence what I pay downwards via decisions based on packaging impositions then I can see a glimmer of an end-benefit and hence value. But until there is a properly coordinated cradle to grave packaging materials creation/disposal system this mostly smacks of box-ticking and target-meeting to help public servants in LAs and quangos drive bonuses their way.

For something that costs the consuming public nothing, and then goes on to save both pocket and planet in a small way, may I commend to those who would like to do something proactive as others bicker.

It even offers rewards with a competition for neat reuse ideas on plastic at the moment!