Wednesday, May 07, 2008

We shop therefore we are ??

1 comment:
We shop therefore we are ?? How many more shops do we need ??

I was very struck by the local paper’s recent double page celebration (‘You will remember to shop, wont you?’, Bristol Evening Post, May 5 2008) of something it says was ‘built using…cutting-edge design and technology’. Maybe it was, and my original training and first six years of work experience was as a technologist, but I’m afraid I still cant share in the enthusiasm the article tries to generate and sustain about a …giant car park! Ok, it’s the big, new car park at Cabot Circus featuring ‘eight floors’, ‘nine decks’ and ‘2600 spaces’ but we have built ‘one of the largest multi-storey car parks in Europe’ at a time when we are all supposed to be going green !!

Amongst the many hundreds of words accompanying some pretty good photos that had obviously taken some thought and effort were ‘…every element has been designed with the motorist – and shopper – firmly in mind.’ Which confirms, if indeed confirmation is needed, that high consumption is still very much the order of the day and the basis (can it really be this?) of our society.

Perhaps we’d all like to think that we are moving in a green direction, as recent publicity for BETS Expo 08 and Tesco’s labelling of a number of products with their carbon footprint illustrate (see here and here), but by any reasonable, accepted measure we have made precious little, if any, general green progress. If the Cabot Circus development, supported by all political colours on Bristol City Council except Green, is anything to go by – and it is the number one development in Bristol at present – we are continuing to take major backward steps. We cant drive and shop ourselves green now can we !

Row over the introduction of corn starch bioplastic bags in Bristol is the wrong row to have!!! The council seems to be ignorant of world events.

No comments:
There should indeed be a political row over introduction of corn starch bioplastic bags for use in the city's brown bin recycling system - but it certainly should not be this one! Squabbling over the details of how they are introduced shows just how little the bigger political parties truly understand what it means to be green ('Political Row Over Bags for Food Scraps', Bristol Evening Post, 7 May 2008).

Clearly the bags should not be introduced at all and we should continue to contain brown bin food waste in material that already exists, such as used newspaper or other waste paper such as paper bags. Just like the push for biofuels has helped to force up food prices so has the push for bioplastics. In addition just as there is great controversy about how biofuels actually increase environmental impacts instead of decreasing them, so the same argument applies to bioplastics. As soon as you start to grow crops for turning into fuel or plastics you are competing with food production and are clearing land as well as using chemicals and fossil fuels for the farming and processing. (There are a multitude of news stories about this issue eg here and here).To be sustainable biofuel and bioplastic production should be from waste oils and fats that already exist.

Council policy on making corn starch bags available, originally spearheaded by Knowle Lib Dem Cllr Gary Hopkins, which all parties apart from the Greens agree on, is based on ignorance of the facts I'm afraid. Don't councillors follow current events by at least watching the news??