The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Archive for the 'Government Policies' Category

Strikes vs Royal Weddings

Posted by keith on 26th November 2011

There is going to be a strike in Britain on Wednesday. The UK Government are condemning it. This is starting to appear all over Facebook:

When the government decide we can have a day off for the royal wedding it doesn’t damage the economy, but when the workers decide to strike for a day it costs the UK economy half a billion….

Is there something funny going on?

Quite.

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy | No Comments »

Jordanian Cultural Heritage Enriched by Sustainable Star Trek Resort

Posted by keith on 25th October 2011

There is part of me wanting this to be a spoof, but most of me knows it’s real. I’m talking about the latest hair-brained scheme to tempt the mindless tourist into spending cash, in this case in the state of Jordan.

Hi Keith,

Building a sustainable, energy efficient luxury resort and theme park is an engineering challenge in and of itself: both are traditionally water- and energy-intensive. But in Jordan, where only 10 inches of rain fall per year and energy and water security is always tenuous, achieving as much self-sufficiency as possible is a necessity.

That’s why -as you may have heard-the $1.5 billion dollar Star Trek-themed Red Sea Astrarium in Jordan is being built with on-site renewable energy production facilities, integrated grey water and solid waste management systems, and numerous other cutting edge efficiency measures.

The reduction of the potable water use of the resort buildings alone will save 57.6 million gallons per year (as compared to business as usual). That’s enough water to serve the annual drinking needs of 303,000 people.

If you’re interested, I’d like to connect you with the engineers from Arup that developed the design, for a peek behind the curtain and a frank discussion about the nuts and bolts of the project.

Arup’s plans will:
- reduce water and energy usage by up to 20%,
- reduce resort cooling demand by up to 19%, and
- allow the Astrarium to produce 15 to 20% of its energy from on-site using renewables.

Any interest?

Best,
Courtney
chamilton@groupsjr.com

You can learn more about the Red Sea Astrarium here: http://www.arup.com/Projects/Red_Sea_Astrarium.aspx

Clearly Courtney is just a hired drone who takes no interest in her copy otherwise, in the name of all that is holy, she would have realised what an unwittingly hilarious piece of greenwashing PR bilge this is. You only need to try and digest the phrase “Building a sustainable, energy efficient luxury resort and theme park” to realise that. The obvious response is: “So why build the fucking thing in the first place?!”

But I am more polite than that:

This is a joke, yes? A “sustainable” luxury report and theme park that is completely superfluous and about as relevant to the Jordanian culture as building a copy of the Great Wall of China in New York – that’s hilarious. Well done.

Keith

No response, and how rude is that? There are three forces at work here – not in preventing a response, you understand, I’m not paranoid – in making such a concept possible in the first place:

1) A nation or corporation that promises to pay a nation, so desperate for money that they will stoop to such incredible depths to make a project like this happen. According to the Business Anti-Corruption Portal:

“Despite the absence of any significant natural resources, Jordan has succeeded in attracting foreign investments through economic reforms and has demonstrated solid economic growth rates, while the government has gradually been implementing policies to improve competition and to foster transparency. The need for such policies have gained strength under the circumstances that Jordan has witnessed and which are strongly related to the public uprisings that have swept the Arabic region since early 2011. Public dissatisfaction with government policies and the rule of law has mobilised the King and the government to initiate reforms to improve the political, economic and social climate of the country.”

Which obviously includes attracting as many tourists as possible regardless of the cultural, social and environmental implications of implementing a straight-down-the-middle capitalist attitude. The announcement of the project was made in May 2011:

Rubicon Group Holding (RGH), a diversified global entertainment organization producing innovative digital animated content and location-based attractions, will design and produce The Red Sea Astrarium (TRSA), a 184-acre themed entertainment resort located in Aqaba, Jordan, which, through a license from CBS Consumer Products, will prominently feature an amazing attraction inspired by the 2009 international hit motion picture, Star Trek. The “Star Trek” attraction is being creatively developed by Paramount Recreation.

That announcement was made today by Randa S. Ayoubi, CEO of Rubicon Group Holding, at the Jordanian-American Business Forum, under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in a special signing ceremony attended by business leaders from Jordan and the United States.

2) An engineering company determined to prove its “green” credentials, despite being a major provider of oil and gas infrastructure, aviation services, mining infrastructure and massive commercial developments. Arup are all this and far more; and as such gloss over their activities with a thick layer of greenwash, everywhere you look. The Astrarium is no exception:

The Red Sea Astrarium (Astrarium) represents an opportunity to demonstrate Jordan’s commitment to innovation and sustainable development. Resort developments, particularly those that target a global audience, increasingly reflect the global interest in sustainable development. The Astrarium will be at the forefront of sustainable resort development by implementing Arup’s infrastructure recommendations.

The Astrarium is a planned 184 acre entertainment resort and virtual reality theme park showcasing the rich cultural history and future of Jordan and the Middle East. Situated on a soaring plateau close to the Port City of Aqaba, the park includes four hotels, an entertainment district, a man-made saltwater lagoon, and two waterfront areas, one anchored by a ‘Star Trek’ themed attraction.

Brought in to provide infrastructure planning and design of the development’s energy, water, wastewater, solid waste, mobility and logistical management systems, the Astrarium presented a number of challenges to the Arup team. Located 200 metres above sea level in the mountains bordering the Red Sea, the site has no natural source of potable water thanks to the region’s arid climate while the development itself will have a substantial energy demand due to the array of attractions and amenities.

Words and thoughts consistently fail me with every sentence of this remarkable piece of rhetorical bullshit. One thing it does wrap up nicely is that there is NO SUCH THING AS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

3) A PR company so willing to bend over and take whatever any corporation cares to shove in their direction that they will deliver, en masse, complete lies in order to make a fast buck.

Anyone wishing to undermine any of these three forces has my complete blessing; if you have any success let me know, I would love to see this all come toppling down.

Posted in Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy, Promotions, Techno Fixes | 2 Comments »

An Open Letter to Mike Gonzalez, and Everyone Else Writing About Evo Morales

Posted by keith on 4th October 2011

To: Professor Mike Gonzalez, Glasgow University

Hi Mike

I’ve just read your article “Eva Morales Defence of Mother Earth Rings Hollow in Bolivia” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/oct/03/evo-morales-indigenous-people-protest) and am a little concerned. I assume (hope) you weren’t responsible for the headline as that only reflects a personal opinion, even though the headline implies this as fact. You are no doubt more qualified than me to comment on the political situation in Bolivia, but to suggest that the actions of an over-zealous police force reflects on Morales’ worldview when earlier in the article you show it was subordinates of Morales who ordered and defended the actions of the police is confused, if not dangerous.

