Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New! Green Gurus blog

I've started a new blog called Green Gurus (www.greengurus.com).

As the name suggests, it will consider the contribution made to the environmental/sustainability cause by some of the leading thinkers in the field. It will be infrequently updated as these posts require quite a bit of research. I would really appreciate feedback in the comments - feel free to disagree!

The first two entries are for James Lovelock of Gaia fame and William McDonough and Michael Braungart who developed the Cradle to Cradle concept.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Natural History Museum

I'm in London en route to a business trip/holiday in Bruges - travelling by Eurostar through the Tunnel which is exciting my 2 and a bit year old son as he's read about it in an edition of "The Little Red Train". Anyway today we took him to the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs and Daddy got 15 minutes in the "our environment today and tomorrow" exhibit.

I was quite disappointed in the cautious, almost apologetic tone of the displays. They had the usual stuff about "where does a trainer come from" and a very small exhibit on renewables, but nothing on the grand scale of the "history of the earth" stuff upstairs - nothing to really make you stop and think. In an era where the scientific consensus on climate change must be stronger than many 'accepted' scientific fields - Darwin's brooding presence may overlook the main hall, but there are plenty out there who can't and won't accept the theory of evolution - can they not be bolder? Or was it the fact the exhibit was sponsored by a major mining company?

Frustratingly the only bit that held my attention was a touch screen explanation of the General Circulation Models used by the IPCC to model the world's climate and the bloody thing wouldn't respond to my repeated jabbing. Oh well.

The fact that did make me stop and think was in a completely different section - the creepy crawlies. Did you know that a field of cows produces hundreds of tonnes of dung every year? And that dung beetles and other tiny workers recycle the whole lot? If they can do this in this small area, why can't we?!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Time Comes

If you haven't seen Nick Broomfield's documentary about the "Kingsnorth Six" - it's worth a look.

The six Greenpeace activists were acquitted of criminal damage for invading Kingsnorth coal fired power station. The court accepted their argument that they had a lawful excuse - by trying to stop climate change. James Hansen of Nasa, one of the world's leading climate scientists, testified on their behalf.

Whether or not you agree with this kind of activism, this case has undoubtedly contributed to the Govt's tightening of the conditions on the next generation of power stations. The court ruling also creates a massive future risk for the fossil-energy industry.

Very interesting stuff - but I could do without the cheesy music!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The new Prius...

The new version of Toyota's flagship Prius has gone on sale - 89gCO2/km, 67mpg, optional solar panels to drive fans to keep the car cool when parked on a warm day etc, etc.

It's noticeable that Toyota (flagship = Prius) overtook GM (flagship = Hummer) as the world's biggest seller of cars in 2008 and the latter is currently filing for bankrupcy. Tell them that 'green' is irrelevant in a recession...

Labels: , , ,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bitten by the allotment bug

Two Saturday afternoons in a row on the allotment and I'm addicted. Our allotment was always my partner's territory and I've resisted taking on another commitment apart from the the odd bit of humping and dumping of manure or whatever. But she's pregnant, so I was talked into doing some digging and I've had a Damascene conversion.

As well as the low carbon/impact fruit and veg we get from our plot, there are many other benefits:

1. Exercise in the fresh air

2. Peace to listen to some sport on the radio

3. Birds, bees & butterflies

Let's see how long it lasts!

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...

I'm in central(-ish) London for a couple of days in the midst of a Tube strike. Chaos - gridlock, buses packed and going slower than pedestrians, taxis all full and stuck in the traffic too, people jumping reds way after they've changed. Horrible.

It just goes to show how much we depend on public transport...

I'm steeling myself for another day of it.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 08, 2009

Neologism of the year: Peak Fish

We've had peak oil, peak uranium, but it appears we passed 'Peak Fish' back in 1988 and the situation is serious. There's lots of fuss in the media just at the minute about declining fish stocks and its a reminder that, while climate change remains the biggest threat, there are other very serious issues out there too that we can't ignore.

80% of fish stocks are fully or overexploited - yes, that is eight zero per cent - we're in very real risk of emptying the oceans.

So what's the advice for eco-livers? Well "Fish Online" has some very useful lists of "Fish to Eat" and "Fish to Avoid". If you have to make a buying decision without access to these, look for the Marine Stewardship Council tick or buy farmed fish (which have their own eco-problems, but at least they won't run out).

Of course that'll only make a tiny difference while the rest of the world eats unsustainable fish - why not write to your MP or MEP and ask them to do something about it?