Tuesday, 7 April 2009


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The Credit Crunch has taken the Climate Crisis off the front pages. We pick up a sense of inevitability about it all, even in places like the New Scientist. For a while it looked like public opinion, awareness and sentiment might just contribute to a more organized lobby aiming to slash carbon emissions.

In the corporate world, Big Green Projects are getting axed in favour of Cost-Cutting programmes. On the one hand, I can understand why. Green and sustainability initiatives can, on the face if it, seem like luxurious nice-to-haves when stacked up against projects which will drive up revenues, save costs and minimise expenditure. However, a longer look at the business cases for those green projects often reveals that they also talk directly to the bottom line by ultimately reducing energy and wastage costs, albeit over a slightly longer timeframe. Companies facing in-year budget challenges, with landords demanding upfront rents etc, etc simply can't wait... or so they think.

This psychology is echoed globally as quick fix remedies push longer term strategies off the agenda. Climate Control becomes someone else's problem, as we read more and more about the potential fixes available through geo-engineering, including capturing CO2 and sinking it below the oceans, seeding the same seas with iron filings, and spraying the clouds to reflect the sun's rays.

These geofix strategies have some merit but carry great risks. These are risks we may need to accept as we look increasingly unlikely to get our own house in order.

[An update with links later...]

Geolocate this post.

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Thursday, 2 April 2009

All Aboard... The Social Media Express

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It's been too long... since I blogged and since I caught up with the editorial team at Manchester Climate Fortnightly (@mcr_climate on Twitter). Yesterday, Common hosted the catch-up and an interesting idea-bouncing session over skinny latt├ęs.

We ranged around flash-mobbed guerilla-gardening opportunities, setting up a Geofix Debate, through to green-trains, through to...

... The Social Media Express...

I got to musing on the Jazz Trains, Folk Trains and Blues Trains which run from Huddersfield to Sheffield and back on the Penistone Line on Mondays (#uktrain, @johnpopham's fabled Ghost Train). You buy your ticket, they have a bar on board, they have a band on board. You get on, drink, chat, listen, sing, get off, go home.

So, mashing up this idea with Manchester's Social Media Cafe, I wondered whether The Social Media Express (#smc_smx) might have... er... wheels.

Here's the basic idea. We get on a train at either Manchester Piccadilly or Victoria (a three or four carriage rattler would be ideal, plus you can join at your local station) and head off for somewhere about an hour away. In each carriage, someone pitches up to speak, just like at #smc_mcr. We also have a bar on board. People gravitate to the carriage and speaker of their choice. After the talks/discussions, people mingle and chat. At our 'destination' we stay on board and run through the talks again so people can pick up on other sessions or we run new talks, depending on supply/demand.

I think we could create a useful buzz around this for #smc_mcr as well as for creative use of public transport... Maybe one of the talks could/should be green/sustainabilty oriented.

I'm thinking aloud here... anyone think this is worth pursuing...?

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