Tag Archives: sustainability

24 hours of Powerpoint

20 Sep

Last week Al Gore’s Climate Reality project, went live for 24 hours over the interweb; involving thousands of viewers and 24 presenters from around the globe. As it states on the website

 “The Climate Reality Project is bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it. We help citizens around the world discover the truth and take meaningful steps to bring about change.”

and it did. I saw a Powerpoint presentation which showed the facts and how climate skeptics get the facts wrong, there was also video containing footage from recent natural disasters and speeches focusing on the fact this is our one planet and we have to look after it.

Issue is , this presentation was repeated every hour…

I understand that we are a diverse world and we all sleep at different times plus speak different languages and for that, some things need to be repeated. However in my mind this opportunity of 24 hours of reality fell short of what it could of been.

  • Everyone has seen An Inconvenient Truth and everyone remembers it being very influential but also a long-arsed Powerpoint show. At times Climate Reality felt like an uncreative follow-up especially with its hourly repetition.
  • It was aimed at educating those climate skeptics and climate denialists that it is not sun spots, volcanoes or government conspiracy but real and you couldn’t help think it was also meant for those who live in the USA. (But wasn’t An Inconvenient Truth doing the same?) Now a question can be, how many of these types of people watched the event? was there any way of persuading them to watch it? or did it turn out to be a ‘preaching to the converted scenario’.
  • Also the live video feed itself did not give much more then hourly repetition of “climate change is happening and here is the proof via graphs and natural disasters, so now is our chance to deal with it.”  They was no bullet points on what can be done now on the large and small scale, what action was specifically happening in the host country or even a chance to donate to climate aid charities.
    Even though the website gives you links to action and you can donate to the project itself, though its not specifically aid.
  • The studio presenters in the USA seemed to be a bit on the botex-side and their guests were of the old/male/white type. Whilst the 24 presenters from the world showed more diversity of backgrounds and all came from respectable climate action backgrounds.
    Myself being 25, I just wished more youth were present, after all it is our future and the amount of incredible things some of us (predominantly woman) have achieved in our short lives makes us worthy of presenting with balding, bearded white guys.

Thinking of other global live events- Band Aid, Live 8 and Live Earth spring to mind and each has followed the live music concert set up and each Band Aid follow up (sorry Al Gore) has been less successfully.

A Climate Reality 2.0 really needs to not follow the same format and needs to step up a gear. You can’t yet again go into stating the obvious to everyone, you need to call for action, donation being one part but als0 creating the opportunity for it to be a real social media event.

People sharing local/national/international action of all types collaboratively using hashtags or simple maps – which could then be forwarded on to friends who live in those areas.

Using the 24hours to actually come out with a positive step forward. For example a collaborative statement. It can start as a zero-draft then via a wiki within 24 hours a global Climate Reality deceleration on what needs to be done.

Plus giving the webcast a more dynamic scope. It can start with the same presentation, but then has to flow onto a continuing narrative, making people want to watch the whole 24 hours (not in one go of course)

Any other ideas?

Also if Climate Reality or Al’ steal any of these 3 ideas I will sue you for trillions of chocolate digestive biscuits.

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This happens more often then it should

21 Jul

Greenwashing Gasland

27 Jun

Gasland is the 2010, Oscar nominated documentary by Josh Fox, which focuses on Hydraulic Fracturing.
The process of collecting deep underground natural gas, by drilling a hole and via the use of pressure fluid, extracting the gas.
Simple engineering science – However, this process has left hundreds of people around America with flaming tap water, balding farm stock/pets, major health problems and water contamination.

Of course, the companies that deal in Fracking, are a bit pissed off with the statements that have been made in Gasland.
So they have made a ‘quality’ greenwash 4 minute video and a special website page – http://anga.us/truthaboutgasland

Lets study this video in detail:

It contains 10 shots of children, 5 of parents, 1 of grandparents, 11 shots of smiling people, 2 counts of hugs, 6 shots of natural environments, a shot of a kid on a bed, kids on swings, a fairground, a naked mum sitting on the floor with her (presumably) naked child and a couple of shots taken from the p.o.v of a car on a street. *

Then what about these sound snipits read out by a very pleasant-sounding woman.

