Friday 28th October 2016                 Change text size:



Alex Blackburne

B&GT in the Wall Street Journal

Following the lead of The Independent (twice), The Week and The Sun, the Wall Street Journal has given a nice hat tip to Blue & Green Tomorrow in a recent article about Barack Obama’s second inauguration speech.

It’s behind a paywall, but luckily, readers are able to see the B&GT mention for free.

Click here to read the article.



Alex Blackburne

16 (more) years of global warming

The nice folks at Skeptical Science have written a handy article, accompanied by an equally handy video, that explains how human greenhouse gas emissions have continued to warm the planet over the past 16 years – despite recent claims that global warming has stalled.

The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Times were among those news outlets to write articles with this viewpoint, jumping on the back of Met Office figures that they interpreted to carry this line.

A piece by James Delingpole in The Daily Mail was promptly rebuffed by the Met Office, and after spending the day examining the evidence and collecting views for his eco audit blog, The Guardian’s Leo Hickman similarly rejected the sceptic claims.

You can read the excellent Skeptical Science piece, and watch the video, here.



Alex Blackburne

BP exec uses Wikipedia to check Deepwater Horizon stats

In a story that seems too ridiculous to be true, a senior BP executive is alleged to have looked up the size of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on that trusted source, Wikipedia, rather than ask experts.

The source of this incredible claim isn’t The Onion or even The Daily Mash; it is in fact Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mailwhich wrote:

According to allegations filed in a Louisiana court Thursday, [BP executive David] Rainey used information gleaned from the online encyclopedia to estimate that the Deepwater rig was leaking 5,000 barrels of oil a day. And he stuck to that figure, defending his calculation vigorously in public and before the US Congress despite calls from many others, including some BP engineers, that it was far too low. “We should be very cautious standing behind a 5,000 [barrels of oil per day (BOPD)] figure as our modelling shows that this well could be making anything up to 100,000 BOPD,” one company engineer wrote in an internal e-mail to top executives on May 14, 2010, also part of the filings released Thursday.



Alex Blackburne

So what’s wrong with the States?

A good question, and one that seems particularly apt on the eve of the presidential election.

Martin Varsavsky, chief executive of crowdsourced Wi-Fi network Fon, has written an excellent post on LinkedIn that attempts to answer it.

Have a read of it here, but as always, try to avoid digging too deep into the comments. Some are absurd, while others border on lunacy!



Alex Blackburne

The Guardian Rules of Flushing

It may seem like an obvious set of rules, but after uncovering some of the unusual things found in sewers across the UK, The Guardian has compiled a list of “10 things you should never flush down your toilet“.

The items range from the unusual to the downright disgusting, with people flushing such things as human body parts (“most often fingers or even hands“) and pets (“goldfish are most common, of course, but hamsters and gerbils are also seen“) down the loo.

Half a Mini was also found in a London sewer, though Simon Evans of Thames Water reassured readers, saying, “Obviously that didn’t get flushed down the toilet.”

Read the article here.



Alex Blackburne

The Independent writes about Blue & Green Tomorrow

After being called “a helpful site” by The Sun only last week (see micro-blog entry below), Blue & Green Tomorrow has received yet more national media coverage; this time from The Independent.

In a piece entitled A ‘responsible and sustainable’ home for your cash, the journalist Simon Read writes about our recently-published Guide to Sustainable Banking – a rundown of the best, ethical, sustainable and responsible banking alternatives in the UK – and includes quotes from Charity Bank’s chairman, George Blunden.

And by all accounts, it’s been a very popular article. The image below shows that the piece is, at the time of writing this micro-blog entry, the fourth most read piece on The Independent‘s website!

We’d like to sincerely thank The Independent for the coverage. After last week’s National Ethical Investment Week, it appears that the mainstream media really is switching on to sustainable banking and investment. Long may it continue!

Read the full article here.



Alex Blackburne

Blue & Green Tomorrow called ‘a helpful site’ by The Sun

You might have seen yesterday an article in The Sun yesterday about ethical investment, cleverly titled Only way is ethics as a hat tip to the popular ITV reality show of a similar name.