There is a huge amount of economic interest in Bolivia, as you correctly state, and to ignore the enormously powerful forces of corporatism and state-sponsored agitation (as has been rife in South America over the past 45 years) in favour of an attack on Morales principles is disingenuous to say the least. A common tactic in past regime changes has been to undermine the head of state through the buying out of lesser politicians, and creating a feeling of unrest on the street by the spreading of rumours, the control of the military and subsequent violence to suppress dissent, and other tactics more subtle yet just as effective. I, and others like me, suspect this is happening at this very moment.

Mainstream NGOs are, of course, blind to such activities as they will always pursue the populist agenda, i.e. that which supports the viewpoints expounded by the bulk of their supporters – after all, where would they get funding from if they were campaigning counter to the viewpoints of their funders? Of course the frontline prevention of unethical activities has to take place, but to report on this and ignore the background of supremely powerful influences bent on regime change (and how better to make it happen than to tar the regime with the brush of “inhumanity” – how ironic given the previous paragraph) is not acceptable. The real kicker here is that none of the mainstream NGOs have signed up to the ground breaking People’s Agreement of Cochabamba, or the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which Morales himself has pushed for since 2009. This is a telling sign, if not absolute evidence, of the mainstream bias of the media bodies and NGOs reporting on the current situation in Bolivia.

I would urge you to read the article at http://wrongkindofgreen.org/2011/09/30/who-really-leads-on-the-environment-bolivia-verses-the-movement-the-facts-speak-for-themselves/, and perhaps ask that your article be amended to reflect the wider background of corporate and state influence in South America.

Kind regards

Keith Farnish

(More information at http://wrongkindofgreen.org/2011/09/30/peak-hypocrisy-u-s-organizations-exploit-bolivia-crisis/)

Posted in Government Policies, Human Rights, Media Hypocrisy, NGO Hypocrisy, Political Hypocrisy | No Comments »

I’m On The Run

Posted by keith on 7th June 2011

Actually I’m not. It would have been quite exciting to have been writing a blog from an internet cafe somewhere, or hijacking a wireless connection outside an office building, but it seems I am safe and snug in my home completely bereft of law enforcement officers hammering at my door demanding I complete the 2011 Census. Following on from my public announcement that I would be breaking the “law” (actually breaching the terms of the Census Act, as they aren’t allowed to call it a law) there was a mixture of wholehearted support, denial that the census was anything but an important social tool, and personal appeals to just fill the damn thing in.

As expected I received a few visits from the census taker, a very nice lady in her 50s, I would say, who continued to follow the official line regardless of what I said, although towards the end I did sense that she felt she would rather be somewhere else than at my door listening to various problems I had with the execution of the census. What emerged prior to census day really sealed my position though. It turned out that, during an experimental testing of the census materials, I couldn’t get the envelope to stick down. After all the claims of security on the Scotland’s Census website with regards to CACI (UK) Ltd, they couldn’t even use proper envelope glue, effectively making the act of posting the census form a security failure in itself. It wasn’t just me – of the four people I asked in Scotland, two of them had already noticed this, one had stuck their envelope successfully, and one hadn’t checked. As the two people weren’t even that local to me then I have to assume the problem was more widespread than just my local office.

This I passed onto the Census Office, my local MSP, my MP and a couple of newspapers. The resulting publicity over this complete balls-up was…zero. It seemed that the census was sacrosanct and nothing would be allowed to cast a pall over its exulted status – especially given the amount of money and airtime being utilised telling people that the MUST FILL IN THE FORM. A £1000 fine loomed, so we were all told.

After the second note of non-compliance had been put through my letter box, I bumped into the census taker outside my gate. The conversation went something like this:

“Have you filled in your census form yet?”

“No.”

“You do know that you have to fill it in or you will get a fine.”

“Yes.”

And I walked off to buy a local paper.

The next time I met the census taker was on my doorstep. She was a bit less smiley than usual. I explained that this was nothing personal but I would not be filling in my census form until the Census Office had explained how they were going to deal with the likely security breaches resulting from the failure of the envelopes to seal, and that I had absolutely no confidence in their ability to keep confidential data from a military contractor given that they couldn’t even keep their data safe from casual sorting office glances. This was noted, and that was the last time I ever saw her.

I expected a formal letter soon afterwards. None came. It has been six weeks since the Census was supposed to have been filled in. According to the Census Web Site, this is the compliance process:

1. Your census taker (enumerator) will visit to remind you to complete the questionnaire and offer help and advice to do so. If you’re out, they will leave a reminder card.

2. If the questionnaire is still not with us after seven days, your census taker will visit again and, if you’re out, will leave a second reminder card.

3. If you refuse to take part, that information will be forwarded to the census non-compliance team.

4. You will be sent a warning letter from the Registrar General Duncan Macniven. Warning letters are also issued to people who publicly state that they refuse to fill in a census and/or encourage others not to.

5. You may also be visited by census non-compliance officers and your case may be referred to the Procurator Fiscal. Successful prosecutions will result in a fine of up to £1,000 and a criminal record.

No letter, even though I publicly stated my refusal to fill in the census, and encouraged others not to do so. No visit from non-compliance officers. Nothing.

I am very disappointed; I wanted a fight, in court, and in public. It would have been a great pleasure to explain to the media and the courts that despite my calls to the Census Office and my so-called representatives, no public statement was made, not even the pathetic “You could stick it down with tape” one official respondant suggested, with regards to the impending security breach. I would have loved to have got the Census Office to publicly state that despite not even being able to source a decent glue we should still trust our personal information to a company that used state privilege to escape prosecution for repeated human rights violations.

If it happens, you’ll be the first to know.

Posted in Cover Ups, Exposure, Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy | 2 Comments »

Irony Alert! Red Tape Challenge a Breach of National Security

Posted by keith on 18th April 2011

I’ve just come off the phone after speaking to a nice person at the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. She sounded a little concerned, or maybe that was just bemusement, after I pointed out that the UK Government’s latest brain-busting measure – known, all chummily, as the Red Tape Challenge – is actually in breach of national security. Why does this matter? Well, it’s taken a little bit of research, but essentially the government appears to have been so hasty to roll out yet another pro-business, pro Daily Mail / Sun Reader, pro corporate industrial lobby idea, that they haven’t bothered to check their own legislation, nor considered what Cutting Red Tape would actually mean.

