Just as the 1000 flamingos flew over, they opened fire

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Now this is a beautiful piece of campaigning

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On authorities spewing crap

There may be bad things to say about ‘youngsters’ uttering rude/naive/silly remarks, but those bad things fade compared to established, respected authorities spewing crap.

Doris Lessing, in her otherwise beautiful Nobel Prize acceptance speech, famously remarked:

How will our lives, our way of thinking, be changed by the internet, which has seduced a whole generation with its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that, once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging etc?

Just stick to what you are good at, writing novels.

Today, James Lovelock, esteemed scientist and inventor of the Gaia theory, came out with a whole barrage of arrogant and potentially damaging ‘opinions‘. In summary: contemporary natural scientists are morally inferior to those back in the good old days, the world is screwed, we pulled the trigger and there is nothing to do about it but to sit back and “enjoy life while you can”. Oh, and also, renewable energy technology is not based on “good practical engineering”.

That is an awful lot of nonsense/sweeping generalisations to let out for a 90-year-old!

Ah, but it all depends on if he is right, does it not?

Not really… He may indeed be right about the fate of the planet.

But. Hopefully, many of us will have another +40 years or so to live in before we pass away. In that time, we would probably like to be able to enjoy nature, fresh air and many other things. Ideally, our children would be able to do that as well. Why should we not make every effort – and encourage others to do so – to make this possible? Lovelock is writing out a dangerous carte blanche (‘keep on truckin’ y’all!’) with ramifications far beyond ‘climate change’.

Just because you are on board Titanic, you can still be considerate.

In addition to that, I believe hope and optimism are core to leading a happy, fulfilling life, even in the face of adversity and uncertainty. Of course, when you are 90 years old and already made quite a career for yourself that may not be the case…

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Blood Falls in Antarctica

There are places I would like to see and there are places I would die to see. This one clearly falls in the latter category:

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Launch of ‘These Young Minds’

Because you have nothing better to do on January 26th you should come to Leicester and take part in the event ‘Stakeholders Unite Against the Environmental Crunch‘. This has nothing to do with yours truly giving a talk on emerging issues on the sustainability radar:

As words such as ‘sustainability’, ‘climate change’ and ‘responsibility’ have climbed to the top of political and corporate agendas, it is time to assess what the future might hold. In my talk, I would like to draw out a few trends and challenges that are bound to change the landscape further, as sustainability continues its journey towards the mainstream. In the face of adversity, we need to use our imagination to envisage scenarios that are not just ‘likely’ but, more importantly, ‘desirable’.

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Another rant

I wrote a piece for the Guardian’s online sustainability section, Sustainability questions the media needs to answer:

An exploration of the media’s CSR journey and its role in influencing audiences on climate change and measuring its sustainability impacts.

On the topic, I am giving a talk next week – do join if you are in the area. Seminar Abstract:

In debates around what constitutes an ethical (sustainable, responsible, etc.) company, it is often assumed that we know and agree on what these terms mean. That is rarely the case, though. Like ‘globalisation’ and ‘culture’, ‘ethics’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘CSR’ have thus become residual categories. Based on detailed work studies within three avowedly sustainable businesses – a property company, a consultancy and an oil company – I argue that organisations produce their own rights and wrongs. Responsible behaviour then emerges as multiple and often conflicting ways of doing things. In coming to grips with the idea of a sustainable company, I identify three mechanisms by which professionals manage to cope with such complexity: by producing an infinite number of standards, by using only certain technologies and rejecting others and, lastly, by creating sophisticated vocabularies to describe the inferiority of other companies/people with ethical aspirations.

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An ode to Norway

Aside from the unique summer light and the fit people, one of the great things about Norway is the unspoilt nature. People tend to asume that Scandinavia is all pretty much the same but unlike Denmark, Sweden and Norway are packed full of mountains and forests – and not so much people.

Along the mountaineous fjords outside Stavanger and beyond, the landscape is dotted with cabins within walking distance of each other. Many of them unstaffed, the door is never locked and everyone can enter anytime. They are clean, tidy places equipped with wood burners, food and all reasonable amenities. Best of all, they are run according to an ‘honesty principle’, whereby people leave the place as they would like to find it and pay for whatever they have consumed. And that is it. (more…)

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Greetings from Norway

Thighs like spaghetti but well worth it. How wonderful it is to get out of London and reconnect for a while…

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Green futures

This blog is not – and should not be – about my job. However, amidst the seemingly never ending flow of bad news and generally depressing business atmosphere here in London, we are about to launch a report with some positive findings. I think that is worth sharing.

The Carbon Salary Survey is the first attempt to map the landscape of the emerging profession of carbon professionals, i.e. people working in renewables, energy consulting, carbon trading, etc. – in short, ‘green collar’ workers. The survey suggests that:

-68 pct of green workers feel same or more job security
-Over three quarters of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs
-93 percent said they would recommend a career in the environmental sector to others

Despite the recent slow-down in green venture capital available, passion is undoubtedly the human capital (sustainable) futures are made of.

Not quite ready yet, the preliminary findings have been picked up widely:
New York Times: Green Workers Feel Safe Among Slum
The Guardian: Earning Green Workers Feel Safe in Jobs

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You talkin’ to me?

A walk in the countryside – the day spring came to the shire.

Copycat? Check the itinerary here (pdf).

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