Archive | May, 2011

Promise of a Healthy Ocean

24 May

Being one of these greeny, post-environmentally, climate change, Green Ghetto (love this term!) types I like to think I know what is going on in this world – here, there and everywhere.

But sadly, I don’t.
It’s a vast world with many a thing going on and I’m just not Superman.

However I do know about one campaign launch which is happening via ClientEarth.

Client Earth are an environmental law company¹ or as they say it:-

An Organisation of activist lawyers committed to securing a healthy planet. We work in Europe and beyond, bringing together  law, science and  policy to create pragmatic solutions to key environmental challenges.²

Tonight ClientEarth along with ZSL (Zoological Society of London) launch

Promise of a Healthy Ocean.

Which is calling upon us, the young generation to demand that our world leaders keep their promises to protect the environment.

It’s the start of a year-long project to promote and improve intergenerational contact between us youth and heads of state.
leading to a contract being signed by the heads of state at the next major international environment meeting, ensuring that all future generations will be able to enjoy a healthy planet.

How cool is that?
We can tell all those suits to ‘buck up’ and actually DO what they are meant to DO and protect our planet’s oceans, not just for me or you, but for future generations – without having to resort to hippy, lets all listen to the cute youth talk about their futures,
but hard “Oh better do what it says otherwise Im in deep ****” contract terminology.

If you are able to go to the event launch tonight, It will be a perfect networking opportunity.
If not, then keep an eye on ClientEarth and the development of Promise of a Healthy Ocean

*

1. Reminds me that I need to see the film Erin Brockovich
2. Seriously need to see it & possibly Superman 2 again – that’s a great film.

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What is a Post-Environmentalist?

23 May

A Post-Environmentalist is a term environmentalists use to make themselves seem up-to-date and cool.

OK there is a bit more to it then that, Post-Environmentalism is a new way of thinking for creating long-term sustainable change and not just hugging trees like normal environmentalists.
Scrap that, lets call them Retro-Environmentalists.

Tube armies...

Of course the Post-Environmentalist movement isn’t going to last that long though, because its going to be followed by the Hipster-Environmentalists, who live and dress like Retro-Environmentalists, but think like Post-Environmentalists.
& thus maybe, just maybe everyone will get sick of the word environmentalist.

*

As you may of guessed I am already pretty sick of the use of the Post-Environmentalist words, as it is now being used as a means of people differentiating themselves from Retro-Environmentalists.
But I can not fathom how they are able to do this, whilst using the same E word.

*

So, lets first take a step back to look at the basic ideology of this ‘PE’.
Micheal Shellenberger & Ted Nordhaus wrote a paper in 2004 called The Death of Environmentalism  which stated that for the last 40 years the environment has been thought of as a thing and has not included all the other encompassing aspects of politics, economics culture etc..
Which are fundamental when looking at a world wide issue like climate change.

It makes good points, which all make sense to me and I would follow
(Yes, meaning that I can now can be classed as a PE)
However since 2004 this term has moved onto dismissing other RE ‘customs’ or stereotypes.
No PE would go

  • and hug trees
  • wear macs and green stuff
  • say the word peace
  • do direct action of the illegal kind

 + As I haven’t done any RE type stuff, then how can I be a PE? Surly I’m now just an E..

What we have here is  misplaced name syndrome.
Its like calling the Sex Pistols a Post-Rock& Roll band; Yes there are in essence, but everyone those them as a punk band.

So here’s the challenges for all us Post Environmentalists, we need a better name.
& I don’t mean, setting up a think-tank for a better name otherwise we could have something just as horrible as the Toyota Picnic.

Why Picnic. WHY!?!

Taking Punk as another perfect example, it was originally just the name of a fanzine that commented on the early 70’s New York band scene.

Thus I’m thinking out there somewhere, in the Post-Environmentalist world is a name already being used that today’s PE’s can take as their own.
Then when those Hipster-Environmentalists come along, they will also create they own name and we can all be under the same Post-Environmentalist banner.

Right… Anyone got any ideas of where to look?

The past & the future

20 May

Hello all

Firstly a big thank you, to all those that have check out blog posts so far.
Here is a Halloween photo for your amusement>

All the blogs before this post have been pulled from old blog sites & those blog site/ organisations I have had the pleasure of writing for.

