Thursday, 19 July 2012

New “Story of Stuff” video

Today I’m featuring the latest video from Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff stable (see below). 

This one is called “The Story of Change” and it has just been released.
Nowadays it’s not enough to simply try to be a green consumer; actual citizen involvement and action is required as well to create sufficient pressure for change that institutions, governments, civil servants and corporations will react and adapt until we get to the promised land of sustainability – I have a dream…

There are phrases that advertising types use, particularly when marketing what they want us to see as greener products. These are such as “doing one’s bit” or “every little bit helps”. Well, this marketing speak unfortunately sometimes achieves a few things that are counter-productive

1) They help to sell products that might appear greener than the competition but are not necessarily green enough to pass muster sustainability-wise – “you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps” - David Lloyd George. Genuinely environmentally friendly products, which might be more expensive but last considerably longer, can be crowded out by superficially green but short lived products that ultimately prove more expensive in real terms and more wasteful because they need replacing more often.

2) Worse, they defuse any social responsibility that the consumer may have felt impelling them to make a genuinely green purchase – or even not to make a purchase by considering whether they need the product at all. The consumer buying the greenish product may feel that they have done their bit – which leads to…

3) Consumers feel that they are trying to “do their bit” so can feel resentment because they don’t understand when environmentalists never seem to accept it was “enough”, so consumers can switch off in high dudgeon and the environmental case gets knocked back.
Having said all that, let’s get back to the video which promotes the idea that it’s not enough to simply change what one buys – it’s not even enough to


"Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Gandhi


Annie draws parallels with the great reform movements of the past such as anti-apartheid, the US Civil rights movement, Gandhi’s Indian independence movement (which didn’t just stop at encouraging personal change)  and the early successes of the environmental movement in getting anti-pollution laws passed which all came about because of a lot of protesting, campaigning, citizen pressure and occasional fighting. Just buying recycled toilet roll is not enough to cut the sustainability mustard.



Thursday, 12 July 2012

Crrraazzzy Climate Crock

We’re having a rotten wet and cold summer locally. I had to lift my garlic early to stop it rotting in the ground. In the UK there are huge floods – the wettest drought they have ever had! In America, they are burning up, breaking all time heat records. The U.S. government declared more than 1,000 counties in 26 states drought disasters on Thursday.

Here below is another in the Climate Crock of the Week series that I occasionally feature here. Peter Sinclair does many more “Crocks” but, to be honest, he has now convincingly debunked just about every argument and piece of misdirection that the sceptic/denialists have ever come out with so I just feature the more noteworthy and newsworthy ones these days.

This video is called  “Welcome to the Rest of Our Lives”. It showcases this year’s extreme out-of-the-ordinary weather events in the USA.  Final proof that the very latest extreme weather events are the climate changing up a gear can only be finally shown statistically to be happening after 20-30 more years data, although people’s common sense must be beginning to let them know what their future is likely to be.

What we are seeing are already statistically unusual/unprecedented events full stop. If people didn’t believe the previous clear statistical proof that the planet has been warming, owing to the misdirecting efforts of the “sceptic” deceivers and misleaders, perhaps they’ll start to take notice when their homes are burnt or swept away in floods and food prices start to shoot up. The US has got such a severe drought now that there is likely to be an extreme failure of the corn (maize) harvest.

Was that all just climate alarmism? I think not. The weasel word “alarmism” suggests there is no real problem – that it’s just those doomsayers crying wolf again. Move along, there's nothing to see here. The actual situation we are in is very alarming. The wolf really is at the gate. Bear in mind that it is believed that there is around a thirty year lag, from any increase in greenhouse gases, before the planet responds fully by reaching its new equilibrium temperature (just taking the “fast feedbacks” into account let alone the long term slow ones…). If we stopped using all fossil fuels tomorrow morning, things will continue to get worse for at least thirty years, if the science is right. If there are positive feedbacks and tipping points that are stronger or closer than anticipated, things might not stop getting worse for a very long time.

There are those who say that people won’t respond to such dire predictions – that somehow they will turn a blind eye to the threat because they don’t like the idea of anything shaking their "glass half full" ideology. Well what WILL get through to these crazy arrogant irresponsible people? Does their wishful thinking based on ignorance of reality give them the right to vote to expose the rest of us to whatever might happen? That would be democracy gone mad and yet we still have the apparently mindless mainstream media spreading the B.S. of the denialists in a misguided attempt to regurgitate what they were taught at journalism college – that they must always show “balance”. Journalistic balance is based on the clearly fallacious idea that there are always two sides to every story;  the media present the two sides in the climate wars as if they were of equal value and give them equal prominence. Truth and science trumps lies, stupidity, deceit and ignorance and it’s about time the media woke up to their true responsibilities. Start investigating the truth and report on it. Stop taking the money until you do your jobs right!

This is a companion video about sea level rise