Friday, 28 March 2008

Metal in Motion : David Cameron

A strange day was yesterday. I ventured into the RSA to hear Ed Gillespie talk about his low carbon travels around the globe. That wasn't the strange bit though even though I greatly enjoyed his lively presentation and the debate that followed.

The strange occurance came on the way up to the room where the lunchtime lecture was to take place. Upon arrival in the RSA, I was surprised to see that the entrance lobby was overcrowded with people who I soon realised were members of the Conservative Party. Fine, I thought, I'll just try and get through them to reach the staircase to the meeting room.

As I walked through the doorway that led to a narrow corridor, I spotted the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, walking towards me. I mustn't stare, thought I, and instead I decided to have a smile at the ready should he make eye contact. As it turned out, he was in conversation with a fellow party member so I was in no danger of making any eye contact with him. But much to my surprise and bewilderment, as he passed me he caught my shoulder sending me crashing into the wall! And without so much as a cursory glance or better still, an apology!

So there was I, just thinking about changing my political swaying, when a harsh reality check kicked in, and I tried to figure out whether it was Mr Cameron's apparent unconcern, unawareness, or perhaps more radical still, his iron body that left me a bit beaten in that corridor.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Watch out for cyclists!

Living in London, I know first-hand how tricky cycling through the capital can sometimes be. Despite this, I think it's important to keep going, and have confidence. This latest viral vid from Transport for London is a great wake-up call to drivers who really should take more care on the roads..

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The 11th Hour

Yesterday I saw a preview screening of the 11th Hour which is on release at the Apollo Cinema in London later this week.

I went to the screening fearful that the film would instill more gloom into audiences already growing weary of doom-mongering from notable figures around the world. Instead as the film passed its opening and bracing sequence, it started to make a lot of sense...

Yes, there were a lot of frightening images of drought, famine, flood and death, as well as sobering statistics of unsustainable world growth. But amid this were voices that spoke with authority and certainty without preaching in any way. They were people from all industries and backgrounds - people who knew that the truth about the damage that we've inflicted on the planet. But the voices were unnaffected by the media, and spoke with passion and reason at the same time. They're largely not celebrities but people who've been working to find solutions to the planet's woes.

The film starts to address profound issues that other films, books and documentaries have failed to address. These are not just about climate change or the effects of our behaviour on the planet, but instead our relationship to nature and ourselves. The film clearly questions any separation between humans and the environment - we are in fact inseparable. We are also vulnerable in the grand scheme of things. So as a result all we are doing is speeding up our demise whilst being a relatively young species.

The film shifts the emphasis of the climate change debate to focus on what we're doing that's different to our pre-industrial ancestors. What we're doing now that didn't happen before is releasing the ancient energy of the sun that was previously not released. In other words, our ancestors lived by the energy of the current sun and not the ancient sun which of course is not renewable. In unleashing this locked up energy, the population of the planet has rocketed to unbelievable proportions. Even in my grandparents' lifetimes, the population has increased over 5 times over. This just isn't sustainable.

Having spent the weekend with a friend's baby, I started to question what the future of that young baby would be. If the world continues to deplete resources I genuinely felt afraid and unless things change, I started to question if I should myselfin the future bring a new person into a world which can't sustain it.

A moment in the film which had resonance with my mission, was when they talked about our relationship to our homes. Something has brewed a kind of hatred toward our surroundings. Instead our consumer behaviour has taken over and tried to fill this gap and define who we are. As more people have grown tired of the constant bombardment of commercial imagery and brands, they are rejecting the notion of working more to buy more. And suddenly the idea of frugality is one that is appealing, and welcoming in a fast-paced, individualistic society.

So is there a reason to be cheerful? Very much so. Well if you consider the planet as being another living being with rights too, then the planet is all ok in the long-term. Humans will be gone, but as the film finishes on, the earth will regenerate eventually, and life-in whichever way possible-will return. For humans though, all isn't lost. The film talks about what we can do - even if it's at the 11th hour, we still have a chance. In fact some commentators even say that this is the most fascinating era to live in. A chance to completely rethink the way we live and our relationship to the planet. As long as we keep in mind these possible solutions, we have a chance.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Sneak preview of the new ecoescape guide

Having just got over the excitement of proposing to my other half on Leap Year day, now there's all the excitement of the new ecoescape guide to contend with! Here's a sneak preview of the cover which we've spent weeks deciding on. The new UK ecoescape goes to print this week and will be in the shops before the end of the month.

You can request a copy through your local bookshop or order a copy through our website at

ISBN 978-1-905731-40-4
RRP: £8.99

Monday, 3 March 2008

Leap year madness

I don't know what came over me. I woke up on Friday morning thinking that it was just another day in the office - or should I say at home - working on the final pages of the new ecoescape book. Andy was around in the background working on the final pages of his thesis, so it seemed pretty straight forward to me.

But then I had a mad moment at lunch and decided to ask Andy to marry me! As it's a leap year, the girls are allowed to pop the question (else the boys have to pay a fine/buy girl new dress). Luckily Andy said 'yes' which was just great. Except we have no idea how to go about this marriage thing. It feels like the right thing to do for both of us, we just don't know how to do it! I mean, how does one choose a ring, or more importantly, break the news to parents. Let's say, the latter was a learning curve and I've never seen Andy so nervous before. It took him all day to summon up the guts to ask for my parents' permission and, of course, they were absolutely delighted - phew!

So now that part's done, I'm finding it hard to tell everyone else I know so I'm hoping they may read this blog and that's job done. I keep drafting a text message but it just seems wrong - or worse still I could broadcast a 'status update' on Facebook! No way! So my plan is to see how far and wide my mother can spread the news and the rest I'll fill in with some face-to-face get-togethers starting this weekend at what should be our flat warming party. That's unless they read this first...

So to the future then. And I'll not get carried away with spending. I'll not get carried away with spending. I'll just keep repeating that to myself and hope it stops me.

Any ideas or advice on how this marriage thing works, please write!