The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Greenloons: Ecotourism is the New Blindfold

Posted by keith on September 13th, 2011

Now that the Unsuitablog is taking a more occasional view of ethical hypocrisy (short for, “I really don’t have the time for all this!”) it takes a very special email or advert to make it to the blog. Most of them end up in my junk folder, but some of them sneak into my inbox, which usually means I haven’t heard from the agency or company in question before. So imagine my delight when something from Greenloons popped up the other day, and made me angry all over, just like the early days when I wasn’t so innured from hypocrisy. It deserves to be published in its entirety:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Eco Trailblazer Greenloons Guides Families to International Rainforests with Emphasis on Educational / Sustainable Vacations

Top Five Recommendations Span Globe for Certified Green Eco Adventures

Vienna, VA, Sept. 7 – Eco trailblazer Greenloons http://www.greenloons.com/ guides families to international rainforests that are inclusive of sustainable vacation opportunities. Its top five recommendations spanning the globe offer green eco adventures that are certified by leading third party sources.

Irene Lane, Greenloons founder, believes it’s never to early to introduce children to the “lungs of the planet”, the world’s rainforests covering less than two percent of the earth’s total surface area but are home to 50 percent of its plants and animals.

“Because rainforests are disappearing at a rate of more than 56,000 square miles each year, it’s crucial for kids to learn about how important these environments are to their everyday lives,” Lane said. “Through extensive research, we are able to offer unique family travel experiences where young and old can connect at a deeper level in a sustainable manner with the places they are visiting.”

Greenloons top rainforest destinations for families include Costa Rica, Peru, Madagascar, Borneo and Australia.

Costa Rica – Rainforest Adventure focuses on Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula that protects such endangered species (showcased by a local guide) as jaguar, puma, crocodile, tapir, poison dart frog, scarlet macaw and harpy eagle. Local beaches are major nesting sites for several varieties of sea turtles. Roundtrip ground transfers are by private taxi from Puerto Jimenez served by daily flights from Costa Rica’s Tobias Bolaños International airport in San Jose. Packages are 5 days/4 nights starting at $690 per person with year-round open scheduling.

Peru – Exploring the Amazon Rainforest showcases the world’s largest tropical rainforest with the world’s second longest river, the Amazon. A motorized canoe down the Peruvian Amazon in the Tambopata National Reserve can reveal, among other wildlife, giant otters. The Tambopata Research Center has exclusive access to untouched Amazonian forests; a local naturalist introduces ongoing projects that include visiting the world’s largest macaw clay lick. Five day/4 night trips for $999 per person depart year-round with flexible, open scheduling.

Madagascar
– Madagascar Experience encompasses an eco-system so isolated and unusual that scientists call it “the eighth continent.” The rainforests of the Atsinanana encompass six national parks that protect the large Indri lemur, tenrec, fanaloka and aye-aye. The ancient town of Antsirable transitions guests around volcanic lakes from upland rainforests to the semi-arid landscape of Isalo. The 10 day/9 night packages start at $1599 with monthly scheduled departures year-round.

Borneo – Borneo Family Adventure includes village home stays at Kinabatangan Jungle Camp and rainforest camping in tropical Sabah, part of the rainforests of Asia stretching from India and Burma in the west to Malaysia and the islands of Java and Borneo in the east. In addition to spotting macaques, proboscis monkeys, crocodiles and perhaps wild orangutans, guests visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and meet orphaned orangutans. Elevenday/10 night trips start at $1375 for adults with departures in January, April, July, August, October and December.

Australia – Fraser Island & Reef Experience opens up the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island World Heritage Site, the only place in the world where along Yidney Rainforest trails and growing on sand dunes at high elevations are towering pines, rainforest trees with giant girths, rare and ancient giant ferns, eucalypt forests, lemon-scented swamp vegetation and dwarfed heathland shrubs covered in a profusion of flowers. On the water side in addition to snorkeling guests may see shipwrecks, sharks, dolphins and manta rays at Indian Head. Six day/5 night trips are offered year-round. Call Greenloons for pricing (703.752.6270).

About Greenloons:

Greenloons (http://www.greenloons.com/) guides families to travel experiences managed by certified third-party suppliers engaged in eco- and sustainable tourism. Lane founded Greenloons in 2010 for the global community of nature enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists interested in accessing detailed and reliable information about responsible, sustainable and certified ecotourism travel vacations both in the US and abroad.

Greenloons is a first-of-its-kind online resource aimed at answering the growing need for accredited eco-tours and sustainable holiday travel in the tourism industry. Greenloons.com provides ecotourism education, news, comparable certified ecotour and volunteer conservation program listings, tour reviews and booking services, plus a forum for the community to share its personal vacation stories and tips for establishing ecotourism in any corner of the world.

# # #

For photos and/or more information on how Greenloons is making a difference please contact:

Sara Widness / 802-234-6704 / sara@widnesspr.com
Dave Wiggins / 303-554-8821 / dave@travelnewssource.com
Website and Portfolio of Past Releases: http://www.travelnewssource.com/
Follow Widness & Wiggins PR on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/BoulderDave

Greenloons Company Contact:
Irene Lane / 703.752.6270 / irene@greenloons.com / http://www.greenloons.com/

Now, forgive me if I’m being stupid, but I had a lovely trip to the isle of Skye recently, which consisted of a 1 hour bus journey followed by about 7 hours on a couple of trains and a 30 minute ferry. I walked to the camp site. The environment in which I was camping, with a few others, and learning some useful bushcraft skills to boot, was beautiful. The journey was equally stunning. The total distance travelled: about 250 miles, which I thought was about far enough. Recently I wrote an article on The Earth Blog called, “Finding My Limit” which emphasised the importance of searching out and making the most of that which is close to you.