According to the RTC web site, the aim of the project is:

about harnessing the experience and ideas of those who deal with regulation day-in, day-out to help us cut red tape. Through this site we’re gathering your thoughts on which regulations should stay, which can be merged, which can be scrapped and so on. Ministers and government officials will then use this information to help them cut the right regulations in the right way.

There are, apparently, 21,000 pieces of legislation that are up for review and the real focus comes clear not much further down the page:

The challenge aims to look at the stock of over 21,000 statutory rules and regulations that are active in the UK today. The priority will be to focus on regulations that we know place the biggest burdens on businesses and society.

The Red Tape Challenge starts to look like a nasty piece of work already, as it’s clearly about making it easier for businesses to do what they want more easily, which is essentially to make money. The fillip of “society” at the end is revealed to be code for “more business” as the RTC is actually being run by a team at the Department for Innovation, Business and Skills (the old Department for Trade and Industry).

You can call them if you like to check: it’s 020 7215 5720 and I know it’s that department because it’s in the number range for the old DTI. I also know this because on the BIS website is a big banner promoting the project.

The BIS’s watchword is “growth“; in fact the entire UK government’s watchword is “growth”:

Growth is the Government’s top priority and every part of Government is focused on it. But we need to grow differently.

Growth must be sustainable, shared and balanced – across the country and between sectors of the economy.

There is a clear and active role for Government to create the conditions for the private sector to grow and remove unnecessary barriers that can stifle growth.

And there is a strong role for BIS, as the Department for Growth, in enabling this.

Almost everything that BIS does – from investing in skills to making markets more dynamic and reducing regulation, and from promoting trade to boosting innovation and helping people start and grow a business – helps drive growth.

Growth, especially private sector growth, is a guarantee of environmental harm. It is economic growth that leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s a graph I produced for another article:

So, we have an obvious desire – unless, somehow they have overlooked this massively obvious correlation – by the UK government to cause environmental damage. Bear in mind that it would be childs play to construct similar graphs comparing trade to global deforestation, species extinction, water toxification, oceanic fish depletion and so on. Economic growth= environmental damage, end of story.

Then we have this interesting statement on the RTC page:

Are any regulations excluded?

The exercise will not examine regulations in relation to tax or national security.

Ok, so what is National Security. It’s not so hard to find that out because I used to work in something called Business Continuity Management which meant regular contact with the various rules that governed contingency planning at all scales. National Security actually means the protection of anything that is covered by National Emergency legislation; in the UK this falls under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Obviously this is not going to be repealed by the Red Tape Challenge (actually I don’t think anything is, but that’s another matter entirely) as it is at the core of national security legislation. What is particularly interesting are the definitions listed in the Act itself:

19 Meaning of “emergency”

(1)In this Part “emergency” means—

(a)an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in the United Kingdom or in a Part or region,

(b)an event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment of the United Kingdom or of a Part or region, or

(c)war, or terrorism, which threatens serious damage to the security of the United Kingdom.

(2)For the purposes of subsection (1)(a) an event or situation threatens damage to human welfare only if it involves, causes or may cause—

(a)loss of human life,
(b)human illness or injury,
(c)homelessness,
(d)damage to property,
(e)disruption of a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel,
(f)disruption of a system of communication,
(g)disruption of facilities for transport, or
(h)disruption of services relating to health.

(3)For the purposes of subsection (1)(b) an event or situation threatens damage to the environment only if it involves, causes or may cause—

(a)contamination of land, water or air with biological, chemical or radio-active matter, or
(b)disruption or destruction of plant life or animal life.

Ring any bells? Yep, the things related to environmental damage are precisely those that are caused by economic growth, including radioactive matter (hint: Fukushima). Strange also then that is a whole section on the Red Tape Challenge related to the 278 regulations that currently provide at least a bit of protection to the very environment that, were it threatened – say, by a lack of regulation – would be a breach of national security!

Care to take another look at this Mr Cameron, or are you too busy thinking up another business-loving scheme to care?

Posted in Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy | 2 Comments »

International Atomic Energy Agency Spinning Like Crazy!

Posted by keith on 13th March 2011

Courtesy of BBC News website

In the light of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsumani, government and internation agencies are working like crazy to ensure no news remains good news regarding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Yet from the BBC we hear the following:

There are now problems at the number three reactor – the concern is that it is overheating. They’re trying to pump sea water through it at the moment. That’s an unusual, somewhat innovative solution to the problem. But the fact that they’re prepared to consider unusual solutions like that gives you a hint of just how serious the problem is.

This is a very difficult issue for the Japanese government. There has always been concern here about the safety of nuclear power stations, about the wisdom of building nuclear power stations, on which Japan relies hugely for its energy needs, in a country which is so prone to earthquakes.

They’re also aware that they don’t want to cause panic. On Saturday we saw the exclusion zone around this plant gradually increase. First of all it was just a few kilometres, now it’s much wider. But obviously once that exclusion zone is extended, you’ve then got to get the people out. So it’s important, they would say, not to cause unnecessary panic. And that’s why they’re trying to play this down as much as they can.

The World Nuclear Association are being fairly up-front with the facts, albeit holding back on speculation about possible outcomes; thus we read from them:

Operations to relieve pressure in the containment of Fukushima Daiichi 3 have taken place after the failure of a core coolant system.

The news comes one day after the plant’s first reactor was effectively written off as a result of a hydrogen explosion and the move to inject seawater to make certain of cooling the reactor core. Two days ago were the earthquake and tsunami that have proven Japan’s worst ever natural disaster.

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 were in operation at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco’s) east coast power station when the earthquake struck. Three other reactors were already shut for inspection and all three operating units underwent automatic shutdown as expected. Because plant power and grid power were unavailable during the earthquake, diesel generators started automatically to supply power for decay heat removal.

This situation continued for one hour until the plant was hit by the tsunami wave, which stopped the generators and left the plant in black-out conditions. The loss of power meant inevitable rises in temperature within the reactor system as well increases in pressure. Engineers fought for many hours to install mobile power units to replace the diesels and managed to stabilise conditions at units 2 and 3.

