City Hippy

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Friday, April 21, 2006

NEWS: The CityHippy Week

Ladies & Gentleman, it's Friday night! Welcome to...

The CityHippy Week!

Took a break last week for Easter/Passover. Hope you all had a good rest, if you got one. I did :)

Before I get into the swing of it all let me draw your attention to the fact that Saturday 22nd April marks both Earth Day and the start of National Downshifting Week 2006 here in the UK.

May I first draw your attention to the enlightening Earth Day Footprint Quiz which showed me my total footprint is 3.8 global hectares where the national average is 5.3 global hectares per person. So that made me feel good. I am doing well but clearly can do better. And then it told me there is only 1.8 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE global hectares per person so I need to shave off 2 global hectares to consider myself sustainable. The crowning reality check is that if everyone lived like me we would need 2.1 planet Earths. to do!

And now to direct your attention to two superb resources the NDW team have put together . The first motivates me to resolve the 2.1 planet Earths problem whilst the second gives me a great plan to actually resolve the problem.

The NDW 2006 'Slow Down' Clip and the awesome Downshifting Year Planner. Check them out.

Janet Street-Porter started out as a tv presenter here in the UK back in my youth and has carved out an enviable media career for herself over the years - she is now the Editor-at-large for the Independent on Sunday. What a cool job.

Janet wrote a great article last week about Marks & Spencers, Ethical Shopping and the consumer addiction needed by shops to further growth and profitability. I think she is spot on. But we must be careful, I think, to not connect ethical consumerism with anti-consumerism. For me it is about responsible consumerism and that would mean, in my world, better products, sustianably developed, lasting longer and more people not falling prey to marketing and buying what they need more than what they want. If ethical consumerism is responsible consumerism and if responsible consumerism means less consumption then surely that is better than the rising debt and stress levels that come from what we call normal aka over-consumption of finite resources. So ethical consumerism is anti-over-consumption. Got that?

What else caught my little green eye?

The Chinese PM this week told the world that he admits sandstorms hitting Beijing are a sign of ecological destruction. Their solution is to plant green-belts of trees and to rainmake to settle the dust.

This week we saw the annual Queens Awards, well, awarded and those that received Sustainable Development awards were:

Eco Arc: Ecological Architecture Practice
Design of low energy, sustainable buildings relying on renewable energy

North of England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo)
Contributions to conservation, education and sustainability

Alastair Sawday Publishing Co. Ltd
Reduction of carbon emissions

ScottishPower Renewables
Sustainable best practice in windfarm development

Shepherd Neame Limited
Management of a brewery and public houses in Kent and South East England. Note: Shepherd Neame actually got the award for sourcing ingredients as locally as possible I believe.

Traidcraft plc
Promotion of fair trade, ethical business practices, social accounting and stakeholder engagement

Yeo Valley Farms (Production) Ltd
Approach to management with continuing support for sustainable UK organic farming thereby minimising environmental impact

Take a bow folks! Triple bottom line in action. Eat that Milton Friedman!

Astonishingly it seems a boo boo has been made with the BBC / Climate Prediction distributed computing modelling project. Turns out they forgot to add the sulphate emissions correctly and so the results were sped up - sulphates slow climate change I guess.

Turns out McDonalds think that McJobs are great opportunities and that McDonalds is a great place to work. What we need are McBloggers to tell us their thoughts.

The town of Camelford here in the UK is the site of a suspected water contamination disaster. Just goes to show what can go wrong even in modern times. Sheesh! Despite knowing that 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate had been dumped accidentally into the water supply at Camelford, in north Cornwall, in 1988, despite the towns folks complaining of a variety of ailments it turns out that:
An expert committee told the Department of Health last year that it could find no evidence of delayed or persistent health effects at Camelford, but it did recommend further research.
Do you want to tell them or shall I? Outstanding questions that must be answered:
  1. Who dumped the aluminium sulphate? Have they had any connection to any of the governments tasked with investigating or leading the investigation?
  2. Was it preventable? If yes then why was it not prevented?
  3. Could it happen again? If yes why, how and how can we stop it?
…and that's the way it is folks!



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