Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The single most effective contribution you can make to the environment?

is have less children, according to the British Medical Journal.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is the nettle we have to grasp.

The major world religions all encourage big families (wonder why?), and IMHO they should urgently consider the impact of this on God's earth (as they would see it - I'm a heathen and proud!). The news that there is a growing clamour for a change on the contraception ban within the Catholic Church is a welcome development.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Great Global Warming Swindle - knuckles rapped

The UK's broadcasting regulator Ofcom has published its views on Channel 4's The Great Global Warming Swindle.

The verdict in a nutshell:

1. The programme did misrepresent several eminent scientists.

2. While the gist of the scientific argument was 'wrong', it was within the rights of Channel 4 to broadcast it.

Point 2 brings out a real tug-of-war in my head - normally I welcome freedom of speech to a degree which would make many others blanch, but this programme has been used by so many as 'proof' that climate change is just a massive hoax to raise taxes that I start spitting with rage.

It is not Ofcom's fault, it is a matter of our attitudes - if Channel 4 had insulted a person, a 'race' of people (eg Celebrity Big Brother) or a company, it would have been rightly condemned. But the concept of 'insulting' the plight of our life support system is just to big and complex for our little minds to cope.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Fuel Poverty Looms for More

With the news of another steep hike in gas prices (domestic bills hitting £1000 pa), fuel poverty rates are going to shoot up. Fuel poverty is when you have to spend more than 10% of your disposable income on heating & lighting. So you could very well have to balance your food bill against your heating costs. Fuel poverty tends to hit the elderly, who are obviously more susceptible to the cold and related illnesses. Most people in fuel poverty are in poorly insulated homes, so they can be helped by improving the building fabric - the sort of work done by the Government funded Warm Zone programme.

But overall, it is wise to remember that, while high fuel costs help drive down consumption (driving is down this year), they hit the vulnerable hardest. I have often heard people say "Oh, everyone can turn down their thermostat 1°C" - that sort of insensitivity gives environmentalists a bad name.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Book Review: How To Get Married In Green by Suzan St Maur

When I turned 28 half my friends decided to get married, leading to a global wedding tour from here to Sydney. This year the other half have decided to get hitched and it looks as if I'm in for another expensive year.

At first glance, you might think that a book on Green Weddings is a bit faddish or a tenuous attempt to cash in on the issue du jour. Now I've always been the bridesmaid, never the bride, but I've been through enough nuptials to know just how much organisation these jamborees take. Trying to ensure that the perfect day doesn't cost the planet would take an awful lot of Googling and this book has all the bases covered.

From ethically sourcing the wedding and engagement rings through Stag & Hen nights, to the big day itself and on to the Honeymoon, Suzan St Maur's book is thorough while remaining thoroughly readable. For example, I never knew you could get hemp bras with bamboo underwiring! It doesn't preach, just suggests, and doesn't get caught up in minutiae either.

So, if you're going to get hitched, why not do it in green?

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Food waste again...

You can tell when a politician is really on the ropes when they get pilloried for making an eminently sensible remark. Now, I'm no fan of Gordon Brown, but when he said we should waste less food, he was damn right.

There was a great article in the Guardian yesterday with tips on how to avoid food waste. One of the points was to ignore sell-by dates for most products - I assume the 10-years-past-its-best-before bottle of Lea & Perrins I found that the back of our spice cupboard is an exception - I wasn't going to try it!

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Real Tipping Point?

Has push come to shove?

The Guardian is reporting that voters think the environment is more important than the economy. Of course it is as you can't breathe money and you can't make money if you have asphyxiated, but there is an annoying tendency to think of the environment as an abstract worthy issue (like heritage or the arts) rather than a physical necessity.

Has the breakthrough been made? Or did they just ask the right question?