Tuesday, April 09, 2013

A betrayal of principles

Thatcher was true to herself except in two respects. In her early years, even though she understood the significance of climate change - as evidenced by her speeches at the Royal Society, UN and others and later, helping set up the Hadley Centre - she reversed her attitude once she was no longer PM when others might have been encouraged to follow her lead.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The five key actions of the sustainability-promoting firm

(From the archive - not sure of source but worth putting out there for discussion?)
If society is to achieve sustainability (ecological, social and economic) then there will need to be a proliferation of sustainability promoting firms. To date, most firms, when they become active on the environment, aim to reduce their own negative impacts. But even if every firm adopted this approach, society would not be able to achieve sustainability - because the firms' actions would be focused solely on existing production processes and existing products thereby loving in an inadequate (even though improved) status quo.
Sustainability-promoting firms, on the other aim to help society to become sustainable. This change of focus moves sustainability-promoting firms into a new management paradigm.
At a minimum, sustainability-promoting firms will need to taker the following give key actions. They will need to:

Friday, October 26, 2012

CRB checks: a distraction?

There is an argument for reducing the legal requirement for CRB checks.  It seems to me that the CRB requirement is a political response, not based on logic. It's almost as if the only reason for carrying out a check (apart from staying within the law) is to fend off accusations of negligence when either someone discovers that a person in contact with children (or vulnerable adults) has had a conviction, or an abuse has occurred, and the conviction comes out in later investigation.
Both of these are irrelevant as far as child protection is concerned: the first is for the organisation's self protection, the second is too late. What is important is to make sure that wherever possible interactions with children take place in an environment where abuse is impossible or unlikely, and any incidents have some chance of being witnessed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mitch Benn's "Undeserving Poor"

Once upon a time
Back when I was twenty-two
Still figuring out what to do
I was signing on back then
Declared each penny that I earned
And at least I knew the rent was paid
My parents lived three hundred miles away
So I could hardly live with them
And I gave it all back
Every year I pay in tax
Many times all that the social gave to me
And I cough up every cent
Because I know it pays the rent
Of some dreaming kid who's who I used to be
And wasn't there supposed to be
A thing called social mobility
"Get on yer bike and look for work", wasn't that the way?
Well not now, not any more
Not for the undeserving poor
Wherever you come from that's where you'll stay
(from "The Now Show" 29 Jun 2012)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Climate change is on everyone’s lips these days, but what practical steps do we all need to take in our own homes and what needs to happen with housing nationally, to actually deliver significant reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the next few decades, in order to avert major problems all over the globe?

The ‘40% House’ project, led by the Environmental Change Institute, took a look at these issues over a two and a half year project and has come up with a strategy that would cut CO2 emissions by 60%, reduce our reliance on imported energy and at the same time ensure that, if anything, our quality of life at home will be improved.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Plan for the 21st Century — Turning the Planet Around

Transcript of Presentation to ECO 95, given at Filton College, October 1995
“The  headlines in Mondays paper read “Schumacher drives away doubts”…  But which Schumacher were they talking about? Whether you immediately think of the Schumacher lectures at the Colston Hall last Saturday,  or the winner of the Pacific Grand Prix on Sunday depends on your particular perspective,  but it is the contrast between these two worlds that marks the theme of ECO 95.
We must find a way for the world that hails speed on the track as progress,  to meet and work together with the world that gives the Schumacher Society award for 1995 to Transport 2000.  It was Schumacher in his book Small is Beautiful who wrote about the problems of the world being primarily that of 2 million villages,  which makes it a problem of 2 billion villagers.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Philippines broke my heart

I lived in Manila in the early '80's (in the time of Marcos) and got to know the Philippines and love it.

But the rot was there then, and even though you hoped it'd sort itself out when the People's Revolution came, it still hasn't happened.

The worst of human nature is doing to that beautiful collection of islands, to those people with beautiful hearts, what it is doing to the planet. I see the PI as a microcosm of the ills that we face globally, and it makes me feel powerless, and yet at the same time so angry that it drives me to keep trying to do something.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Nuclear - it just ain't good housekeeping

Let's think long term on this: many tonnes* of high and medium level waste are produced globally every year but:
  • the planet doesn't know how to break down (biodegrade) this material,
  • we don't know at what level of radiation the biosphere (life on the planet) will be irreversibly affected,
and yet we are allowing the level to increase at a greater rate, every time we build more plants.

Until we find a way to break down radioactive waste into a form that the earth itself can process, nuclear power is just not sustainable.

(*can anyone tell me how many tonnes of radioactive waste the average nuclear power station produces every year).

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Speed - excess to impress

In the seventies we cut the speed limit to 50 (or was it 55) mph because of the Energy Crisis, presumably because it saved fuel. Now we have a global crisis with a full set of international treaties to cut carbon emissions, and we are contemplating raising the limit on motorways?

Green Electricity but no Green Gas?

Lets see now, we are in the thrall of Putin because we will have to rely on gas reserves in Ukraine, the Waste industry is falling over itself to keep biodegradable waste ( a source of renewable natural gas) out of landfill, the major part of domestic energy use is natural gas, and yet there is no Government Policy on replacing Natural Gas in the grid with renewable natural gas. Go figure.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The project

Our view of society has a number of perspectives.

From one perspective, we see fractured communities, with broadening gaps between rich and poor, fear replacing mutual respect between generations, and poor communication leading to misunderstanding and conflict. Marginalised groups and communities - young people, and those who are ‘different’ (through race income or lifestyle) – are bearing the fallout from a dysfunctional society.

From another perspective we see a gap between those providing basic information on climate change at a global, national and regional level and those looking for it locally. Individual and local actions on this and other environmental issues are hindered by myths, confusing mixed messages from vested interests, and a fear of hidden agendas by authority trying to help.

Welcome to the blogosphere

Diary entry 14 Jul 06: Having procrastinated for the best part of seven months, and witnessed two workshops on blogging in the last ten days, its time to just do it. I'll never get it the way I want it (perfectionism has its price) but this is the start! I'm going to make the framework and fill in the gaps as I go, hoping someone out there will help to fill them in or even make it better...