But did you read the full article? If you did, you will have seen their “top tips for choosing an ethical investment” and a nice little mention for Blue & Green Tomorrow in the second bit of advice:

Needless to say, we’re delighted. Hello to all our new readers!



Alex Blackburne

A beginner’s guide to ethical investment

We’ve come across some really excellent and positive stuff during this year’s National Ethical Investment Week, and for investors who perhaps haven’t considered ethical, sustainable or responsible investment before, the following video by Citywire is a great place to start.

Watch it here.



Alex Blackburne

Michael Fish BASE jumping… surely not?

Of all the weird and wonderful things on the internet, a video of 68-year-old BBC weatherman Michael Fish BASE jumping off a building is up there with the most bizarre.

Fish, who’s perhaps best known for playing down the threat of extremely high winds during a 1987 forecast, only for a hurricane to kill 18 people on the south coast less than 24 hours later, apparently took a literal leap of faith in aid of climate change.

And here it is…

But, and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, the video is unfortunately a spoof. Fish didn’t actually throw himself off that building, despite claiming the jump was real in an article for the Huffington Post.

Mustafa Khalili, multimedia news editor at the Guardian, Tweeted earlier, “We have decided to take down the Michael Fish video because it’s a hoax. He doesn’t actually jump!” but not before his publication had also seemingly been taken in by the apparent genuineness of Fish’s stunt.

Meanwhile, Guardian journalist Leo Hickman Tweeted, “Guardian turned it down when approached as he didn’t actually do base jump (we had to ask) and cos of blatant plug“, referring to the eco-fashion firm behind the video.

Countless other sites have lauded Fish’s bravery throughout the day, yet barely a handful appear to have taken the time to fact-check.

Even on first viewing, I was sceptical (he boasts, pompously). Call me a party-pooper, but I’m just here to bring you the facts. And the real fact is, the message he was trying to convey is one that absolutely needs to be conveyed.

We’ve got to do something about [climate change] now“, Fish says in the video. He’s dead right. But pretending to BASE jump is perhaps the wrong way to go about it.



Alex Blackburne

Climate scepticism and conspiracy theorists: is there a link?

New research carried out by a group at the University of Western Australia has found that there might be a connection between individuals who question climate science, and those who believe conspiracy theories.

The study, called Motivated Rejection of Science, aims at looking at the motives and attitudes of the select group of people that object to the findings of 90% of climate scientists that are convinced climate change is largely happening because of human-caused pollution.

It might seem odd to lump climate change – a scientific theory supported by thousands of peer-reviewed papers and hundreds of independent lines of evidence – with conspiracy theories like these“, writes Adam Corner, a research associate at Cardiff University, in the Guardian.

In a survey of more than 1,000 readers of websites related to climate change, people who agreed with free market economic principles and endorsed conspiracy theories were more likely to dispute that human-caused climate change was a reality.

He concludes, “Climate change is a scientific entity, but one given meaning through the social, political and economic lenses we view it through.

The challenge of engaging with climate change sceptics is finding the lens that better fits their ideological views – not just shouting the science more loudly.



Alex Blackburne

Shell asks people to suggest ad slogans. Plan backfires…

Imagine the conversation:

Shell marketing director: We need a way of engaging with the public!

Shell marketing manager: How about an online ad campaign that gets people to suggest slogans?

Shell marketing director: But won’t that just get abused by pesky environmentalists and internet trolls?

Shell marketing manager: Definitely not, no.

Shell marketing director: Fine, great idea. Let’s run it!

At first glance, it looks as though the oil giant’s latest attempt to reach out to the public appears to have failed miserably. Instead of attracting carefully-thought-out, inventive and usable slogans for an ad contest, it has seemingly attracted countless carefully-thought-out, inventive but certainly not usable ones.

But alas, it’s not a failed marketing ploy, but a cleverly designed attack from Greenpeace.

We’re not complaining though. Some of the suggestions are pure genius. Some are painfully true. Some of them had us in stitches. And here’s some of our favourites…

Why not have a go yourself? We’d love to see your suggestions!



