|Issue 22 : 25 March 2008|
Spring clean: freedom, renewal, hope
I’ll be honest with you. There are days when, behind the smile, my fear overtakes me and I think it’s all too little, too late: that climate change is too advanced, and that my children’s world is ‘fouled up beyond all recognition’ (or FUBAR, as they say in Saving Private Ryan).
There are days when I think I’m going to miss a train, and I do. Then there are days when I run to make sure I catch it, and I do. Our attitude is powerful. And I refuse to give up on my kids.
It’s not too late. It’s not 'game over' just yet. Here in the UK, Mother Earth is giving us spectacular reminders of her powers of renewal. Spring is in the air. We are free. Everything is perfect. We can choose to live in a world of hope and wonder. I renew my vow to be “an optimist of the will, if a pessimist of the intellect.”
In this issue:
In the dark: take part in Earth Hour on 29 March
There are so many tremendous campaigns approaching over the next few months. Almost too many to mention, but one I’d like to single out is Earth Hour.
Earth Hour takes place on Saturday 29 March and, wherever you are in the world it starts at 8pm local time. Get your city, town or village to take part:
There’s a tremendous feeling of interconnectedness that comes out of days like this, which for me is reward enough, even if we achieve nothing (which we won’t). Tell your neighbours. Earth Hour will be simply beautiful. I have asked Marlow to light a candle!
From the website:
Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.
Just think of the amazing things you could do, for just 60 minutes. Beautiful conversations with loved ones, gazing at stars, cuddling your child, dancing in the dark even? Bliss.
Why not sport a bit of playful purple when you’re taking part? (It goes well with green too!)
It’s all new ground in human history – we haven’t been here before. Faced with the fact that our actions and inactions have given Mother Earth a very nasty fever – one that may soon become critical – how do we react authentically? I believe our response can be far bigger, stronger, more united and more honourable than perhaps we’re used to. It’s time to rise to the challenge. It’s time to stand together for what we know in our hearts is true. We’re running out of time. It’s time to start acting on the same scale as the situation we are talking about. And that’s BIG.
The 11th Hour
This movie, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, explores how humanity has arrived at this moment, and what we can do to change our course. Over 50 leading scientists, thinkers and leaders present the facts and discuss the most important issues that face our planet. It’s available on DVD in April 2008.
I highly recommend the preview, which you can view via the link below:
The Age of Stupid
Formerly know as Crude, The Age Of Stupid is the new cinema documentary from the director of McLibel and the producer of the Oscar-winning One Day In September. This enormously ambitious drama-documentary-animation hybrid stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055, watching 'archive' footage from 2007 and asking why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance?
The first £250k of Stupid's budget was raised in 2004/5 by selling 'shares' to people who care about climate change. They've raised £350k now, and are just £30k ‘short’. If you're quick, you can still invest £2.5K and get a share of the profits, or you can simply donate a smaller amount.
When I saw a preview of the film last year I desperately wanted to be associated with it – so I became one of their (many) small investors. There's a page on the website summing up what people get at various levels of investment. Take a look:
Carry on climate?
“Only 14% of people point to the use of fossil fuels as the main cause of the greenhouse effect.” (Source GlobeScan.com)
This is some staggering opinion poll statistic. After the very best efforts of so many of us – over many decades – the vast majority of the public (86%) still ain’t really made the clear climate carbon connection! We could try to blame NGOs, the BBC, governments, scientists, media, commerce, sceptics or denialists, but that’ll get us nowhere fast. Instead we can act as if we truly believe burning fossil fuel is a bad idea. And we can speak out. Climate damage need not be the act that dare not speak its name. Let’s talk about the funny weather – lovingly – until everyone knows that it is burning fossil fuel that is the problem, and stopping burning it that is the solution!
I am delighted to bring you joyous tidings of a new campaign launched last week by my good friend, Leominster-based ethical businesswoman, Philippa Roberts. The campaign enables you to care for the planet as well as for your own appearance.
Currently textiles are the fastest growing type of household waste, with an astonishing 83% of them ending up in the bin. And not only do they fill up landfill space, but they also release greenhouse gases when they break down.
To help tackle this, Low & Behold, the low-impact clothing company Philippa founded, not only sells organic cotton T-shirts and tops but also takes back old ones. The Wear Me Out campaign is designed first to encourage you to get the most from your clothes and wear them out rather than just binning them after one or two outings. And when you truly have had good wear from your T-shirts, send them to Low & Behold to be recycled and receive money off a new one in return!
Save 25% off low-impact organic cotton T-shirts
Philippa is kindly offering Communiqué subscribers 25% off Low & Behold T-shirts and tops. Simply shop online at the Low & Behold website and type CARBONCOACH into the voucher code box when you get to the checkout.