A round of applause for

This blog is going to be made up of certain categories

  • Green > The blogs which deal with environmental, climate change thoughts, issues and events
  • from other > Many blogs have appeared upon other sites & thus it is always good to reference them
  • Film > I love watching films and it is about time I tell you the films you really need to watch
  • Music > the same goes for music
  • uncategorized > I sometimes do social media HTML stuff for organisations, and this is how I store all of them.
  • WTF > Just general updates on my odd life

So, one more time THANK YOU & a brand new blog will appear this weekend!

A free weekend of Fairtrade family fun.

16 May

Between May-August 2010 I was interning at Fairtrade Foundation, I was given the chance to blog about an event & blog I did. http://thefairtradefoundation.blogspot.com/2010/05/free-weekend-of-fairtrade-family-fun-by.html

 

It will be a lie to say that the weather was excellent for those three days of the festival. That the weather was fantastic and everyone was in T-shirts complaining about the heat.

In actually fact it was cold, windy and the sky looked like it had woken up on the wrong side of bed.

However being a happy bunch of Fairtrade staff and volunteers, we didn’t let this get us down. We drank coffee from the CaféDirect stall, had Fairtrade mulled wine from the bar (when we had finished our duties of course) and listened to the live music coming from the stage. We were there to promote Fairtrade as well as to celebrate Dubble’s 10th birthday – we were having a party.

The Fairtrade festival took place on Potters Fields on the South Bank of the Thames right beside Tower Bridge. As well as celebrating Dubble’s 10th birthday (in case you do not know it is an excellent Fairtrade chocolate bar- yum!) It was also to celebrate  World Fair Trade Day.  http://www.worldfairtradeday10.org

Stalls selling crafts, books, nuts, dried fruit, ice cream, beauty products and pants were all present; many of the stalls also had free samples. Though if you felt your kids should do something more active than just eat,  they could get their face painted, play some football, compete in the banana jousting, do some singing, drama and drumming workshops or just sit back and listen to the author Tom Palmer read from his book Foul Play. 

We cannot forget the live music upon the stage.  A wide variety of acts appeared – from samba to rock, hip-hop to folk. There was no reason for anyone not to dance to at least one genre of music over the three days. If you still did not feel like dancing then the banana people made sure you did!

What can be said about the Fairtrade festival is that it was fun, joyful, musical and cold – those working had high spirits, those that were there got stuck into the activities, whilst those that stumbled upon us on Potters Fields looked bewildered, then delighted, then amused by the variety of products and entertainment – not bad for a cold windy weekend.

The issue with going green

16 May

So you are going green, fantastic?

You feel like the sky-rocketing trend of rising temperatures, melting ice caps and C0² levels isn’t just a coincidence at that you, your community, your government and the world should move towards a sustainable future ASAP.

Therefore you decide to cut down your meat intake, dust off your bike and search for gadgets that reduce your dependency on mains electricity and use the free power of the sun and wind.

So it is only right if you turn round to your housemate and state – ‘look I should not pay an equal amount on the electricity bill as I use a lot less mains electricity energy then you do!’

Now this can seem a little bit pragmatic; but as solar power gets more powerful and smaller (just like those things called computers)

Folks will start to power their mobiles, laptops and heat produce appliances like kettles or hair straightness.

But they will still be those stuck in dark ages, which use things like plugs and have stuff on stand-by, who will complain about ‘You live here, so you should pay equally amount!’

Solution: Buying an energy monitor, which you would then look at constantly- seeing the peaks and troughs of kWh’s and calling it precious and thus becoming a Gollum of the energy world.

 Turn off that lightses!!!

 You would then produce graphs explaining to said housemate, the difference in electricity energy use and within a short time either

  • Converting them to a carbon Gollum or
  • Having them move out.

 It is a fine line between being uber carbon efficient or a (swear word)

There are more subtle ways to introduce housemates to carbon efficiency – showing how much money is saved, reeling of stats on how evil the stand-by button is and getting them to understand that many of their bad carbon habitats are more useless then actually saving power/ using your own body.

Example: I had a housemate who always switched the hall light on. No reason for it, the street light outside lit up the hall enough to read a novel; so why switched on the light just to see 0.001% better?

My cheeky solution was to take the bulb out. So he just thought it was broke and thus stopped switching the switch.  – Result!

Have any of you had similar issues? Have you resolved them?