Alex Blackburne

Welcome to the Rest of Our Lives

Here’s an excellent video by graphic artist, illustrator and animator, Peter Sinclair, who produces the Climate Denial Crock of the Week website.

Rather than me babble on about what it’s about, I suggest you just take eight-and-a-half minutes to watch it.



Alex Blackburne

500,000 solar PV systems in Germany

Ever wondered, like me, what Germany’s 500,000 solar PV systems would look like if they were placed in a neatly-designed animation that mapped their installation over a two-and-a-half year period between January 2009 and September 2011? You have?! Well today is your lucky day!

The following visualisation by Chris Davis and Alfredas Chmieliauskas provides you with an excellently detailed progression of the German solar market, from its relatively humble state in 2009, through to its almost overwhelming array of solar in 2011.

Germany, as B&GT has written about many times, is the undisputed world leader in solar technology installation. And if current trends continue, we might look back at this period as one of the game-changing times in the renewable energy uprising.

The heading of this piece is a not-so-subtle nod towards The Beatles’ “4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire” line from their 1967 hit, A Day in the Life. Not as catchy, I’ll give you that, but congrats to those who got it before I had to explain.



Alex Blackburne


I’m handing over to Aaron Gray-Block, media relations specialist at Greenpeace International, for this micro-blog entry:

As the Arctic sea ice melts, the future of the region’s wildlife such as its polar bears is increasingly under threat. In this haunting video, a lone homeless polar bear is seen wandering aimlessly through London’s streets, waiting for the global movement to rise up and protect its home.

Set to a Radiohead soundtrack and narrated by actor Jude Law, the video forms part of Greenpeace’s recently launched Save the Arctic campaign.

Individuals are encouraged to join the debate on Twitter: #savethearctic.



Emily Norton

New Guinness World Record for energy efficiency

Ever wondered what a Guinness World Record for energy efficiency would entail? Well, on June 14 2012, we saw one of the much sought after accolades awarded to the Vortex 550 EcoSmart hand-dryer.

The dryer, created by the British manufacturer SAVORTEX, achieved the world record for the most pairs of hands dried using 30 kilojoules (kJ)of energy.

After requiring participants to first submerge their hands completely in water, the efficiency challenge saw the dryer sufficiently dry four pairs of hands to less than 40% moisture, using only 30kJ of energy.

Typically hand-dryers use between 70kJ and 90kJ of power to dry just one pair of hands.

The British designed and manufactured dry1p in electricity.

Commenting on the new Guinness World Record title, Marco Frigatti, head of records, said, “Guinness World Records is continually innovating on the record titles that we recognise and we, like consumers and businesses around the world, are focused on sustainability and efficiency.

“This title tests the energy efficiency of hand dryers and reflects that advancing technology within the market. Guinness World Records aims to continue to expand the range of energy efficiency world records that we recognise.”

Other energy efficiency-related records that are recognised by Guinness World Records include:

  • Longest lasting AA alkaline battery: Panasonic’s EVOLTA, which outperformed the batteries of other leading manufacturers by between 10% and 30% in January 2008.
  • Most fuel efficient vehicle: the PAC-CAR II which can travel 100km on 0.01857 litres of petrol, and was created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology for the Shell Eco Marathon on June 26 2005.
  • Most energy efficient supermarket: J Sainsbury in Greenwich, London, which has, since its launch in 1999, had a utilities bill which is 50% less than typical supermarkets of equivalent size. Its energy efficiency is achieved through ground submersion to give natural insulation, natural lighting sources and wind-generated power.



Alex Blackburne

Revived US soap favours renewable energy over oil

So, who remembers Dallas? Not the Texan city, but the US soap opera from the ’70s and ’80s that followed the trials and tribulations of the Ewing family.

Older Blue & Green Tomorrow readers are bound to remember that the father of the family – J.R. – was an oil baron, and had become significantly wealthy on the back of this, at a time when the extraction of fossil fuels wasn’t as unfavourable as it is now.

Dallas was decommissioned in 1991 but cable channel TNT announced in 2010 that it would be reviving the show this year, and today is the first episode of the new series.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the renovated version, though, revolves around Christopher Ewing, J.R.’s nephew.