“If you want to love your neighbour, cut your carbon”
This was the simple message from the Bishop of London, from the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, at the candlelit launch of ‘E-Day’ (energy saving day) on 27 February www.e-day.org.uk
Sometimes we get so caught up with business benefits, payback periods, rewards and money savings, we forget the simple truth: cutting the carbon is the right thing to do – for ourselves, for our children, and for those less fortunate than us – and we must do it right now.
I love TearFund’s Carbon Fast campaign
“Climate change is not an opinion or a contentious notion. It is a fact,” they say. Amen, I say!
Push off Porsche: I’m with Ken
As a young man I used to dream of having a Porsche Turbo. But as far as I’m concerned Porsche has well and truly blown it. Their attempted dishonourable defence of the rights of posh people to pollute more (challenging Ken Livingstone’s higher C-charge for gas guzzlers) has dented their brand. If I had one I’d sell it. Poor show, Porsche.
Hopefully many readers will have warned their friends to ‘disinvest’ from gas guzzlers by now. As predicted over a year ago in Communiqué, asset values of high carbon cars are now tumbling.
Carbon incongruent? Then come dancing
Concerned that you’re saying one thing and doing another? You’re not alone. Margaret Meade observed that societal change must always start with hypocrisy. How are you getting on with ‘Come dancing – Dave’s 12-day quickstep for lighter feet?’ If you missed it, check it out here:
Already done all 12? Wow! Then get coaching others – ideally a nice big-footed friend.
I know some of you signed up to Communiqué because you wanted to learn how to be a carbon coach. I’ll focus on this in a future issue, but until then here are some tips. The basics are delightfully simple:
1. Meet with someone, have a nice carbon chat, and listen well.
2. Help them keep it simple.
3. Offer them a simple context for the subject, for example, that every £100 to £400 they spend on electricity, gas, oil and petrol releases a tonne of CO2 – a tonne that was previously locked up safely below ground. Pure solution into sore pollution. Our nasty habit of burning shed-loads of fossil fuel is what is causing climate change.
4. When we burn five kilos of fossil, we create roughly 10 kilos of invisible CO2.
5. CO2 is the principal greenhouse gas, so burning fossil fuel is precisely the habit we need to quit.
6. Explain that we’ve grown wasteful over the last 100 years, while energy was cheap and seemed infinite. But in truth it is neither.
7. We’ve grown accustomed to burning fossil like there was no tomorrow.
8. We can break this habit. We simply have to stop relying on ancient (deposit account) sunlight. Burning fossil is like selling the family silver.
9. There’s plenty of ‘current account’ sunlight and ambient energy to go around – enough for everyone’s needs. Sun, wind, wave, tide.
10. Ask what they’d like to do first to start reducing their footprint: to take action.
That’s almost all there is to it. Getting started is the key. Any action will do. Release the human energy. Invite them to dance: Dave’s 12-day quickstep for lighter feet.
Most of us can get motivated to keep up with the Greenses next door. And they want to keep up with you! Be the Greens next to the Greens! Be delightfully lightfooted. Earn the respect of others, and make your children proud.
This month’s Mission Possible consists of three simple steps:
1. Human power: shed some pounds
I’ve renewed my efforts to walk, bike, run, move, dance, live! My body mass footprint is way too high. My carbon footprint may be lower than it was, but my body is 50% grosser than when I was 21! This year I’m going to shift some kilos and some tonnes.
Did you know that the average UK person’s carbon footprint is 150 times their body mass? We produce our own body weight in CO2 every two days, from all the fossil that’s burnt for our convenience!
2. Don't be offput by offset: shed some £££s
I’ve been guilty of comically ‘dissing’ offset in the past, but, truth is, the best ‘offset’ providers are doing tremendous work. Few of us will be able to afford to offset all the carbon we’ve dumped in our lives but we can make a start. We’ve all got plenty of making up to do. Until you’ve offset at least as many tonnes as you’ve created in your lifetime, then don’t knock offset.
Here’s what Jonathon Porritt says on the matter. “Offsetting emissions from any form of transport is not nonsense if it's done in the right way. And that means avoiding journeys where possible, choosing the most CO2-efficient form of transport where possible, and when you have to fly or drive, offsetting the CO2 emitted with the kind of offset providers (such as Climate Care) who guarantee gold-standard offset projects.”
I’m working with a new company called Carbon Impacts who offer offset with a difference, via selected validated ethical projects. I’ve offset my family’s entire 2007 CO2 with them. If you like the look of their projects, do get in touch now. Tell ‘em Dave sent you.
3. Write to the papers: shed some light
I want to inspire you to write a letter from the heart. Keep it short, sweet, simple and inspiring and send it to the paper of your choice. I enjoy writing short pithy ones to The Sun! The key is to enjoy it, keep it light and enlightening, and play the numbers game: little and often. If every subscriber writes a letter a month we can shift mountains.
That’s all for now folks.
I send my love to you all, especially those of you feeling stuck in the chains or the shadow of your carbon past. Cast it off. We can all be low on carbon, self-energised, and high on the joy of freedom from fossil.
Drop me an email
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