My Climate Squad action

16 May

For COP16, whilst working for the youth intiative Climate Squad. We decided to each do a 24hour carbon cutting challenge, here is the details on mine.
*

My punishment, sorry my ‘challenge’ was to give up gadgets for the day.

If you were to tell my 16 year old self to do this – it would be near impossible. Back in those days I had TV, Playstation 2, mobile phone, laptop and Hi-Fi on 24-7

Nowadays, I have calmed down. Technology allows me to only need a mobile and laptop to catch up on TV, find interesting internet links and stay connected with friends.

I also find myself having little space or with the opportunity to own a TV and game console and being the environmental-nerd I am, I’m used to switching off appliances when not in use.

So this was more of a battle of wills – going back to the 1990’s when being connected with the world 24-7 was still a dream or part of a movie plot line. 

I was to keep off Facebook, Twitter and my mobile.

Total disconnection.  

Within minutes of waking up, I wanted to tweet- ‘flippin’ hell, I am late for work due to having to switch my phone of as a challenge’  – there was an obvious problem in doing this.

I wanted to text mates about the nights plan – Instead I had to really on the small belief chat we had two days before and that they would be still turn up at said place at said time.

I wanted to Facebook state “I may OD on mince pies this Christmas!!!’

 

However come Saturday morning I moved back into my old ways – checking the back catalogue of updates in case they was anything interesting (there wasn’t) and texting my mate to find out if he did that thing, with that thing that stood by the door of that 8th pub we went into. 

But did I save carbon? Well…

Facebook:

Just check out this watch?v=QPty-ZLbJt0

Twitter:

A twitter employer (probably the best job ever) has worked out each tweet you send equals 0.02grams of C0². Thus using some quick maths: I spend 58kg of carbon per year tweeting!) 

Mobile phones:

Roughly 47kg of carbon per year – roughly as it does depend on its manufacture, transport, how often you use it, how long you keep it, how you use it (texting, calling, internet) and what network you use.

 *  

To me, the challenge and writing this blog has been one of those cases in which you realise everything you do affects the world around you and creates carbon.

So maybe it is worthwhile ever-so-often, to switch off and notice the world around you, just to rein back those social media carbon emissions and notice clouds floating by.

After-all humanity has been around a lot longer then @Stephenfry twitter account.

VAT busting

16 May

As you may know all ready, quite a lot of people are complaining about money issues.

Complaining about student fee’s, tax dodgers and now VAT rises…

At 12.00am 1st January 2011 pretty much everyone in the land shouted out Happy New Year!

However 5 days in and already – VAT has increased by 20% !!!!!!!!!!

As you can guess, with this being a carbon orientated blog – I can go on and on about how driving you car less, saves money on the VAT and on carbon etc. etc..

However there is another important point to Vat, and that’s food. 

  • Vegetables do not attract VAT unless they are ‘ornamental’, such as a cabbage ‘grown for its appearance rather than consumption’.

Thus turning veggie, seems quite an acceptable method of saving money (and carbon)

Also 

  • Famously, no VAT is paid on Jaffa Cakes, but only after a long court battle with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, which included showing the judge a 12-inch Jaffa Cake to prove it is a cake (no VAT), not a biscuit (VAT).

CAKES!!!

What a perfect combo of low cost, low carbon food. – Veg and Cakes

Some of you, may now be thinking.

‘I cannot bake and I cannot cook any veg stuff’

Well take a minute and think of all those high street shops and supermarkets, with cake aisles and vegetable sandwiches, veggie ready meals and raw carrots.

Of course, this isn’t a precise science and maybe a full diet of cakes and veg isn’t entirely healthy.

But if your money is low and you are hungry well…

Read more on VAT:

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=520758&in_page_id=2#ixzz1AAZYE24x

Youth Food Movement

16 May

Does the following list tempt your taste buds?

  • Chocolate brownies, made with a hint of beetroot, to give a creamy sweet texture.
  • Sensual cheese that had a powerfully flavour making you nibble it like a addictive mouse.
  • Vodka distilled the old fashioned way, made with potatoes that give it a varied amount of sweet flavours and a peppery after taste
  • Raw wild oysters, that have earthy grassy tones with a dash of salt. And cooked oysters with a dash of lemon plus Tabasco sauce giving a spicy zing to your pallet.

Maybe I ate all this food in the wrong ‘meal’ order. – but each was just, a perfect statement to suggest that what appears in our main supermarkets is a little bit pants.