However, there was not enough power to provide sufficient coolant to unit 1, which came under greater and greater strain from falling water levels and steady pressure rises. Tepco found it necessary yesterday to vent steam from the reactor containment. Next, the world saw a sharp hydrogen explosion destroy a portion of the reactor building roof. Prime minister Naoto Kan ordered the situation brought under control by the injection of seawater to the reactor vessel.

Now Tepco has reported it has not been able to restart unit 3′s high pressure injection system after an automatic stop. This has left the reactor without sufficient coolant and obligated Tepco to notify government of an emergency situation.

Yet what do we hear from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which purports to speak for the entire nuclear industry and all governments that have nuclear capability:

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that Units 1, 2, and 4 at the Fukushima Daini retain off-site power. Daini Unit 3 is in a safe, cold shutdown, according to Japanese officials.

Even the WNA are incredulous at this statement; their Twitter feed states:

#IAEA quashes reports of problems at #Fukushima Daiichi 3 #nuclear #japan #earthquake

Which leads us to the obvious conclusion that there is a huge cover-up taking place, but failing in part because there is too much obvious contradiction of information. In this situation the best approach is to listen to your nearest equivalent to a trusted news source and not listen to a word emanating from government (Japanese or otherwise) or the IAEA.

Posted in Cover Ups, Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy | 11 Comments »

Sudden Oak Death – It’s News Because It’s Commercial

Posted by keith on 19th January 2011

It’s commonly called Sudden Oak Death, so why the picture of a stand of larch trees? That’s a question well worth asking, but a far more important question is: why has Phytophthora ramorum, the name of the fungus responsible, become such big news in the UK?

Ever since P. ramorum started blowing its way through the great Californian coastal forests in the late 1990s there has, rightly, been great concern for the future of many varieties of oak and other related trees in the western USA; although the impact is so far not as great as some speculators had suggested. Then, in 2010, after some 8 years of the A1 strain of P. ramorum in the wild in the UK, and 6 years or so in other parts of northern Europe including Ireland, the news began to increase at a blistering pace.

In August 2010, a BBC report from Northern Ireland stated:

Whole stands of trees in County Antrim have been killed by a disease known as Sudden Oak Death.

This fungus-like organism attacks anything from larch to rhododendron, and it can devastate wide areas of woodland.

It has already destroyed hundreds of acres of trees in England and Wales and now its here with devastating results.

The accompanying video was suitably doom-laden, using the words: “The effects are devastating, and this didn’t happen overnight…this is more like the set from an environmental disaster movie, because that what it really is – a small environmental disaster.” Now, consider those words “environmental disaster”, and then look at the species that are currently being affected in the UK and Ireland:

In Europe known hosts include the trees and ornamentals described above [all native USA species]. Beech and red oak are the most susceptible tree species so far; infection on these takes the form of extensive bleeding cankers on the trunk. Infected individuals of holm oak (and sweet chestnut have also been reported, but only the foliage is colonised by P. ramorum. With some ornamental species, particularly Rhododendron and Pieris, leaves and shoots are affected, whereas with Viburnum the stem bases are affected.

There is no mention of larch because it was not until 2010 that they began to be affected, possibly through a mutation of the infectious agent. Not entirely coincidentally, it was not until 2010 that Sudden Oak Death became big news in the UK. The reason for this is made very clear for anyone who cares to read the Forestry Commission web pages:

However, few trees in the UK were affected until 2009, when P. ramorum was found infecting and killing large numbers of Japanese larch trees in South West England. Then in 2010 it was found on Japanese larches in Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

This sudden change in the pathogen’s behaviour was the first time in the world that P. ramorum had infected and sporulated (reproduced) on large numbers of a commercially important conifer tree species. It was also an unexpected setback to efforts to tackle ramorum disease.

We and our partners have moved quickly to respond to this development. Full details about the pathogen and what’s being done to research it, minimise its impact, and support affected woodland owners are available at the links on this page.

I didn’t start investigating this until today; yesterday I was walking through an avenue of lime trees in my village wondering, with great dispondancy, why the news of Sudden Oak Death had hit me so hard, possibly harder than anything in the last year. I felt that there was nothing at all I could do, I guess. Today I am angry, both with myself for allowing myself to slip into such a deep funk, and with the mass media for taking the bait about this “environmental disaster” hook, line and sinker.

Sudden Oak Death in Europe may be something to be concerned about, but no more than hundreds of other threats to the natural environment, such as water pollution from arable fields, the loss of insect habitats from the same arable fields due to intensive agriculture and the use of broad-spectrum “pest” killers, and the sell-off of vast areas of ostensibly public woodland to commercial interests. The same commercial interests who would love to rip up the varied habitat and plant out great tracts of pine, spruce and larch.

Ay! There’s the rub.

The “shocking” news of larch woodland being grubbed up in south-west England, described in armageddon-like tones – the same tones that gave me such a miserable sense of loss:

no-one is sure where it will travel next.

Alison Field, regional director for the Forestry Commission in the south west, said: “We’re worried because this is one disease, will there be another?

“And what might we expect with the changing climate, the warmth of the summers, the cold winters, the wetter summers of the future?”

The Forestry Commission is the commercial forestry arm of the UK government. This scaremongering is drawing attention to a disease that is commercially harmful; the outcome, the government and the large timber companies hope, is to make people fear for the future of all woodland, thus allowing huge amounts of money to be pumped into protecting commercial plantations.

Professor David Gowing of the Open University puts SOD into a far more sober context than the shrill media outpourings of recent weeks:

“Sudden Oak Death is not known to affect either of our native oaks, so the name gives the wrong impression to the UK public. In fact it does not currently appear to threaten any of our native trees, so from a nature-conservation perspective, it is not a concern at the moment.

“Indeed some conservationists may see a potential benefit because Rhododendron ponticum, the scourge of woody habitats in the west of Britain, seems to be its preferred host in this country.

“Foresters have valid concerns, however, because the fungus which is responsible for the disease, Phytophthera ramorum, is becoming prevalent on Japanese larch, which is an important commercial species – but no larch species are native to Britain.

“The other tree species reported to have contracted the disease in the UK include sycamore, horse chestnut, sweet chestnut and beech, all of which are considered non-native and may have succumbed to disease following the run of cool, damp summers in 2007-2009.

“Hopefully our native species will prove to be better adapted to such conditions and will keep the fungus at bay.”

