The Biggest Little Black Lie of 2012

The Biggest Little Black Lie of 2012 (via Desmogblog)

In a culture awash in bullshit, it’s no easy task to identify the Little Black Lie of the Year. It’s like choosing the most beautiful butterfly or the most violent criminal. There are just so many to choose from, and who’s to say? Still, it behooves us to try, so I solicited input from people…

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Throw away culture


Infographic by Recycle – Don’t bin it, recycle it

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Sign to Save the Tiger

I’ve just spent a few seconds signing up to a vital petition that will help save the last 3,200 wild tigers on earth. Will you help the cause by doing the same?

When I first heard that there are only 3,200 wild tigers left, I was totally shocked. To put it in perspective, it means that all the wild tigers left on earth could all fit on just one soccer pitch. Added to this, we are losing them to poachers at a rate that means they will become extinct within a very few years.

The TigerTime campaign team need your help to save them.

The Chinese trade in tiger parts is one of the most serious threats to the wild tiger. The Chinese government says that it is committed to saving the wild tiger. However, it is continuing to allow the trade in tiger parts and skins from tigers bred in so called ‘tiger farms’. We think that the practice of ‘farming tigers’ is barbaric and should be stopped. Additionally, this trade is the perfect smokescreen for the continued poaching of wild tigers.

Please, urge others to sign our petition at and pass this request on to as many people as they can by forwarding this email. China is a powerful country so we need as many signatures as possible to make them listen.

If we do not take action now, future generations will know the tiger only as a creature of myth.

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The Horned Beast

This piece was published last year to highlight what can be achieved to conserve wildlife. Recent news of extinction of the Javan Rhino in the wilds and the western African sub-species of the black rhino clearly demonstrates that more needs to be done:failures of governments, corporations and individual to make the right choices still need to be addressed but success is achievable.

The Northern White Rhino was featured in Douglas Adam’s book “Last Chance to See”.  On  Stephen Fry’s programme of the same name, it was suggested that these are now extinct in the wild, however, conservation of other species of Rhino have been more successful as the video below shows.

PS I’ve had to move some links from the original post as the linked articles are no longer available 😦

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I Fought the Law, The Law Won

Emm. No.

It changed.

A law that is broken on a daily basis by many otherwise perfectly respectable upstanding citizens, including Members of Parliament, senior police officers and potential conservative voters must surely be wrong. lt should be abolished or changed.

Yes, the speed limit should be raised from 70 to 80 mph to avoid criminalising such respectable souls.

And if that’s not reason enough, look at the economic case. If employees spend a bit less time travelling you can get more work out of them. Think of the money businesses would save by not paying staff to sit in their cars for so long. They could even reduce staff numbersfor the same productivity. If more are killed on the roads that is just unfortunate (road accidents are already one of the largest causes of fatal accidents at work).

By the new definition of sustainable, i.e. anything that promotes economic growth is sustainable, anything that doesn’t isn’t, it must be sustainable, even though it increases fuel consumption by 20%.

Meanwhile, the Spanish government has reduced speed limits to improve fuel efficiency.

Well done Mr. Cameron. We really do have the greenest government ever. Not.

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Wind Farm Spotting


I recently had an opportunity to travel through the hills to the south of Edinburgh. I was very impressed by the number of wind turbines along either side of the A68.

I don’t understand why some people find them so objectionable. They are obviously more visible than the nearby nuclear power station but they won’t leave a legacy of waste for millenia.  And the sheep don’t seem to mind.

The biggest problem with remote upland wind farms is getting the energy to where it is needed most: the cities.  This is why the hills to the south of Edinburgh (and Glasgow too) make an ideal location with relatively short connections to the infrastructure that is already in place.

The pictured wind farm is Dun Law which provides the equivalent of the electricity required for 25,000 homes.

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Lies, damned lies and journalistic integrity

Is the world beginning top open its eyes and waken up to the lies and deceit we have been fed for years by a cabal of the powerful few? Or is Murdoch, the Grandmaster, sacrificing a pawn to strengthen his position elsewhere on the board?

He has closed News of The World, so the competition commission will be less able to force him to divest Sky News as part of the BSkyB takeover and the share price has dropped, so he’ll get it in the cheap. All in time for him to re-open NOTW or launch the Sunday Sun.

Meanwhile, the rest of his global empire continues – denying climate change and propping the oil and military sectors – business as usual.

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Failure in Planning

An example of the current planning system failing to work includes a site in Glasgow’s International Financial Services District which has lain derelict for a couple of years now. It was acquired and planning permission granted for a new hotel for the Jumeirah Group, but there have been no signs of development progressing.  The developers used compulsory purchase powers to force out local businesses, causing people to lose their jobs and a leaving a whole block of the city empty and dilapidated, with resulting detrimental impacts on the surrounding area.  The developer behind this proposal is now in administration and the development is unlikely to progress.  This site will now be held in limbo until the developer’s finances are sorted out, then it could be sold on to another developer, who would then begin the process of getting funding then planning permission for a new scheme.  It could easily be another five years before the site is developed.

The existing system makes it too easy for developers to get planning permission but does not take action on developers who blight an area and do not follow through with the development. Peoples lives and local businesses have been disrupted for no benefit.  The councilors and their officials are too quick to support headline grabbing inward investment rather than supporting the local economy.

Perhaps big developers should lodge a substantial bond with this type of application before compulsory purchase powers can be used.  This would enable the local authority to progress alternative developments if the scheme does not go ahead, instead of sterilising a large area of the city centre.

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Simple Solutions

We take it for granted.

Water: it is there at the turn of a tap – hot or cold and most importantly safe, clean and pure. But not for all; many millions of people spend a large part of their day sourcing water for their basic needs. Wateraid provides simple solutions for local communities to implement to meet their own needs, solutions which they can then operate and maintain themselves.

Follow #WaterAid24 on Twitter to find out more about a day in the life of WaterAid.

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We really are up the creek without a paddle…

As global carbon emissions rise at such a rate that we have almost hit the 2020 target years ahead of schedule, the wind stops blowing and rising food prices are tightening the squeeze on the poor, we really are up the creek without a paddle.  Tinkering with corporate greenwashing, marginal improvements in resource use efficiency or mediocre reductions in waste will do nothing to avert the coming catastrophe.  Radical changes are required.

When the Titanic was launched 100 years ago today it was said to be unsinkable. The 1,517 passengers and crew who died when she sank may disagree.  If humanity continues on its current course, the number who die will be measured in millions, or possibly even billions.  Will our engineers find a solution to our problems as those who created the “engineering triumph” of the Titanic did? Or do we all need to take the steps to reducing or impact, our wanton waste and over consumption?

To continue the nautical metaphor, is it time to man the lifeboats? Oh! Lifeboats, we didn’t think we’d need any…

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