Category Archives: quality of life

This new-fangled ‘Green Thing’ or just the King’s Clothes?

This Green Thing - Brown Paper Bag

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young cashier responded, “That’s our problem today – your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Grocery shops bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we re- Used for numerous things, most memorable besides household bags for rubbish, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school), was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalise our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have a lift in every supermarket, shop and office building. We walked to the local shop and didn’t climb into a 300 horsepower machine every time we had to go half a mile.

But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s Terry Towel nappies because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 3 kilowatts – wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids had hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back In our day.

This Green Thing - Wastebin

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Back then, we had one radio or TV in the house – not a TV in every room and the TV had a small screen the size of a big handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Scotland In the kitchen. We blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We pushed the mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a tap or fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

This Green Thing - Petrol Pump

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their Mums into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s £50,000 ‘People Carrier’ which cost the same as a whole house did before the “green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, Not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances and we didn’t need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pub!

But isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we Old Folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart arse young person…

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off…especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smart-arse who can’t work out the change without the cash register telling them how much it is!

Here endeth the bloody lesson!

GlobalNet21: Community Building Webinars & Future Programme

We have two webinars coming up that are about regeneration and community building and you are invited to join them.

The first one is on Monday Jan 30th and is called Civil Society Beyond The Radar and you can register at http://www.meetup.com/21stCenturyNetwork/events/41608212/

Civil Society is much more than what we call the voluntary sector or non-government organistions. It is the many thousands of community associations across the country that engage in a variety of different activities. This webinar is about the hundreds of thousands of community associations that make up civil society and often go unnoticed. How important are they, how can their autonomy be maintained and indeed how essential is that. We will also look at the impact of current policy/recession/deficit reduction on small community groups and also how the Big Society agenda could make that “social glue” come unstuck if it is handled in a too prescriptive way.

The Second Webinar is on Wednesday February 8th and is about Rebuilding Lives in the 21st Century.  You can register for that at http://www.meetup.com/21stCenturyNetwork/events/41105042/

The 21st Century is likely to be marked with increasing instability and security challenges across the globe, as the combined impacts of resource shortages, climate change, ethnic and religious polarisation and societal inequalities bite ever deeper. In this Webinar Robert Pye will describe how the organization Ethos is keen to work with interested and concerned members of GlobalNet21 to “rebuild lives.” By developing infrastructure capability building, Ethos is are eager to recruit individuals and organisations with first-hand experience and to uncover some approaches to funding pilot projects and experiments.

Community Building is only one of the themes that we will be covering in the first six months of this year. Other themes that we will be discussing either planned or in discussion are,

  • Social Enterprise & Its Effectiveness
  • Sustainable Leadership in the 21st Century
  • Inequality & Society
  • Social Cohesion and Diversity
  • Beliefs, Religion & Politics
  • Transforming Education
  • Creating More From Less – The 21st Century Imperative
  • The Green Planet verses Blue Planet Debate
  • Going Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Strengthening Civil Society
  • Citizen Journalism & The Public Square
  • Working with Marginalised Groups

The last two topics will culminate in a Photographic Exhibition that we are staging in May of this year on Photography and Marginalised groups.

So it looks like being an active six months ahead. Looking forward to you joining in.

Best wishes,

Francis

London UK – House Meeting – Causes of Poverty

If you’re in the London area, try getting along to this 21st Century Network house meeting on Wednesday 7th December.

Robin Smith is offering a House Meeting for those interested in discussing the causes of poverty, recession and destruction right next to enormous power to produce wealth. This sounds like a big and deep topic. We will try to look at the simple first before proceeding with anything more complex.

Read more and sign up here

$25K for the Greenest Family in NYC Tri-State Area–special from Shel Horowitz

For those of you reading this in the NYC Tri-State Area, PrincipleProfit author and ethical marketing guru, Shel Horowitz, pushed this my way so I’m pushing it your way!

I am always thinking of you, my readers–so when I saw this in this morning’s Help a Reporter, I stopped what I am doing to tell you about it. I know nothing about this other than what is below, but it certainly seemed worth passing on. If I lived in the Tri-State area and had kids the right age, I’d enter myself.

HARO is a no-charge service that sends reporter queries three times a weekday.
You can subscribe at www.helpareporter.com.

I suggest you respond with two or three bullets and a sentence or two about your qualifications – let them follow up later)–the faster the better.

Please respond to the reporter *using the address in the body of the request* (I wouldn’t mind being copied but if you only send to me, I won’t forward it) with HARO as the first word of the subject line.

Remember–I didn’t write this and can’t answer any questions about it. All I know is what’s below.