Such inconsequential places, and such seemingly trivial reasons to go there. Just a few words, a bite to eat, a passing smile, a friendship reignited, a love on fire. We ignore these local places because the civilized world insists that our boundaries are distant, we can achieve anything, we have no limits. The Diaspora of our mechanised, electrical, money-soaked commercial excesses has, indeed, reached round so far it hits itself on the back, and screeches past to take another lap of the little blue-green dot we live on. In universal terms Earth is a dot. In human terms it is all we can ever intimately know as a species, and as I look out of my window I can see – what? – a few hundred metres; a couple of miles if I get up high.

Why go further when what really make our days go round are those apparently inconsequential dealings with the things that are so close to us? Yet we choose to ignore them because there is a bigger world out there. I refuse to accept that and choose the places I can walk to, run through and, if I really want to open my mind up, cycle there and back. That is my limit; all I can really know, and love, and nurture.

Ecotourism is a contradiction. “Tourism” is about travel for travel’s sake – the culturally imposed “need” to explore at leisure simply because something is there. “Eco” implies ecology and the tight network within which all life is entwined. The two simply cannot go together, except in the minds of a capitalist, bent on making us believe you can have it all.

Let’s look at the quotation from Irene Lane again:

“Because rainforests are disappearing at a rate of more than 56,000 square miles each year, it’s crucial for kids to learn about how important these environments are to their everyday lives,” Lane said. “Through extensive research, we are able to offer unique family travel experiences where young and old can connect at a deeper level in a sustainable manner with the places they are visiting.”

The mass of contradictions in this statement is mind-boggling. Irene is talking about places thousands of miles away, yet she talks about the need to “connect…in a sustainable manner”. Is she implying that we can only make deep connections with places that are in exotic locations – for that is what the sales pitch seems to be implying? And does she really expect us to believe that a composting toilet and a faux-native tour justify the burning of hundreds of gallons of aviation fuel and diesel. And what about the “Because rainforests are disappearing at a rate of more than 56,000 square miles each year”? This sounds like a “see it before it’s gone” appeal.

Am I being too cynical?

Well, let’s look at a quotation from their website to check my cynicism out:

“We know that it is impossible to have a 100% carbon-offset vacation – we are humans after all!”

This is in the context of explaining how carbon offsets are used to make the travel distances no problem at all, apart from the few percent left over because “we are humans after all!” Sorry? No one forced you to travel those thousands of miles across oceans and continents. No one but civilized humans would do that. And that’s the real kicker: Irene Lane is conflating the destructive habits of civilized humanity to the whole of the human race. We do not push crap into the atmosphere because we are human; we push crap into the atmosphere because we are civilized humans, brainwashed by people like Irene Lane into thinking that it’s ok to go to Borneo, Madagascar, Australia and even Antarctica for our “eco” vacations.

The saddest irony of all is loons, an order of birds chosen to represent a migratory person that lives lightly on the land, require a pristine, food-rich marine environment to survive. The same environments that the Deepwater Horizon oil leak devastated in July 2011, and the Exxon Valdez crash coated in a thick blanket of oil in March 1989. Now what was that oil being drilled for and transported I wonder?

Posted in Adverts, Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy, Offsetting | 3 Comments »

English School Embraces iPads, Apple and Techno Brainwashing

Posted by keith on August 30th, 2011

There is a rule in civilized society that goes something like this: Whenever something is compulsory then it must have something wrong with it. We see it all the time, in the school system and it’s one-size-fits-all approach to child indoctrination; in the application of statutory rules that are essentially corporate policies; in the forced registration and noting of people and everything associated with them – compulsion is rampant within civilization because if it weren’t then people might do whatever they liked, and that would be a terrible blow to the economy and the power of the ruling minority.

Such is the micro-management taking place in every aspect of our lives, that it comes as little surprise when a new compulsion is introduced, and a great surprise when any genuine freedom is granted. One such new compulsion, or so it seems, that only briefly caused a ripple – and then possibly only because of a fear of increased access to pornography – was a new scheme introduced by Longfield Academy in Dartford, Kent. Essentially, every student (of state-sponsored indoctrination) will be given an iPad, which would be used to, in the school’s own words: “revolutionise learning in the new Academy and at home”. There is little about this idea that doesn’t make my skin creep, and the creeping becomes more intense as you delve deeper into the details.

The otherwise abhorrant Daily Mail was refreshingly candid in the headline to the story that broke in July, 2011: “School orders parents to buy their children a £600 iPad2″. It went on:

A school came under fire yesterday for forcing its parents to buy a £600 iPad2 for their children. Teachers at Longfield Academy, in Dartford, Kent, have succumbed to the current technology trend and are bulk-buying 1,400 of the touchscreen computer tablets made by Apple. From September the school will require all pupils to have one and are installing interactive whiteboards that link to the iPads.

Parents will have to splash out £16 a month, for three years, for the iPads – equivalent to £576. The total cost to parents at the school will be a staggering £806,400. The move by Longfield, a school for pupils aged 11 to 18, is the first of its kind in England, but hundreds of schools could follow suit as it has been revealed that some 500 are poised to adopt a similar scheme with digital education charity, e-learning Foundation.

Experts yesterday criticised Longfield for piling pressure on cash-strapped parents to pay for the ‘toy’. They questioned the school’s desire to use iPads as an educational tool – saying they were more suited to watching movies, surfing the internet and playing music.

And they warned that it will lead to an increase in the number of pupils viewing porn.

