Green Consumerism

The curtain has closed on the 25th London Fashion Week. It was all ‘strong shoulders, hard lines and lots and lots of black’ according to Grazia magazine. The former high priestess of punk, Vivienne Westwood, told the backstage press that she hopes people stop buying her clothes to ‘stop all this consumerism’. Her previous catwalk shows have highlighted the impact of mass consumerism on climate change.

Meanwhile in the world of football, Nike has decided to make the shirts of Brazil, Portugal, the Netherlands and others from recycled polyester in time for the World Cup in South Africa. This will reportedly cut manufacturing energy use by 30%. According to a spokesperson for the company:

The link between sustainability and Nike as a growth company has never been clearer and there is a real business case to be made for making Nike a more sustainable company

Indeed. Walmart is also on a charm offensive. Tree Hugger reports that the supermarket chain is to cut 20million metric tons of emissions over the next 15 years.


'Media-Lobbying Complex'

An interesting read in the current edition of The Nation about the so-called Media-Lobbying Complex in the US.

A few years back, Europeans may have marvelled at the availability of news on the other side of the Atlantic. Be careful what you wish for, the old saying goes.  ‘News’ coverage and analysis is now omnipresent in Britain, thanks to – amongst other things – 24hr tv news, Facebook feeds, Tweets, Google alerts, Blackberry/iphone apps, Comment is free, Have Your Say……

A lot has been made of this ‘new media’ revolution and how ordinary people have been empowered to act as ‘citizen journalists’. In light of The Nation article, however, it is worth considering how, if at all, lobbyists from corporations/partisan political groups can affect the content and discussion within new media outlets.

To be Frank

Green commentators have been decidedly downbeat since the resignation of Yvo ‘KPMG’ de Boer last week.

All in all, the next few months look grim. There is now no serious prospect of Obama getting legislation through the Senate, this year, or possibly ever. Following the sustained attack by climate deniers on both individual scientists and the IPCC, public confidence in climate change as an urgent issue is also steadily eroding, further reducing the room for manoeuvre by politicians. The next round of intermediate negotiations, due to start in Bonn on 31 May, look set to take place in a poisonous atmosphere of bitterness and rancour. Source: Mark Lynas, Guardian.

Ed Miliband, the UK’s influential Energy and Climate Change Secretary, released a statement soon after hearing of de Boer’s resignation: 

We must quickly find a suitable successor, who can oversee the negotiations and reform the UNFCCC to ensure it is up to the massive task of dealing with what are some of the most complex negotiations ever.

Meanwhile the head of Greenpeace International’s political and business unit, Wendel Trio, claimed DeBoer’s successor needs to be a ‘superman’.

The NYTimes editorial on Climate Change and de Boer’s resignation offers a welcome glimmer of hope amidst the prevailing mood of pessimism.


With everyone from Donald Trump to Rod Liddle questioning the validity of climate change on the back of the recent cold snap, Left Foot Forward offers a sober riposte.   

Think Progress also reports on the fact that whilst a ‘snowmageddon’ may have hit the east coast of the United States, things are very different elsewhere. On the Winter Olympics:

After the warmest January in Vancouver history, organizers moved more than 5,000 cubic meters of snow onto…helicopter and truck from nearby mountains. Some 750 workers are bringing in snow and building courses before competition starts on Saturday.

Of course this does not in itself prove that the planet is warming. It can be seen as an anomaly. A one-off. Much like ‘snowmageddon’. But when this is taken into account the Trump/Liddle climate change denial brigade begin to look slightly ridiculous.

News bite

The New Economics Foundation has called for the working week to be cut to 21 hours per week. A spokesperson for the think tank has said:

So many of us live to work, work to earn, and earn to consume, and our consumption habits are squandering the earth’s natural resources…It is time to break the power of the old industrial clock, take back our lives and work for a sustainable future.

Gordon Brown has denounced climate change sceptics for going ‘against the grain’ of solid scientific evidence. He has also launched a new group to raise funds for the fight against global warming trends – Guardian.

With Vancouver winning many plaudits as a green city the HuffPo asks just how environmentally friendly the Winter Olympics really are. A mixed bag it seems. But on the whole a step in the right direction.