The saddest part of this is that a syndrome that could actually kill off huge humbers of oak trees – far more than Sudden Oak Death – is being ignored. Acute Oak Decline is something that, if you live in the UK, you will have definitely seen the effect of: leafless oak trees standing like giant naked sentinels in the middle of the fields they once dominated, and blessed with their sprawling, teeming green canopies. Yet this causes barely a ripple in the media – 4 stories on the entire BBC News archive, as compared to 49 stories about Sudden Oak Death – because commerce just isn’t interested, and thus the government just isn’t interested.

The moral of this sad tale of twisted priorities is thus: if you want to make an environmental story big, make sure it’s also a commercial story.

Posted in Government Policies, Media Hypocrisy, Political Hypocrisy | 1 Comment »

The Unsuitablog’s Worst of 2010

Posted by keith on 4th January 2011

Taking a cue from all the awards and “looking back on”s going on at the moment, it seems like just the right time to pick the very worst ethical hypocrites of 2010. Taking the year as a whole, there is a huge selection to choose from even when just looking at the pages of The Unsuitablog; and that’s going to be the focus – I could reach out to other places but I think that just throwing a few darts at a board of corporate logos is far less instructive than looking into the dark recesses of near history and seeing what can be pulled out of the grime for a further airing.

Best of all, it gives me the chance to have one more pop at those offenders who really deserve a second go at.

Worst Large Company

Lockheed Martin would deserve this award for merely having the word “responsible” anywhere on their website, but as we found out in June, it seemed that one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world had undergone a complete logic transplant.

LOCKHEED MARTIN ANNOUNCES NEW GREEN INITIATIVES FOR 140,000 EMPLOYEES, THEIR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES

BETHESDA, Md. – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today announced new green initiatives to reach its 140,000 employees, their families and communities. The orchestrated effort is rolling out in conjunction with National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), the largest organized environmental education event in the United States.

Held each year during the week before Earth Day, EE Week coordinates environmental education outreach nationwide to increase Earth Day’s impact. Lockheed Martin will celebrate EE Week and Earth Day by introducing several new company-wide employee initiatives to encourage environmentally-friendly behavior at work, at home and in local communities.

“At Lockheed Martin, it is our goal to raise awareness of natural resource conservation and to help our employees take an active role in their communities,” said Dr. David J.C. Constable, vice president, Lockheed Martin Energy, Environment, Safety & Health. “With the reach of our organization’s network, we have the opportunity to inspire hundreds of thousands of individuals – starting with our employees, their families and communities – so that as a corporation, we can make a big impact one small action at a time.”

The only response I could make was a video spoof, which still hasn’t been seen enough. It seems like a suitable enough prize for this video to be posted as far and wide as possible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRfGzFMypIk

Worst Small Company

Cairn Energy is not a very small company, but compared to the other players in their sector (oil and gas) they are just a baby. Yet, for all their size, they seem to have become experts at pissing off communities and exploiting pristine environments that put even the oil giants to shame. Their efforts in greenwashing are similarly spectacular:

Below is a verbatim lift from the Corporate Responsibility page on the website of Cairn Energy. I have just highlighted the one key point that you must bear in mind when reading:

Cairn’s strategy is to deliver shareholder value through establishing commercial reserves in high potential exploration plays in various parts of the world. In implementing this strategy, the Group focuses on conducting all of its activities in a responsible manner.

Human Rights
Cairn recognises the importance of human rights. In Rajasthan, for example, we apply a ‘Rights Aware’ approach to safeguard the local community’s right to water in an area with limited water resources while accessing the water required to support our operations.

Environmental Impact
Cairn recognises that its exploration, development and production activities can have an impact on the environment. Some of Cairn’s exploration and production acreage lies in areas of environmental significance. Cairn recognises its responsibilities and focuses on the avoidance of negative impacts on the environment during its operations.

Climate Change
Activities involved in our operations, such as power generation, flaring, venting and transportation, produce emissions to air, including methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), two gases recognised as greenhouse gases (GHG). The burning of oil and gas, our primary products, also produces GHG emissions. Climate change is a complex issue with many causes both natural and due to human activity. We acknowledge that there is a growing consensus about the extent and effect of global warming. Energy is essential to social and economic progress but we recognise that we have a responsibility to take a precautionary approach to climate change. At all times, we seek to minimise GHG emissions from our operations.

People and Planet have a slightly different viewpoint:

A slide within Cairn’s presentations on Arctic oil exploration shows the melting Arctic ice. Reduced heavy sea ice makes exploration work easier around Cairn’s two most “promising” licences, off Disko Island – an area frequently visited by those inspecting the impacts of climate change first hand. What Cairn Energy views as an opportunity, Greenland’s Inuit population experience as a threat to their very survival and are increasingly vocal about the impacts which climate change is already having on them.

The prize is a free-of-charge rebranding.

Worst Industry Front

The American Petroleum Institute is a long established front for, well, the American petroleum industry, and have a strong pedigree in producing all sorts of highly damaging misinformation for the benefit of the American public. In September, the API went all Tea Party – a prime audience for their rhetoric – in organising a series of rallies against oil industry regulation, apparently to benefit the general public.

Just in from Public Citizen is a report on a series of rallies around the USA which are being organised by the American Petroleum Institute (API) on behalf of the oil industry. Here is the report:

Today marks the start of rallies across the country organized by the oil and gas industry to block Congress from passing much-needed measures to address problems that came to light during the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), which is organizing the events in Texas, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico and Colorado, claims to speak not only for industry workers but for “countless consumers” who are concerned about the proposals.

By staging these rallies, API is trying to distort public perception. In fact, people want the government to ensure that another BP oil disaster never happens again. Lawmakers would be derelict in their duty if they didn’t respond to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Last summer, API President Jack Gerard sent a memo to API member groups that laid out a plan to create astroturf rallies as a tactic to oppose climate change legislation. The memo asked recipients to give API “the name of one central coordinator for your company’s involvement in the rallies.” And it warned: “Please treat this information as sensitive … we don’t want critics to know our game plan.”

The astroturfing is pretty blatant, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see API banners at the rallies; but just in case the links aren’t clear, the rallies are being organised under the banner “Rally For Jobs”, which is coincidentally the current headline graphic on the API web site. If you go to the “partners” page on the Rally For Jobs website then the American Petroleum Institute are there, standing in pride of place.