Education expert Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, said: ‘This school is jumping on the “cool” bandwagon. It’s after cheap headlines. It should instead be focusing on the quality of education it provides. The school is shamefully giving parents the impression that buying an expensive iPad is in their child’s long term interest. In reality parents are being asked to invest a small fortune in something that is little more than a toy and hugely associated with the viewing of porn.

Longfield’s decision to teach all pupils with an iPad is the first of its kind in the England.

To be honest the “porn” issue is a moot point – people will view porn whenever and however it is available, so long as it remains available, so the iPad is no worse than any other technology on this point. On every other point, though, it is clear that the scheme does nothing but feed the technological obsession of the school system while lining the pockets of Apple Computer. This latter point is made clear via the school’s own newsletter, all about the scheme, which explained:

On the 30th March two parents events were carried out where the vision for the scheme was outlined and the iPad project
manager from Apple demonstrated the educational applications of the device.

Going on to answer the revealing question, “Why are we going to use Apple only?” with a trite explanation pointing to “life expectancy” and “creative and collaborative work”, conveniently skipping over the idea that Open Source or even other commercial offerings have much the same capabilities. But that’s not the point. Apple appears to have benefitted perhaps accidentally from this decision but then been called in to ensure the technology becomes binding. Brand loyalty is what all corporations love best, and what better way to seal brand loyalty than to make your brand ubiquitous in a (to all intents and purposes) compulsory “learning” environment?

Apple love this lots, as you can see from their Youth Programs, offering among other things:

Youth Workshops
From composing a song in GarageBand to building a photo album to creating a compelling Keynote presentation, our Youth Workshops offer families with kids (ages 6 to 13) a chance to work together to hone their Mac skills and use iLife and iWork applications to complete exciting projects. We offer the free workshops at Apple Retail Stores worldwide.

Field Trip to the Apple Store
Take your students on a Field Trip to an Apple Retail Store for an unforgettable learning experience. On their Field Trip, students can create something amazing right on the spot. Or they can bring in a project they’ve already created and turn our store into a theater, sharing their achievements with parents, teachers, and friends. No matter which option you choose, everyone will have a great time.

and the exceptionally immersive:

Apple Camp
Lights. Camera. Camp. Nothing beats Apple Camp for a fun summer activity for your kids. This summer, kids ages 8-12 will learn the ins and outs of iMovie and how to make a film in about the time it takes to watch one. The free workshop, held at the Apple Retail Store, spans three days and leads up to an Apple Camp Film Festival where campers debut their masterpieces.

So by falling for the latest retail obsession, no doubt helped by the fact that it is run by the Leigh Academies Trust (motto “Act Enterprisingly. Work in Partnership. Achieve Excellence.”), Longfield Academy has allowed Apple to influence a significant part of the lives of the young people whose care it has been entrusted with. By further making the iPad a home/school deal then Apple gets to eke its way into the private lives of these same young people who without the iPads may have (horror of horrors!) decided to spend some time away from technology when they get home rather than being gripped with the ubiquity of computerisation.

I can’t finish off this noxious tale without linking to a video produced by (some of) the students of Longfield. What is really frightening is that they really think this is a good thing…


UNDERMINING OPPORTUNITY

Are you a student at Longfield Academy? Do you like being brainwashed by the technocracy and the so-called “education” system? Well, first I think it would be fair to refuse the iPad – just take it back, if you have it, or if you are today’s new intake (yes, term starts today, at the time of writing) then refuse it in the first place. Legally, no school can force you to accept the iPad; less still can they make you pay for it – they would be in breach of tax rules and subject to ferocious fines from HMRC if you were forced to pay.

And how about a nice bit of subvertising? Maybe you have an art project coming up, or perhaps something in media studies. How about taking the beloved Apple logo and turning into something a lot more truthful – perhaps a worm coming out of its rotten core, or some slave labour overseen by a grinning Apple?

Some good examples of subvertising here: http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/subvertising-gallery/, to adorn the toilet walls, or even the art room :-)

Posted in Advice, Human Rights, Public Sector Hypocrisy, Sponsorship, Subvertising | No Comments »

The Consumer Culture Will Never Be Convicted

Posted by keith on August 17th, 2011

Green Acres Mall Walmart Stampede

November 28, 2008: As the recession really started to bite in the Western world, something was stirring in the minds of people across the USA. Black Friday, that time of year when, traditionally, retail businesses move from being in the “red” to being in the “black”, had taken on a Pavlovian significance. Pre-programmed individuals, now operating as a herd, took to the streets in the early hours to elbow their way to the doors of big-box stores in every city. At the Green Acres Mall – whoever thought up that name deserves an award for creative expression – just outside New York City, the Walmart store was under siege; a siege of the company’s own making. Approaching 5am and the fuse had been lit by a notice taped to the front door, implying that shopping was now on a war footing: “Blitz Line Starts Here” it read. The New York Times takes up the story:

By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault. Six to 10 workers inside tried to push back, but it was hopeless.

Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said.

Some workers who saw what was happening fought their way through the surge to get to Mr. Damour, but he had been fatally injured, the police said. Emergency workers tried to revive Mr. Damour, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, at the scene, but he was pronounced dead an hour later at Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Valley Stream.

Four other people, including a 28-year-old woman who was described as eight months pregnant, were treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, who is in charge of the investigation for the Nassau police, said the store lacked adequate security. He called the scene “utter chaos” and said the “crowd was out of control.” As for those who had run over the victim, criminal charges were possible, the lieutenant said. “I’ve heard other people call this an accident, but it is not,” he said. “Certainly it was a foreseeable act.”

