Monday, 27 October 2008

The Price of Sustainability

Betsan Powys is straight onto the permamant secretary's decision to appoint 4 new Director Generals. News of this reached me early last week and the views I've canvassed have largely been positive. There is a need to do a better job of mainstreaming agendas such as sustainability and more importantly a need to maintain some strategic vision on agendas that truly cut across all departments.

Luckily, the list of required competencies for the 'Sustainable Futures' post doesn't appear to include 'a grasp of sustainable development principles' - lucky of course because in Wales, all civil servants should have a grasp of SD principles...so why ask! I for one will not be applying as the sheer stress of deciding which bank to put all that salary in would drive me mad.

Back to the real world and I was pleased to say that the guys at cheatneutral continue to neutralise the nation's infidelity. I hadn't seen this short film, reviewing the lads' media coverage over the alst few years. Concept is simple, cheatneutral offer to offset the impact of infidelity by investing in couples. It is, the guys tell a radio host 'a market based solution'. The idea is that the total amount of cheating will not rise as those cheating on partners will pay monogamous couples some offest money. It's a great parody of the carbon offsetting industry and their short film is fantastic in that so many of the people they encounter think the concept of 'offsetting' is nonsense. As one guy in the street says 'shouldn't you just discourage cheating in the first place'. They even get a question in the Houses of Parliament, courtesy of Alan Simpson MP. Oddly, Defra, continue to provide helpful advice on offsetting, one FAQ on their website makes a brilliant case for offsetting flights:
Q. I have been offsetting my flights under existing schemes. Have I been wasting my money?
A. 'Not at all - individuals and providers have helped to blaze a trail' see full text here
Well yes, they have indeed.........
Luckily, if you do want to help fight injustice in our world and help tackle GHG emissions, Oxfam are providing just the platform. Their 'be Humankind' campaign was all over our tellyboxes this weekend and of course can be found online. I'd also recommend looking at the short films posted on the Oxfam Climate Orb .
Of course, It's important to remember that whilst the climate is in chaos, the global economy continues to struggle with the latest trend being for '..runs on countries' , reports Robert Peston. And what with all this chaos, Ed Gillespie at Futerra identifies a new approach to addressing our global challenges - it's just that I'm left wondering if offsetting might be a be more effective?

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