Their prize, in recognition of their phony “people power” is for all of you to go and buy yourselves a decent pair of shoes, and start walking instead of driving. Who knows, you might even meet some real people.

Worst Charity or NGO

Conservation International easily take the prize for being both the largest and the most corporate-friendly “environmental” organisation around. In 2010 they continued their romp with business by launching Team Earth; an astroturf with a twist, for it pretends that corporations can play nicely with the public.

One is tempted to abandon the idea that NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) have any part to play in the removal of destructive actions upon the natural world. I think that’s a fair assumption. None of the NGOs come out of this well, not even the apparently “radical” ones like Greenpeace and RAN who are still batting on the side of industrial civilization; but if you had to choose which ones to really steer clear of, and relentlessly attack and expose, a surefire way of choosing is to look for the names of “Corporate Partners”.

If an NGO partners, or receives money from a corporation, then thay are not to be trusted.

Here is one excellent example, that I found while trawling the web:

Team Earth is all of us, working together to make our world a place of clean air, fresh water, plentiful resources and a stable climate, today and far into the future. Team Earth is companies, schools, non-profits, you, your family and friends – everyone who wants to help make sure the Earth is healthy enough to support us all.

This is straight out of the corporate style book; almost excruciating in its “Hey guys, let’s put on a show, right here!” mentality. Alarm bells! Scroll down a few lines and the rationale becomes clear:

Who’s on the Team?

You. Me. The neighbors down the block. Your boss. Parents and kids across the country. People in big cities and small towns.

We are companies like Starbucks and Wrigley. Students and teachers in thousands of classrooms and schools.

Nice bit of community togetherness, and then “WE are companies” – you might be “on the team” but “Team Earth” is a group of companies who are greenwashing as though their survival depends upon it.

Another prize of a free corporate rebranding for Conservation International, or rather Corporation International.

Worst “Environmental” Campaign

So many to choose from with so many awful disasters and civilization-made catastrophes happening in 2010, but my personal choice was the unspeakably crass video produced by the 10:10 team in the UK. Now I’m all for tough messages, but the idea of blowing people to smithereens because they didn’t agree with the specific message espouced by the 10:10 Organisation (yes, the organisation that uses military style dog-tags as a branding opportunity) really pissed me off.

It also pissed off mobbsey on the Powershift forum, who stated beautifully:

This is just sick; not the fake blood (cinematic suicide bomber chic?), but the whole belief in piffling measures like low energy lights and the like as being the way we can cut emissions. We have to offer a vision outside of the present consumer paradigm that encourages a shift in lifestyle rather than the substitution of existing consumption trends. Actions like this are a simplistic exhortation to change brand or product, not to change the nature of the human system and its impacts on the biosphere. And if, in the rhetoric of “10:10″, this is just something easy to get people interested, that’s absurd too — a lot of recent work on issues around behavioural economics demonstrate that such incantations to change only work where the change is insignificant or equivalent, but fail when it requires a real and difficult realignment of lifestyle patterns.

A prize of some blood-soaked 10:10 tags is very, very appropriate.

Worst Politician / Government

Up to the end of 2010 there were so many dodgy politicians to choose from that I would probably have had to call stalemate on this award. Then WikiLeaks released Cablegate, and the military-industrial politicians spoke as one in their condemnation of…not the crap and hypocrisy revealed in the cables, but the fact that the cables were released at all. In a scramble to be the most shrill commentator of all, few topped Sarah Palin’s claim than Julian Assange was “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands”, although various US and Canadian politicians did manage to suggest that a mass cull of everyone involved in WikiLeaks would be of benefit to humankind.

So, in tribute to the efforts of this august institution (WikiLeaks, not world government) the award goes to every politician who suggested violence in the face of freedom of speech in 2010.

The prize is a few more people mirroring the WikiLeaks website, copying the Insurance file for safekeeping, and sending on a few choice leaks to a site of your choice (EnviroLeaks is your friend).

Worst Religious Hypocrisy

It was going quite well in the religious world until Christmas, with even the Pope railing against environmental damage, and all sorts of religious institutions helping in community efforts. And then that hardy annual Operation Christmas Child came along to spoil the party of every poor child who doesn’t want Christian Evangelism shoved in their faces. Where help is concerned, missionaries have never exactly been on the side of the unconverted, but OCC are taking it to a level not seen since the Crusades:

I’d like to share with you just one story about what God did in a little village in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mimbulu is a collection of mud-brick houses and thatched huts with no electricity or running water. Most of the villagers are subsistence farmers living on far less than $1 a day. You can imagine how happy and excited the children were when our team handed out shoe box gifts from Operation Christmas Child. Later, hundreds of girls and boys signed up for our Discipleship Program, and most of them made commitments to Jesus Christ through the Bible study course.

Traditional religions and occult practices are common in this part of Africa, but many people in Mimbulu have been delivered from spiritual darkness as a result of this evangelistic outreach. Three girls, all under the age of 10, confessed to being involved in witchcraft, repented of their sins, and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. One cult leader, after reading his son’s Bible lessons, renounced his false religion and surrendered his life to the Lord. Other adults turned to Christ at the graduation ceremony where they heard their children recite Scripture and listened to a pastor preach the Gospel.

The Lord is doing great things in Mimbulu, and we give Him all the glory!

We treat every single gift box as a Gospel opportunity. That’s why prayer is the most important thing we ask people to do when they pack their shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We want each person to pray for the child who receives the box and ask God to touch that child’s heart. That’s where the real power of Operation Christmas Child lies—in God’s answers to those millions of heartfelt prayers.

Another appropriate rebranding for Operation Christmas Child, along with a bonus prize of hundreds of parents raising serious complaints with their children’s schools in 2011 should the brainwashing boxes be suggested.

Operation Christmas Child convert christian samaritan's purse

The “Too Naive To Understand” Award for Accidental Hypocrisy

Sometimes The Unsuitablog is a bit too successful, but rarely do I ever feel sorry for one of the targets. In May the Green Youth Movement was soundly berated for its sloppy attitude to environmentalism; being dressed up as the kind of thing you can “do” as part of your hectic Beverley Hills lifestyle.

I have met some incredible young people with vision, passion and the willingness to stick two fingers up at the system in order to create some kind of change. I have learnt from some young people what it feels like to be a concerned person in a society that values shopping, celebrity and vacations above the fundamental need to have a functioning ecosystem. I have seen young people cry – including my own children – at the thought that certain types of humans are capable of such horrific acts in the pursuit of wealth and status. Oh, that I had such knowledge at such an early age – what could I have done by now?