As I write, over one thousand people have been arrested in England for various offences related to the events, described as “riots” by the mainstream media, that took place between 6 and 10 August, 2011. Two men have been sentenced to four years imprisonment for “incitement to rioting” on Facebook. On first sight this might seem like a reasonable sentence, given that 5 people, to date, were killed at least in the vicinity of the events, if not directly as a result of them. But take a look at the outcome of the “incitement” carried out by these two men:

Jordan Blackshaw, 20, set up an “event” called Smash Down in Northwich Town for the night of 8 August on the social networking site but no one apart from the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the pre-arranged meeting point outside a McDonalds restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Latchford, Warrington, used his Facebook account in the early hours of 9 August to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots. The court was told it caused a wave of panic in the town. When he woke up the following morning with a hangover, he removed the page and apologised, saying it had been a joke. His message was distributed to 400 Facebook contacts, but no rioting broke out as a result.

Six months after the trampling to death of Jdimytai Damour – a death that was directly attributable to the shopping frenzy whipped up by Walmart’s Black Friday campaigning and the consumer culture that Walmart are an integral part of – the company were fined $7000 for “inadequate crowd management”. No mention was made of the nature of the event that led to the death of Jdimytai Damour in the formal letter sent by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to the CEO of Walmart and other major retailers, such as JC Penney and Target. Although Walmart fought the original citation, they needn’t have bothered because the consumer culture – the lifeblood of mass retail activity – got away scot-free.

The true cause of the Walmart death did not pass Peter S. Goodman by, though. In a New York Times article published the day after the stampede, he stated: “For decades, Americans have been effectively programmed to shop. China, Japan and other foreign powers have provided the wherewithal to purchase their goods by buying staggering quantities of American debt. Financial institutions have scattered credit card offers as if they were takeout menus and turned our houses into A.T.M.’s. Hollywood and Madison Avenue have excelled at persuading us that the holiday season is a time to spend lavishly or risk being found insufficiently appreciative of our loved ones.”

Fast forward to August 2011, and in a scathing indictment of the culture within which the English unrest took place, the comedian and broadcaster Russell Brand writes: “Amidst the bleakness of this social landscape, squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity. That daily, hourly, incessantly enforces the egregious, deceitful message that you are what you wear, what you drive, what you watch and what you watch it on, in livid, neon pixels. The only light in their lives comes from these luminous corporate messages. No wonder they have their fucking hoods up.” Russell Brand seems to be one of the few lights in the corporate and politically generated swill masquerading as journalism.

So we look again at the four year sentences handed down to Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan for “incitement” to riots that never occured, and wonder why, if the real cause of looting and the violence that often surrounds such incidents is the simple desire to attain the consumer goods that we are implored to seek out, the huge corporations that make money from our desires never have the finger pointed at their activities. And we have to conclude that without the consumer culture there would be no economic growth, and without economic growth there would be no more industrial civilization. That is a price that no politician, CEO, media-mogul or investment banker ever wants to pay.

And that is why the consumer culture will never be convicted.

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, Media Hypocrisy, Political Hypocrisy | 2 Comments »

London 2012: Crass, Commercial and Completely Acceptable

Posted by keith on July 25th, 2011

The Olympic Charter reads as follows:

Fundamental Principles of Olympism

1. Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

2. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

3. The Olympic Movement is the concerted, organised, universal and permanent action, carried out under the supreme authority of the IOC, of all individuals and entities who are inspired by the values of Olympism. It covers the five continents. It reaches its peak with the bringing together of the world’s athletes at the great sports festival, the Olympic Games. Its symbol is five interlaced rings.

4. The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. The organisation, administration and management of sport must be controlled by independent sports organisations.

5. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.

6. Belonging to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC.

Notice the highlighted points, particularly those mentioning Universal Fundamental Ethical Principles and Human Dignity – they are key to the next set of information, which you might find runs rather contrary to the Fundamental Principles of Olympism. The more you know about the activities of the corporations mentioned, the more appalled you are sure to be.

Coca-Cola is proud to be a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, and looks forward to helping to spread the magic of the Olympic Games well beyond London, inspiring communities across the UK to participate in the biggest celebration of world sport.

Coca-Cola’s partnership with the Olympic Flame began in Barcelona in 1992, and London 2012 will mark the eighth time the company has served as a Presenting Partner. Coca-Cola will draw on its unrivalled heritage of involving people in the excitement of the Olympic Torch Relay to bring the Olympic Games to doorsteps across the UK. Find out more at www.cokezone.co.uk/olympicgames

(http://www.london2012.com/games/olympic-torch-relay/presenting-partners/)

The London 2012 Organising Committee today announced Rio Tinto as their 40th domestic sponsor for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Rio Tinto will provide the gold, silver and copper to produce 4,700 medals for the London 2012 Games. The company, a leading international mining group headquartered in London, will become the Official Mining and Metals Provider to London 2012 and the 24th domestic Tier 3 sponsor.

London 2012 will be the second Games at which Rio Tinto has supplied the metals, having previously done so for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002.

LOCOG Commercial Director Chris Townsend commented, ‘The medals are one of the great traditions and enduring images of any Olympic or Paralympic Games, so Rio Tinto will play a significant role in the successful delivery of London 2012. We welcome them to the London 2012 family and we look forward to working with them to ensure that our medals will be both spectacular and sustainable.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2011/04/london-2012-secures-rio-tinto-as-sponsor.php)

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has appointed Heineken UK, Britain’s leading brewer, as Official Lager Supplier of London 2012 in a Tier Three sponsorship deal.

As part of the deal, the company’s flagship premium beer, Heineken, will be the branded lager served at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Heineken UK will have exclusive pouring rights for its portfolio of beer and cider brands at all London 2012 venues where alcohol is served.

