Wednesday, 29 September 2010

True Colours

It appears as if our "greenest government ever" is likely to approve the first deep water oil wells since BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster. Despite Greenpeace's brave attempts to halt it, the Chevron chartered ship, the Stena Carron is off Shetland (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/sep/27/government-conflict-greenpeace-shetlands-drilling) where it is expected to drill.

The waters around Shetland are home to many,many seabirds, seals and orcas to name but a few inhabitants and the thought of another Deepwater Horizon here is very unpleasant.

The UK government also appears to have scuppered a motion put forward by Germany at a meeting of signatories of the Convention of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, in Bergen, Norway. The proposal was for international scrutiny of oil drilling operations, after the Deepwater Horizon disaster (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/23/government-soften-scrutiny-offshore-oil-drilling).

I fail to see how this can possibly be in line with the necessity (given the scale of the challenge) to reduce our emissions within the next five to ten years

It seems that it is just business as usual.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Books and Seeds

I have recently been doing a bit of reading.

Requiem for a Species by Clive Hamilton offers a very honest look at the reality facing us and questions why we do not face up to it. The book seems to me to draw on the work of Joanna Macy and others in accepting despair and utilising it as a way of inspiring action, it is a timely reminder of the scale of the oncoming crisis and the necessity for action.

In attempting to reduce my own footprint, I have recently found the following three books especially good.

How Bad are Bananas by Mike Berners-Lee gives you the carbon footprints of many common items and actions, from sending a text (0.014g CO2e) to buying a pint of milk (723g CO2e).

In The Economical Environmentalist, Prashant Vaze (a very experienced environmental economist) documents his attempt to transition to a low carbon lifestyle and what it cost. The book has lots of useful data and resources.

The Garden Cottage Diaries by Fiona J. Houston documents her experience living a year as if in the 1790s. It is well researched and full of information on useful and interesting skills such as making rush-lights and has information on seasonal veg and traditional recipes. In considering the fragility of our modern lifestyle, and the transition to lower impact communities, it is valuable to get an idea of alternative ways and to see what traditional skills and methods can be used.

One other resource I have found very useful, is the seed company More Veg www.moreveg.co.uk .
They do small quantity veg and fruit seed packets (including organic and heritage varieties). Their website has an excellent seasonal veg planner and their customer service is good.

I am sharing these in the hope that they may be useful to others. If anyone else has found any other resources particularly useful, please share them in the comments.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Coming soon to a place near you? 10:10:10

1 Month from now on the 10th of October, people all around the globe will be taking part in a day of action. The 10:10 campaign, 350.org, Regurgence and many, many other organisations have signed up.

The idea of this day is a "get out and do something to reduce your carbon" day.

It is at the local level and by making a practical difference that we can connect to others and hopefully make a difference within our communities and it is through the internet and by being part of the global network that we can hopefully make a difference within the wider international community.

While accepting our own personal responsibility and reducing our lifestyle footprint is necessary and a very good thing. We must not allow governments and big business to elude their responsibility and shift the guilt onto us with "you are the ones buying it" or "If enough people would vote for it we would enact it." truisms.
They too have a responsibility, which currently they are failing to fulfil. We must make them do so!

If emissions have to peak by 2020 and then reduce drastically for us to have any hope of avoiding some of the worst effects of climate change then we do not have long.

All that said, I am reminded of the quote from Emma Goldmann, who is reported to have said "I don't want your revolution unless I can dance to it."

So let's get out and have some fun!