And maybe I didn’t learn the name of the cheese, or where the oysters came from – but I learnt oyster Martinis are a pure alcoholic orgasm.

                  oyster martini    DSC01283    oys

This is the Youth Food Movements doing. 

A UK wide, but international found organisation which is all about

fjhgfyoung farmers, cooks, artisans, activists and students actively changing the future of food and farming. Sharing the goal of bringing more food that is good, clean and fair to their communities. Plus the principles of justice and sustainability to local and regional food systems.

and there have just started the ball rolling in creating a London based network, to promote and create this different food future within the capital.

Thus explaining why I was able to spend a night feasting on the simply gorgeous delicacies listed above. As they arranged a launch night within the bowels of The People’s Supermarket , near Russell Square tube station.

It is a great idea to have a London hub – God knows, I still have to learn to cook more stuff then pasta and find more sustainable food then what could be in supermarkets.

I’m guessing many of you fellow London youth feel the same?

So allies like The Peoples Supermarket and the UK Youth Climate Coalition will join them in making London YFM develop and you can to, via:- signing up to their mailing list online, Facebook, Twitter (@YFMUK) and by joining them in future London meetings.

Lets all get out there and find good, clean, fair food and celebrate our future achievements with oyster Martini’s

 

Pens Vs Pencils

16 May

VS

 

 

Both writing implements have been going strong since Ancient Egyptian times – both have undertaking different forms since and both have been more popular within certain areas depending on resources.

Firstly the typical pencils of today, were first created in the 17th century via heating up ground up graphite & clay into a thin strip to place within a wood casing (before this pencils were raw stripes of graphite)

Nowadays annually -14 billion are produced, with over half of these coming from China.

If every bit of an average tree is used – 172,000 pencils could be made. But we know this isn’t the case, whole forests must have been wiped out for the next budding Picasso or school art project.

Whilst the typical pen (not one of these fancy uber expensive ones) – needed to wait until plastic was commercial available to be made into casing. The ink itself, can be a complex medium, composed of solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, solubilises, surfactants, particulate matter, fluoresces, and other materials.

which all leads to environmental issues concerning volatile organic compounds, heavy metals and non-renewable oil. use Not forgetting annually around 1600000000 pens per year are chucked out just in the USA

So the WINNER must be pencils, even if they all come from China.  The wood can be sustainably managed, or you can have one of those funky pencils made out of plastic cups.

However you will be buggered if you have no nearby sharpener.

It is a moral but POINTLESS victory.

Green Jobs

16 May

I am one of those people that aims for a green job; a career that in whatever small way leads to being a savour of the world.

Reasons for this:-

  • Climate change is happening, within the 24 years of life – I am able to give hundreds of examples of it destroying environments and peoples lives.
  • I love the idea of working within a communication sector that is not all about profit, but aims to create great change individually, within a community, a nation, a continent, a whole planet!
  • I have grown up with superhero’s on the brain and without coming into contact with radioactive material or wearing my pants on the outside, this is the nearest I get to saving the world

They is a slight issue with this career goal however.

The United Nations Environment Programme define Green Jobs as

Work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development (R&D), administrative, and service activities that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not exclusively, this includes jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.*

which covers quite a lot of different varied jobs – so how come – there are so few about?

OK that’s a little white lie. Day-by-day in my search for the perfect full time job, they has been a general small increase in opportunities and roles that involve some sort of sustainable, environmental aspect.

Its just none seem applicable for graduates.
you need ‘at least 2-3 years experience’ a ‘blah blah blah qualification’ and a ‘high level of something you never were taught at university’ 

Therefore the only way to get a job is to work hard get those years of experience behind you so that one day you will get that fantastic job and you will in turn push aside those recent and growing number of graduates aiming for a green job.

Will this continue?

Will the unbelievable happen and an army of green jobs appear that have been promised for the last couple of years by the government and others?

This of course, does not include clothes on the floor

Will companies, organisations, groups charities etc realise that whilst these recent graduates do not have 2-3 years of labour behind them –  they are keen, they want to save the planet and they can actually pick things up quite quickly.

Maybe..We the graduates have to be the ones to push this to happen.
If we can complain to friends and family about the job situation, why can’t we push this to those who could make the change.

After all we are now voters, We will be joined by 4/5 years of new voters. What can stop us?**

*http://www.unep.org/PDF/UNEPGreenjobs_report08.pdf 

**The only answer I am accepting is global destruction.