As an official supplier of the London 2012 Games, Heineken will also be able to utilise exclusive hospitality and marketing opportunities associated with the event. It will also enjoy sponsorship and venue supply rights associated with the British Olympic Association, Team GB, the British Paralympic Association and ParalympicsGB.

Chris Townsend, LOCOG Commercial Director, said: ‘Like many major events, the provision of food and drink is a part of the overall experience and this year sees our plans in this regard move up a gear. We are especially pleased to be working with Heineken, as we have a shared goal of encouraging adult visitors to our venues where alcohol is served to celebrate responsibly. We welcome Heineken to the London 2012 family and look forward to working with them between now and the summer of 2012.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2011/02/london-2012-signs-heineken-as-latest-sponsor.php)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that Procter and Gamble (P&G) will join The Olympic Partners (TOP) Programme.

P&G will be an official Olympic worldwide partner in the ‘personal care and household products’ category until 2020, including the London 2012 Olympic Games. As part of the agreement, P&G will also partner the IOC and the National Olympic Committees around the world.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said: ‘Procter & Gamble is a first-class company, and we are absolutely delighted to announce that we will be partnering with it until 2020. P&G’s global reach and consumer insight will be a real boost in our efforts to communicate the Olympic values to a worldwide audience, and its financial support over the next decade will benefit the entire Olympic Movement, including the athletes themselves.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2010/07/11th-olympic-worldwide-partner-announced.php)

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is pleased to confirm ArcelorMittal as a Tier Two sponsor of London 2012 and Official Steel Supporter of the Games. The deal follows confirmation that ArcelorMittal will fund the construction of a 115m-high visitor attraction in the Olympic Park in time for the Games. The attraction will be designed by artist Anish Kapoor and structural engineer Cecil Balmond and named ‘The Orbit’ during the Games.

As part of the deal, LOCOG will benefit from the sale of tickets to visit the viewing platform of the tower, as well as being able to provide hospitality in the tower at Games-time. The tower is expected to be completed by May 2012 and will be an iconic presence on the skyline as well as providing visitors with spectacular views across the Olympic Park.

LOCOG Chair Seb Coe commented: ‘The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are already transforming east London and the addition of the Tower at Games-time will provide an added dimension to the Park. We are thrilled to have ArcelorMittal on board as a sponsor and I have great pleasure in welcoming them to the London 2012 family.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2010/05/london-2012-confirms-arcelormittal-as-tier-two-supporter.php)

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) today announced BMW as the official Automotive Partner of the London 2012 Games. BMW becomes the seventh Tier One partner and 24th domestic partner overall.

The company will supply around 4,000 vehicles to transport the ‘Games family’ during the Olympic and Paralympic Games – including athletes, technical officials, the media and International Sports Federations.

BMW is also a ‘Sustainability Partner’ and has committed to provide a low emissions fleet. It will showcase electric vehicles and also provide bicycles to help athletes and LOCOG staff get around at Games time. The measures will help deliver LOCOG’s objectives of a ‘low carbon and ‘healthy living Games.

LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said: ‘Operationally, an automotive deal is vital for any Organising Committee and so I’m thrilled BMW is on board. They share our vision to stage a sustainable Games in 2012 and will be a valued partner.

‘On a commercial level, signing another Tier One Partner in this challenging environment is a fantastic achievement but it goes to show the inspirational power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2009/11/bmw-signs-as-newest-london-2012-tier-one-partner.php)

GE [General Electric], a worldwide partner of the Olympic Games, has today announced plans to donate £4.8 million ($8 million) worth of medical equipment, including foetal monitors, incubators and MR scanner, to Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, East London.

Hackney is one of the five Host Boroughs of the London 2012 Games. The hospital is the nearest to the Olympic Park.

The pledge will enhance the hospital’s care of premature and sick babies. It will help reduce infant mortality rates across the borough and make a significant contribution to the Government’s policy agenda on maternal and infant care.

Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), said: ‘We applaud GE’s donation – which is a great example of a tangible legacy left by a corporate sponsor beyond the 2012 Games.

‘This is what Olympic legacy is all about – giving the people of East London access to world class facilities on their door step – in this case healthcare – which will help improve lives for generations to come.’

As a worldwide partner of the Olympic Games, including London 2012, GE will provide GE infrastructure solutions for Olympic venues including power, lighting, water treatment, transportation and security. It will also supply hospitals with ultrasound and MRI equipment to help doctors treat athletes.

The donation is part of a GE Healthcare programme ‘healthymagination’, using innovative technology to improve healthcare around the world.

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2009/06/ge-donates-4-8m-pounds-to-host-borough-hospital.php)

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) today announced The Nielsen Company as its official Market Research Services provider.

Working in collaboration with the LOCOG marketing team, The Nielsen Company will undertake all of LOCOG’s market research services requirements, including developing a market research strategy, undertaking tracking studies and organising online panels and surveys.

LOCOG chair Seb Coe welcomed the appointment: ‘This is more fantastic news for the project, as we’ve signed yet another market-leading company to the commercial programme. The Nielsen Company will assist us in the decision-making process by testing our ideas in the marketplace. One of our challenges – and opportunities – is connecting with young people. Nielsen will help us to do this and will, I’m sure, prove to be a huge asset to our marketing push, which is moving up a gear in 2009.’