18) Summary: CASTING: How green is YOUR family?

Category: Entertainment and Media
Media Outlet: Anonymous
Deadline: 7:00 PM EST – 8 December
Query:

How green is YOUR family? A NYC based media company is casting three families in the tri-state area to enter an eco-friendly challenge! We are looking for outgoing families who are comfortable on camera. Shoot dates will be mid-to-late January for two days in your home.

Here’s the deal! Each family will name one of their children (age 6-10) as team lead, and under the guidance of a green expert, each family will be asked to create solutions to (1) save water, (2) save energy, and (3) reduce waste at home, in their neighborhoods and in their schools. Each family will be compensated; however points will be awarded for each activity and the winning family will appear on Better TV and receive a $25,000 savings bond for their child’s college education.

Does your family have what it takes to win this challenge? Write a brief description explaining why, grab your favorite family photo, and submit to greenfamilycasting@gmail.com

Accurate Writing & More, 16 Barstow Lane , Hadley, MA 01035, United States

Adam Curtis and “Who cleans the toilets on the Enterprise?”

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving GraceNo longer having a TV means that I sometimes come across quality programmes well after they have been screened and only after they can be accessed by some of the video sharing sites.

I have been a big fan of Adam Curtis ever since seeing Century of the Self, my first Adam Curtis documentary and the one I came across recently,  All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (aired earlier in 2011) did not disappoint. His views on modern society speak volumes to me and his latest BBC documentary did likewise.

The three part series can be found on vimeo at the following links:
1. http://vimeo.com/29865018
2. http://vimeo.com/29875053
3. http://vimeo.com/30107451

This article from the Guardian discusses the series with Curtis
http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2011/may/06/adam-curtis-computers-documentary
and this quote from the end of the article crystalises everything for me
“… the modern world is all about me, me, me … have we really given up on the hope of changing the world in our lifetimes? Or is that in itself an idea worth fighting for?”

There is an interesting blog entry by Adam Curtis covering Occupy Wall Street, 60s BritArt, Marcuse, Michael X on his blog at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2011/10/dream_on.html

My favourite extract from a comment towards the bottom of the page…
“There’s a question that is asked by trekkies over the long years that the Star Trek franchise has been active: Who cleans the toilets on the Enterprise? Marcuse and other philosophers never really ask this question. But the philosophers, pundits and professors know one thing for sure. It’s not them.”

This prompted an interesting exchange with a good friend about philosophy which went along the following lines.

Me: I took the Trekkie quote simply as a question of whether those who philosophise on states of mind, society etc take into account such practicalities of cleaning the bogs. If Nietzsche’s definition of work/slavery is not having two-thirds of the day to yourself, that’s a bit of a cop-out as that is relatively easy to achieve.

Equally interesting is his reference to “the Greek philosophers who went through life feeling secretly that…everybody who was not a philosopher was a slave.” He cops out again by not really defining philosophy cos I’m sure that those who clean the bogs definitely have some views on society, mind and life! Of course, Nietzsche may also have enjoyed cleaning the bogs whilst philosophising.

He also refers to “active men” – so if a banker considers that he has his 16 hour working day to himself as BLISSful enJOYment, he is not a slave? He is still however a C.U.Next.Tuesday in my eyes but in Nietzsche’s….?

I was just googling some stuff as I go along so I probably missed a lot of Nietzsche’s meat but it is probably all in the mind about “getting busy living or getting busy dying”.

Friend: Speaking of cop-outs, I’m bound to misrepresent the ideas of Nietzsche (or any philosopher). What I can say with confidence is what it is that I take from them. The first thing is that I don’t need Nietzsche to define the condition of slavery. What he distinguishes so powerfully for me is the differing moralities of master and slave. I should have made it clear that my bliss and joy are about perfect happiness at home, not at all like the example of the banker. Nietzsche’s ideas seem to have a lot in common with Kierkegaard’s and Ayn Rand’s; I love the former’s Fear and Trembling and the latter’s The Fountainhead. All three are obnoxious crypto-fascist totalitarians (especially Ayn Rand), but their ideas speak to me and inspire me to take great strides where I would otherwise faff and dither.

What have The English Channel, The Atlantic, Barons & Baronesses got to do with the NHS?

I had to repost this from Business Feedback Anonymous
Besides, The Channel and The Atlantic, this post reveals what Barons and Baronesses have got to do with the NHS…

Here is my letter to Baroness Morgan regarding the House of Lords vote (11th October 2011) on huge, dangerous changes to the NHS – this is part of the 38 Degrees campaign to save the NHS. See the end of this post for more information. Continue reading