Well, if I had been Ally Maize, I could have got to meet Miley Cyrus, Renee Zellweger and that prime example of eco-conscious thinking, Paris Hilton. I could also, as per the above introduction to GYM, have become utterly deluded that small, superficial actions create big change; adopted the lie that politicians have any part to play in a sustainable future; in order to alienate part of my audience entirely, I would have referred to “teens” as “young children”; and finally, I would have got my parents to by me an electric car for when I passed my driving test – well, she does live in Beverley Hills…

The attack was justified on the basis that GYM hired a PR company to pump up its image – then I found out that the parents of Ally Maize were far worse than Ally herself (see the comments below the article). Too late: GYM was dead in the water, or as near as dammit. A good thing too, because if we are to bring the next generations along in the fight for environmental justice, the last thing we should be telling them is that it’s ok to just do little things.

I can’t present Ally Maize with a sense of modesty, but I think perhaps the magic curtain has been lifted a little for one deluded person. That’s reward in itself.

The “Cannibalism” Award for Self-Destruction of the Environmental Movement

Anyone who says the Environmental Movement is growing is a fool. There is no one “movement”, and even if there is something resembling a movement then it’s so diluted as to be completely ineffective. When an organisation comes along and brands itself in such a way as to imply it has all the answers, then you should expect it to be pretty damn good.

350.org are pretty damn something, but it’s not good:

Not a week goes by without some campaign or other being launched to prevent environmental destruction, or make efforts to put right that destruction. The vast, vast majority of these campaigns are based upon the same “logic” as the vast, vast majority of people who make comments to newspapers or television stations: this is the system we have, so we have no choice but to make it behave itself as best it can. That, of course, is bullshit.

As I have written time and time again, it is an utterly pointless task trying to make Industrial Civilization sustainable or “environmentally friendly”, because the nature of civilization is to destroy, to take what it wants to achieve its aims and only stop when it runs out of energy, people or space. It only stops when it collapses – it never stops of its own accord.

The mainstream environmental movement has never got this, and never will, because its very existence depends on the support of a large number of people both for income and staffing. It also depends on the good will of the system itself, that permits it to protest peacefully, speak freely and generally operate within the Law of the Land. There is an invisible line that separates the words and deeds of the mainstream from the words and deeds of the “extremist”; that same line separates that which is pointless, ineffective action from that which will actually achieve the kind of change humanity requires in order to survive.

This line is never crossed.

If you want to see this entire movement in microcosm, look no further than 350.org and the work they do which has come, in recent months, to define environmental symbolism.

350 parts per million – their lodestone number – is too high to prevent the Earth continuing to warm. The symbolic action, particularly the appeals to politicians, is not just pointless – it is extremely divisive. Symbolic action in defence of a dying planet is like a Band Aid on an amputation. 350.org should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating such a dangerous idea.

But they aren’t, because they think they are right – they have become too big.

The best prize for them is a real movement of people who get things done, and don’t accept compromise. We will see this in 2011; mark my words.

Posted in Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, Cover Ups, Government Policies, NGO Hypocrisy, Political Hypocrisy, Religious Hypocrisy, Should Know Better, Sponsorship, Symbolic Action | No Comments »

McDonald’s and PepsiCo to Help Write UK Health Policy

Posted by keith on 15th November 2010

This article from The Guardian will come as no surprise to anyone who watches how much food companies and supermarkets are allowed to influence public education in the UK. What might come as a surprise is how blatant the level of influence is – in the words of the UK government:

“A ‘Responsibility Deal’ is a Conservative response to societal challenges which we know can’t be
solved by regulation and legislation alone. It’s a partnership between Government and business that
balances proportionate regulation with corporate responsibility.”

Proportionate Regulation, means very little regulation at all; Corporate Responsibility means business as usual…

The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald’s and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, the Guardian has learned.

In an overhaul of public health, said by campaign groups to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry, health secretary Andrew Lansley has set up five “responsibility deal” networks with business, co-chaired by ministers, to come up with policies. Some of these are expected to be used in the public health white paper due in the next month.

The groups are dominated by food and alcohol industry members, who have been invited to suggest measures to tackle public health crises. Working alongside them are public interest health and consumer groups including Which?, Cancer Research UK and the Faculty of Public Health. The alcohol responsibility deal network is chaired by the head of the lobby group the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. The food network to tackle diet and health problems includes processed food manufacturers, fast food companies, and Compass, the catering company famously pilloried by Jamie Oliver for its school menus of turkey twizzlers. The food deal’s sub-group on calories is chaired by PepsiCo, owner of Walkers crisps.

The leading supermarkets are an equally strong presence, while the responsibility deal’s physical activity group is chaired by the Fitness Industry Association, which is the lobby group for private gyms and personal trainers.

In early meetings, these commercial partners have been invited to draft priorities and identify barriers, such as EU legislation, that they would like removed. They have been assured by Lansley that he wants to explore voluntary not regulatory approaches, and to support them in removing obstacles. Using the pricing of food or alcohol to change consumption has been ruled out. One group was told that the health department did not want to lead, but rather hear from its members what should be done.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, the leading liver specialist and until recently president of the Royal College of Physicians, said he was very concerned by the emphasis on voluntary partnerships with industry. A member of the alcohol responsibility deal network, Gilmore said he had decided to co-operate, but he doubted whether there could be “a meaningful convergence between the interests of industry and public health since the priority of the drinks industry was to make money for shareholders while public health demanded a cut in consumption”.

He said: “On alcohol there is undoubtedly a need for regulation on price, availability and marketing and there is a risk that discussions will be deflected away from regulation that is likely to be effective but would affect sales. On food labelling we have listened too much to the supermarkets rather than going for traffic lights [warnings] which health experts recommend.” Employers are being asked to take on more responsibility for employees in a fourth health at work deal. The fifth network is charged with changing behaviour, and is chaired by the National Heart Forum. This group is likely to be working with the new Cabinet Office behavioural insight unit, which is exploring ways of making people change their behaviour without new laws.

Lansley’s public health reforms are seen as a test case for wider Conservative policies on replacing state intervention with private and corporate action.

While public interest groups are taking part in drawing up the deals, many have argued that robust regulation is needed to deal with junk food and alcohol misuse.