‘Nielsen is pleased to partner with LOCOG in support of London 2012,’ said Susan Whiting, vice-chair of The Nielsen Company. ‘The Olympic and Paralympic values are shared by Nielsen’s employees, and we look forward to providing critical consumer and media insights that will deliver an Olympic experience that London and the UK can be proud of.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2009/06/london-2012-appoints-market-research-services-provider.php)

London 2012 Sustainability Partner EDF Energy has launched an annual ‘Green Britain Day’, aiming to show the world how Britain can lead the world in the race against climate change.

Inspired by the Games, people are being invited to join Team Green Britain and use the day, 10 July, as the start of a journey to be more sustainable.

Advice can be found on the Team Green Britain website on ways to be more sustainable across five themes: home and garden, food, lifestyle, travel and money.

Olympic and Paralympic champions including cyclist Victoria Pendleton and Paralympic swimmer Eleanor Simmonds are among those who have joined the team.

Over 450 schools have signed up to be part of activities, as part of EDF’s online ‘POD’ educational resource; 1,000 more have downloaded materials to help them ‘do something green for the team’ on the day. There will also be 20 community events running across the UK.

The project is running in association with the Eden Project, who are holding a concert featuring Paul Weller and Florence and the Machine to round off the day.

Sebastian Coe, London 2012 Organising Committee Chair, said: ‘London 2012 is all about using the power of the Games to inspire change and it’s fantastic to see EDF Energy, the first sustainability partner of London 2012, taking this on in their activation. The Green Britain Day campaign is a great way for people to come together and make a difference.

‘Sustainability underpins our planning for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. It will be a key part of our legacy and Team Green Britain will, I hope, grow as we head towards 2012 and live on after the Games have gone.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2009/06/edf-energy-launches-team-green-britain.php)

Tier Two Supporter Cadbury [Kraft] has extended its existing deal with London 2012 so that they will supply all confectionary and packaged ice cream sold at official London 2012 outlets at Games time.

As part of the extension sugar-free gum Trident becomes the fifth Tier Three brand to sign to London 2012.

London 2012 Chief Executive Paul Deighton said: ‘This deal is a great opportunity for Cadbury to extend its partnership with the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, and for us to continue to develop our commercial programme and raise more private finance to host and stage the Games.

‘Cadbury has a long tradition of sports sponsorship, both in this country, and of supporting major international events, and are proving a strong addition to our team of world class commercial partners.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2009/03/cadbury-extends-partnership.php)

Atkins is the latest Tier Three provider for the London 2012 Games, as the partnership programme continues apace.

Atkins is the official Engineering Design Services provider for the 2012 Games. Their services include help with building services design, acoustics, fire and accessibility advice for temporary Games venues in London and across the UK. These include Horse Guards Parade, Greenwich Park and Footballing venues St James’ Park, Hampden Park and the Millennium Stadium.

Atkins has been part of the design team for the Olympic Park site since late 2005, working with partners to help with aspects of clearing and cleaning the site, road and bridges and ecological support.

London 2012 Chair Sebastian Coe said: ‘We are now at the half-way point between winning the bid and staging the Games, and the appointment of Atkins is a real sign that the project is developing at a rapid pace and that we are well on track.

‘Atkins is a world class player in this field, with a fantastic record of working on major projects. They know the project inside out and will be a valuable partner on the road to 2012.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2009/01/atkins-announced-as-latest-tier-three-provider.php)

BP has been announced as the sixth Tier One Partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As the official Oil and Gas Partner and a Sustainability Partner, BP will provide the fuelling facilities for Games-related transport. It will also provide Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for catering, vehicle washing facilities and technical support services, including a system for tracking and reporting carbon emissions.

Following a strong tradition of supporting the arts, BP will promote and support the Cultural Olympiad with exhibtions and outreach programmes around the UK.

LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said: ‘From the moment the Olympic flag is handed to London, the eyes of the world will be on the UK. So I am delighted that we have the best of British companies joining us on our journey to 2012 to deliver a truly memorable Olympic and Paralympic Games.’

The number of Tier One Partners signed so early is unprecendented. They will help fund the cost of staging the Games as well as helping to spread the message of the Games, to inspire change.

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2008/07/bp-announced-as-latest-tier-one-partner.php)

British Airways has been announced as the newest Tier One partner for the 2012 Games, in the airline category.

A firm supporter of the London 2012 bid, the airline will now have marketing rights to the London 2012 Games and provide flights to athletes for the Beijing Games this summer and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.

As part of the deal announced at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, British Airways will also provide support for volunteer training and a travel bursary scheme for aspiring athletes.

Willie Walsh, British Airways chief executive, said: ‘British Airways is a natural partner for London 2012 and we are proud to become part of the team that makes the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games a success.

‘As one of Britain’s most high profile and iconic brands, it is right that we should sponsor the Games in our home city. We supported London’s bid in 2005 and we will be proud to welcome the world to London when the global spotlight falls on the UK in 2012.’

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2008/02/british-airways-announced-as-tier-one-partner.php)

Leading energy company EDF was today announced as London 2012′s next Tier One domestic sponsor and a sustainability partner.

As Europe’s lowest carbon-emitting energy company, EDF will help make sure the 2012 Games are sustainable and will encourage people and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint through a ‘Green Lane’ campaign.

The company now have exclusive marketing rights for the utility services sector, including use of the new London 2012 logo, plus exclusive access and category marketing rights to Team GB and Paralympic GB for Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010.

The announcement was made at an event at 2012 venue Greenwich Park, where a ‘Green Lane’ was created to show how homes can be made to be environmentally friendly.

EDF has a strong connection with the Games and its UK subsidiary was the first company to sign up as a partner during the bid for 2012.

Pierre Gadonneix, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EDF, said: “I am delighted that EDF will be an official partner of London 2012.

“With these Olympic and Paralympic Games, we want to deliver the vision of inspiring future generations and leaving a lasting legacy, in sport and in society.”

Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee said: “Sustainability is at the heart of London 2012 and we’re looking forward to working with EDF to make London 2012 truly sustainable Games, delivering a lasting legacy benefiting sport, the environment and the local and global community.”

(http://www.london2012.com/news/2007/07/edf-announced-as-london-2012-sustainability-partner.php)

Commercialism in sport! Who’d have thought?

Posted in General Hypocrisy, Sponsorship | 1 Comment »

Why So Few Unsuitablogs?

Posted by keith on July 13th, 2011

I’ve been looking at the main page at pondering on the lack of recent posts. There is a reason for this – not the pondering, but the lack of posts – and it stems from the tension that arises between the part of an activist that writes about what is going on with the world and the things that activist is concerned about, and the need to get on and do something about it.

I have read far too much of the former and seen far too little of the latter. There was a time when I enjoyed seeing my name in lights (as it were) and thinking that presence amounted to achievement. If all you are attempting to do is raise the public profile of something then fine, go ahead and write and get your name in lights, but as a means of achieving change then public awareness is a poor substitute for public action, even if in the eyes of the mainstream environmental groups public awareness is considered action itself. That is, to be frank, a pile of horseshit (actually, horseshit is pretty useful stuff, but I can’t think of another analogy to use for the moment).

All the time I am writing I am not doing. It’s not quite as simple as that because in my case, and the case of a lot of writers, the act of writing is also a way of creating ideas and sometimes part of the mental preparation that is essential for a successful action. But the moment writing becomes a substitute for getting things done is the moment something is going wrong. Like the gamer who plays Second Life or Minecraft while all the time atrophying in their own self-deluded idea that gaming is life.

Yes, I am writing a book, but it’s coming along slowly because I am spending far more time getting out and doing stuff, whether that be engaging in conventional non-symbolic activism, taking part in community projects and activities, growing food and tending the chickens on our small plot, earning a bit of money or (better still) bartering for my computer skills, or just being a part of a family and circle of friends. Writing is not really a priority.

Sorry if that means The Unsuitablog is not the vibrant, edgy read it once was, I’ve just been distracted in the best possible way.

Posted in Unsuitablog News | 1 Comment »

Money for Nothing and Your Soul for Free

Posted by keith on July 6th, 2011

We, the media and I, have an interesting relationship. They leave me alone for the most part, and I give them hell because for the most part they are an industry dedicated to anti-life propaganda. Sometimes, though, they will contact me for a quote, an interview and some advice on how to keep the system running. Usually they go away disappointed, not because I don’t deliver, but because I deliver entirely the opposite of what they are looking for.

On rare occasions I make a conversion. Those are good days.

Today, there was a call from a media organisation. Gerald was after some advice on energy efficiency to syndicate to various web sites and other media outlets. I said it was a bit mainstream for me. He said that would be ok, I could still give a comment if I wanted. Being in the middle of a conversation with a friend I asked him to email me some questions and I would be sure to get back to him.

When I got back home the email was there:

From: Gerald Heneghan
Sent: Wednesday, July 06, 2011 11:19 AM
To: keith[at]theearthblog.org
Subject: Advice for eco-conscious homeowners

Hi Keith,

As mentioned, we’re writing a series of articles on steps homeowners who are concerned about environmental can take to improve their green credentials on a day to day basis, i.e. with home upgrades and/or the types of purchases they make. I’ve included some of the key areas we’re looking to cover below. As mentioned, we syndicate our content so if there’s some places you’d rather your comments didn’t appear (i.e. the websites of energy companies for instance) then please let me know.

- What are the best steps for a UK homeowner who is concerned about the environment to take on a day to day basis?
- Can home upgrades, i.e. energy efficient light bulbs, double glazing, insulation be of use?
- How those concerned about the environment alter their consumer behaviour to reduce the impact of global warming?

If there’s anything further you’d like to add, please feel free to digress.

All the best,

Ged Heneghan
Reporter

There wasn’t much of interest there, and I was about to respond as such, but then thought to myself: “Hang on, if he really wants my views then I assume he will be prepared to pay for them.” The company, Adfero, make money from news syndication and advertising (not that I would see it, having AdBlock installed) and yet they are expecting me to provide their material for nothing. In a radio interview there is always an opportunity to get across something of my radical agenda, which means I never ask for payment of any other kind, but pure news syndication is a business. Why should I do that for free?

From: Keith Farnish
Sent: 06 July 2011 13:23
To: Gerald Heneghan
Subject: Re: Advice for eco-conscious homeowners

Hi Gerald

Thank you for your enquiry. Please ensure that my responses are uncredited, to prevent any potential conflict – you can just say “A respected environmental expert” or suchlike.

My flat fee is £100, for which you will receive an immediately usable set of answers that can be adapted to suit within 24 hours. Payment is by bank transfer / BACS.

Kind regards

Keith

The intention would be to word a fairly radical response in a way that it could not be taken out of context without losing the meaning. That would probably take me a couple of hours to compose and as a someone who, so I have been told, writes well and authoritatively on the issues in question, that sounds like a fair deal. Apparently not.

Hi Keith,

I’m afraid we’ll have to pass on this one, we’re unable to offer remuneration for comment.

All the best,

He wasn’t asking for comment, he was virtually asking for a free article. Here’s some advice for my peers – you are not media whores. Always ask yourself: “Who stands to gain most from this?” If the answer is, “The person / organisation doing the asking”, then walk away.

Well, you get paid, don’t you? It’s only fair.

I have to eat.