  • 0:04 ‘We have something special in this country, our people and our freedom to express our opinions and beliefs’ – This is good, this makes the viewer think, Josh Fox is entitled to his opinion. Note: no other country on earth apparently has special people.**
  • 0:21 ‘Natural gas provides clean domestic energy’ – I’m guessing this means clean as in no dirt, not CO2
  • 0:26 ‘Its our neighbours who work every day to produce it’ – Broad statement, that includes everyone and no one.
  • 0:38 ‘Responsibility to develop this natural resource with the constant sense of stewardship of our land, our air and our water’ – Not people, they can die because of Fracking
  • 3:05 ‘New innovations’ – Some environmental operation’s they are doing to make them sound really good, they only mention 1, but still.
  • 3:20 ‘Natural gas supports 2.8 million American jobs, it is reducing our nations dependence on foreign oil’ – Yay America, boo foreign oil.
  • 3:27 and its advancing clean air in our communities’ – Advance of making it a very rare thing.
  • 3:31 Natural gas emits virtually no mercury, or pollution creating particular matter’ – Natural gas also emits virtually no dark matter or environmental degradation particular matter…..

Some Gasland claims are also looked at.
That natural gas is exempt by feudal regulations. – Natural gas is more than likely looked at by feudal regulations, but the actual question raised is, why isn’t Hydraulic Fracturing. On top of that, at this point the video shows a list of regulations, no dates, or where these regulations are set (it uses the idea that most viewers will jump to the conclusion that these are the national regulations.)
That flaming tap water is caused by Fracking – This is false, as everyone knows flaming tap water is normal…
That fish are being killed by Fracking – Wrong again, as everyone knows it’s those dirty fossil fuel coal companies…

What this video gives you, is a blueprint for all company greenwash videos – just add some children, smilies, quotes that aim to focus on the morals of your audience and some claims that you can disprove via images and blaming others for environmental pollution and bingo a divided opinion on a non-clean energy source.

I also found this article on  Talisman‘s friendly Fracosaurus, Terry.
YES ladies & germs, a children’s colouring book aimed at promoting Fracking as smart and safe.
There is even a page to colour in, all about the fact gas rises into the air, where it can be forgotten about and not cause any environmental damage….

This blog has not been brought to you by America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

*0 shots of Hydraulic Fracturing, Fracking workers or Fracking neighbours.
** At some points, I’m being very sarcastic in this blog. Get used to it idiot.

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.

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.

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.

Boris bikes

16 May
 

 
The Barclays Cycle Hire, or as everyone else is calling it Boris’s Bike’s (Fitting into the view of him being a megalomaniac, who owns every single one of them, and will one day use them as some sort of tool to gain greater power – cue evil bumbling laugh) have rolled out across London.

By 2015 this splendour of sustainable travel will consist of :-

■5000 Bikes

■350 Docking Stations

■12 Cycle Superhighways
(The nearest to Richmond will be running through Honslow)

Spread all over greater London and with more then 1200 people signed up, no one can knock it for being a bad idea ‘sustainable, low carbon travel’ is a big thing these days.

Be wary though, as soon as one person goes under a bus on one of these bikes; the tabloids will change their tune and call for the scheme to be scrapped and Boris to be hung from the Tower of London.

So what other challenges do TFL, Boris and Barclays face in the future

Well all the people that want to cycle in London; most likely already own a bike

The price for some seems more pricy then the bus or tube :-

Free first 30mins, though this does not include the fact that you have to pay a £1 access fee, or get a membership key for £3. An hours use is £1, rising to £15 for four hours. If for what ever reason your are unable to return the bike after 24 hours its a £150 fine.
This is standard though – the Paris Vélib’ is exactly the same and has grown into the worlds largest cycle hire scheme.

That someone has already figured out how, to make a fake membership key and thus steal a bike (Vélib’ since starting in 2007, has had over 3000 bikes stolen)

THEN they is ridiculous issue that whilst Boris plans to reduce carbon emissions and look sustainable using the scheme – He is actually cutting out a proportion of the Congestion Charge area, allowing roughly 30,000 cars back into central London – and thus increasing its air pollution, already stated as the worst in Europe..

But how about positives

Paris’s scheme has grown over the years due to better cycle routes, tourists seeing it as viable option to getting on one of those buses and transport strikes. (London is quite good at this) It will also benefit to the health of Londoners, who may end up dusting of their own bikes after riding one and help cut down on personal carbon emissions. We could even get to see drunk people falling off bikes more often, Fantastic!

I’m also sure, it isn’t long until other cycle schemes appear in UK major cities, as if the bicycle is a brand new invention that everyone must own, just like those fruit based technology pad things.

So watch out for those cyclist coming soon