The Faculty of Public Health, represented on several of the deal networks, has called for a ban on trans fats and minimum alcohol pricing. Professor Lindsey Davies, FPH president, said: “We are hopeful that engaging with the food industry will lead to changes in the quality and healthiness of the products we and our children eat. It is possible to make progress on issues such as salt reduction through voluntary agreements, and we’re keeping an open mind until we see what comes out of the meetings, but we do think that there is still a role for regulation.”

Responding to criticism that industry was too prominent in the plans, the Department of Health said: “We are constantly in touch with expert bodies, including those in the public health field, to help inform all our work. For the forthcoming public health white paper we’ve engaged a wide range of people, as we are also doing to help us develop the responsibility deal drawn from business, the voluntary sector, other non-governmental organisations, local government, as well as public health bodies. A diverse range of experts are also involved.”

He added that the government wanted to improve public health through voluntary agreements with business and other partners, rather than through regulation or top-down lectures because it believed this approach would be far more effective and ambitious than previous efforts.

An over-arching board, chaired by Lansley, has been set up to oversee the work of the five responsibility deal networks, with representatives of local government and a regional health director – but it too is dominated by the food, alcohol, advertising and retail industries. Gilmore called for a better balance of commercial interests and independent experts on it.

Other experts have also expressed concern at Lansley’s approach. Professor Tim Lang, a member of the government’s advisory committee on obesity, doubted the food and drink industry’s ability to regulate itself. “In public health, the track record of industry has not been good. Obesity is a systemic problem, and industry is locked into thinking of its own narrow interests,” said Lang.

“I am deeply troubled to be sent signals from the secretary of state about working ‘with business’ and that any action has got to be soft ‘nudge’ action.”

Jeanette Longfield, head of the food campaign group Sustain, said: “This is the equivalent of putting the tobacco industry in charge of smoke-free spaces. We know this ‘let’s all get round the table approach’ doesn’t work, because we’ve all tried it before, including the last Conservative government. This isn’t ‘big society’, it’s big business.”

Posted in Government Policies, Political Hypocrisy, Sponsorship | No Comments »

BT Adastral Plan Wipes Out “Green” Promises At A Stroke

Posted by keith on 12th November 2010

Adastral Park is part of BT’s (formerly British Telecom) Martlesham Heath technology complex, a combination of defence research laboratory and industrial park, situated close to the busy Suffolk town of Ipswich, and adjacent to a large area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You can find Adastral Park by going to their website, which isn’t very well designed, but is replete with stories about how the staff of Adastral are playing such a big part in keeping the Suffolk coast clean and tidy. This is no coincidence, because when you have so many technology companies on site, dependent on your ignorance of global environmental and human rights issues for their success, then it’s always good to keep casual viewers thinking about nice things.

BT, who own the site, make a huge deal about their environmental credentials, with “Sustainable Business” (there’s an anachronism) right on the front page of their corporate web site, and the following headline statement:

As a company, we are always looking for ways to minimise our impact on the environment.

Indeed, we are very proud of our environmental management track record having set our first carbon reduction target back in 1992.

Now we’re committed to reducing the carbon intensity of our global business by 80 per cent by 2020 – so far we have achieved a 54 per cent reduction by becoming more energy efficient and by increasing our use of renewable energy.

Ah, that phrase “carbon intensity” – used worldwide by expanding economies and companies to pretend they are reducing their net emissions – but let’s ignore that one, because among their many other commitments are included all sorts of schemes for reducing carbon emissions within the business and their products, as well as their data centres. One thing missing, though, seems to be impact on habitat: I wonder why that can be:

A bit of history.

The GPO moved its research centre from Dollis Hill to what is now Adastral Park in the late sixties. One of the main attractions of the site was the amount of flat open land in the area which was essential for radio testing.

Over many years BT have put forward various proposals and plans to expand the business park activities. Nine years ago the first amendment to the Local Plan (dated June 2001) created a framework for expanding the business park but they did not link it to building any residential housing on the site. At the time BT forecast 3000-3500 additional jobs by about 2010 – but in reality we believe there are probably fewer people employed on the site now than in 2001.

As recently as 2007 BT said that they could develop the business park without the need for the income from selling land for housing.

The BT land

Despite what is said in the LDF and various BT documents the open land outside the BT fence IS greenfield. Farming is still carried out on some of it, and a license has been granted for mineral extraction on part. However that license requires that the land be returned to farming at the end of the extraction – the existence of extraction does not mean that it is no longer technically greenfield land.

At its closest the site comes within 88 metres of an AONB, and there are several sites of special status close by, which are home to protected species – eg Newbourne Springs. The new development will increase the local population by about 4,800 people, placing an unnecessary burden on these valuable protected wildlife sites. Proposals to employ a warden will not stop people visiting.

As recently as 2006, SCDC rejected a planning application for 120 log cabins on a site next to Waldringfield Road. The rejection was on the grounds that it was too near the AONB etc, and would result in an unacceptable increase in visitor numbers to those sensitive areas. BT objected to this application

In October 2008 BT wrote to the East of England Regional Assembly in response to a request for landowners to put forward further land for housing up to 2031. BT responded to this request by saying that their site could potentially accommodate up to 3000 – 3500 houses in total – ie around 8500 people – it is inconceivable that this many people would not a have major impact on the nearby natural areas.

That slice of information is from the No Adastral New Town campaign group, who seem to be a bit of a lone voice in protesting against the “development” (i.e. killing off) of a major slice of Suffolk countryside in order to satisfy the perceived need for new housing. Yet, according to Empty Homes, there were about 1,500 empty homes in Ipswich in 2008, along with nearly 1,700 more empty homes in the adjacent Suffolk Coastal district. Bear in mind also, that the projections for new homes are heavily influenced by the lobbying of housing developers, and also the organisations upon whose land the houses could be built upon, and you get a situation which is completely absurd: no new houses needed whatsoever, in reality.

But BT can make a heck of a lot of money out of this, so they are only too willing to toss aside any weasel words (apologies to weasels) they say about their “green” business commitments if it means a hefty amount of money in the company coffers.

If you live anywhere near this area, then please get in touch with the campaign group (more details here) or just go it alone and let everyone know what hypocrites BT and Suffolk Coastal District Council really are.

Posted in Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, Government Policies, Public Sector Hypocrisy | 1 Comment »