Set to be portrayed on screen by Desperate Housewives actor Jesse Metcalfe, Christopher it seems, has broken away from the Ewing family’s allegiance to oil, and when we join the goings-on in 2012, has instead spent several years overseas in search of alternative energy sources.

Every major oil company has research and development trying to find alternative energies, even in Texas”, said Cynthia Cidre, the show’s developer and showrunner. “It’s completely relevant and central to the storyline.”

Next week: Coronation Street’s Kevin Webster is to re-brand his mechanic business as an electric car charging point. Or not.



Emily Norton

Accor Group’s inspiring sustainability commitment

Accor provides around 40,000 new hotel rooms each year. The group is taking innovative action in a bid to ensure growth in the sustainability field is as healthy as the advancement of the business itself.

In launching its PLANET 21 strategy, Accor intrinsically links 21 commitments for sustainable business improvements, with targets to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption.

The program embraces a broad range of development issues such as carbon emissions, energy and water use and biodiversity, and tackles “quantitative objectives” to be met by 2015.

The Accor Group established it’s environment department in 1994, and has since adopted pioneering programs, preserving ecosystems and reducing the environmental footprint of hotels, guests and employees alike.

Incentives for sustainable development are arguably the smartest investment opportunities in ensuring a healthy future for the planet that we live on.

Sophie Flak, executive vice president for sustainable development, relayed an ancient proverb: “We don’t inherit the planet off our parents; we borrow it from our children.”



Emily Norton

Green is the word…

Today marks the launch of London’s Conference on Delivering Sustainable Theatres. Conference 12 looks at the sustainable design, development and operation of theatres in relation to environmental, economic and social disciplines.

Taking place in Stratford Circus, the topic being discussed at this week’s conference is: ‘Delivering sustainable theatres – the challenge of achieving the triple bottom line’. Environmental, social and economic impact, are pillars valued by the Theatres Trust, the national advisory public body for theatres.

In recent years, we have witnessed many a positive step towards achieving sustainability within the UK’s theatre infrastructure. In 2008, the Mayor of London launched Green Theatre: Taking Action on Climate Change. We were also introduced to the Trust’s own Ecovenue scheme, which supported the environmental performance of 48 London venues.

Blue & Green Tomorrow applauds efforts for a sustainable venue infrastructure. Part of the challenge in creating a sustainable platform for future generations, lies with such multifaceted approaches to environmental engineering, design and production.

Green, most certainly, is the word.



Emily Norton

Eurostar Ashden awards £30,000 to sustainable travel businesses

Of the 120 sustainable travel initiatives considered across the UK, Belgium and France to win the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel, Norfolk-based car sharing organisation Liftshare and the Belgian City of Ghent’s cycling programme have come out on top.

Liftshare and the Ghent City Council will share the £30,000 prize to further their work in promoting sustainable travel.

Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder director of Ashden, said, “Liftshare’s achievements are very impressive; with one in every 100 cars in the UK registered on the liftshare network a huge number of car miles have been saved, resulting in phenomenal carbon savings.

“The city of Ghent has made cycling safe, easy and pleasurable through its excellent cycling infrastructure, innovative marketing campaigns and well thought-through cycling support, from rentals and repairs at stations through to providing gloves for when it’s cold.”

Travelling sustainably is one of the most important things we can do as individuals to ensure that businesses promoting responsible alternatives are given the support they need to thrive. Additionally, the more we can reduce our carbon footprint by making use of innovative solutions the better.

For more information on sustainable travel, download our free Guide to Sustainable Tourism 2012.



Alex Blackburne

LinkedIn in password leak

Although not entirely on message, we’d just like to notify our visitors that millions of LinkedIn passwords have been leaked online.

Users are advised to change their passwords immediately so as to prohibit any unsolicited access to their accounts.

Some login details are in code, but it is feared that around 300,000 of the weaker ones may have already been cracked.

Our team is currently looking into reports of stolen passwords. Stay tuned for more“, said the professional network’s Twitter page.

This is Blue & Green Tomorrow, just doing its public service duty.