Keith

Posted in Advice, Media Hypocrisy | 6 Comments »

Lush’s Dirty Laundry [by Cory Morningstar]

Posted by keith on June 23rd, 2011

In an unlikely alliance, Lush Cosmetics joins the Indigenous Environmental Network against the Canadian tar sands. The Lush campaign targets the tar sands, yet the CEO of Lush fails to target his own family’s dynasty built on the continued exploration of oil, gas and mining.

Today, the environmental movement has become inundated with front-groups, financed by dirty industries. These front groups often fall under the guise of foundations. Unfortunately, not even the best of the long-standing environmental groups are above becoming ensnared in such webs of deception as corporations, governments and, in this case, the global Lush brand. Such entities seek to become celebrated as “green” in a system that cannot be changed by the illusion of “green” growth. This system is destined to ultimately collapse – or kill us – whatever comes first. And this is where we are today.

The CEO of Lush, Mark Wolverton, belongs to the Wolverton family – of Canadian Wolverton Securities. The president and CEO of Wolverton Securities is Brent Wolverton, Mark’s brother. Wolverton Securities was founded in the early 1900s and continues to thrive today with an annual revenue of $20,735,400.

From the Wolverton website:

“Taking advantage of our expertise. Western Canada may well be the venture capital centre of the world, especially when it comes to mining and oil and gas exploration. Wolverton is a primary player in that market for this simple reason: If you look at mining operations in Siberia, South Africa or the jungles of South America, Canadians are running and financing the operations.”

Time Magazine article 2003: “Lush first made its way to North America thanks to brokerage scion Mark Wolverton of Canada’s Wolverton Securities.”

Wolverton has controlled Lush’s North American operations since 1996 – 50% in Canada and 40% in the US. According to the Retail Merchandisers, Strategy for Growth Website, approximately $90 million of the company’s global annual sales of $350 million come from its North American operations, comprising manufacturing facilities and distribution via storefronts, malls, airports, and a store-within-a-store concept in which Lush has a 300- to 500-square-foot store in the cosmetic department at 38 Macy stores. (The New Zealand Herald cites Lush sales at 595 million in 2009).

As found on the web:

“On the research side, Blackmont hired Gord Currie away from Wolverton Securities. The oil and gas analyst has 29 years of experience in the sector, including executive stints in the industry at NAL Oil and Gas Trust and Easton Drilling Fund.”

Ironically, Wolverton Securities Ltd’s Calgary office is actually situated in the Royal Bank Building. Royal Bank Canada is one of the world’s largest financier of the tar sands.

Mile long list of corporations affiliated with Wolverton Securities Ltd: http://infoventure.tsx.com/TSXVenture/TSXVentureHttpController?GetPage=CompanySummary&PO_ID=44829&HC_FLAG1=on&HC_FLAG2=on

The reason Lush CEO Mark Wolverton would support such a hypocritical campaign is nothing new. It’s fantastic branding. It makes people feel good when they buy a bar of soap. It raises awareness – without threatening the industry (or his family’s fortune) in any meaningful way. It builds brand loyalty. And I will be the first one to say – Lush executes such branding/marketing brilliantly.

Read the full story, including a host of bad news for Lush fans over here

Posted in Campaigns, Company Policies, Corporate Hypocrisy | No Comments »

Dispatches: Conservation’s Dirty Secrets

Posted by keith on June 21st, 2011

JUST-WATCH-THIS…

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od#3201652

Dispatches reporter Oliver Steeds travels the globe to investigate the conservation movement and its major organisations. Steeds finds that the movement, far from stemming the tide of extinction that’s engulfing the planet, has got some of its conservation priorities wrong.

The film examines the way the big conservation charities are run. It questions why some work with polluting big businesses to raise money and are alienating the very people they would need to stem the loss of species from earth.

Conservation is massively important but few dare to question the movement. Some critics argue that it is in part getting it wrong, and that, as a consequence, some of the flora and fauna it seeks to save are facing oblivion.

Long term it can also be viewed on YouTube via http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUwYZSwSLY0

More information about Conservation International’s activities can be found at http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/877241/conservation_international_agreed_to_greenwash_arms_company.html

More information about WWF’s capitalist addiction can be found at http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/partners/corporate/index.html. You can make your own mind up about the motivation of the various businesses.

Posted in Corporate Hypocrisy, Cover Ups, Exposure, Funding, Human Rights, NGO Hypocrisy, Sponsorship | 2 Comments »

I’m On The Run

Posted by keith on June 7th, 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 »

Los Alamitos School Board Member Makes U-Turn on Climate Change Teaching

Posted by keith on May 19th, 2011

I’ve just had a very interesting and productive email discussion with Dr Jeffrey Barke. Some of you may be familiar with his position on the teaching of climate science. Here’s some background information, from MSNBC:

LOS ALAMITOS — A new high school advanced placement class that addresses global warming has prompted the school board to start requiring teachers to present opposing views in courses that include controversial topics.

Los Alamitos Unified School district trustees unanimously agreed to update the policy on controversial issues at the request of board member Jeffrey Barke, who said he is concerned about “global warming dogma” and wants students to be offered a balanced perspective on the topic.

“There are two clearly divergent opinions on global warming,” Barke said in an interview. “There are those who believe that global warming is a fact, created by man’s impact on the environment and the consequences will be devastating. There are others on the conservative side who believe it’s much ado about nothing. It’s overhyped and politically motivated, and the science is not solid, and there’s room for more studies.”

Since news of the board’s decision was posted on a numerous national blogs, Barke said he has received more than 100 e-mails criticizing the district’s move and attacking him personally.

Los Alamitos resident J.M. Ivler, who has a daughter at the high school, did not e-mail Barke, but he was critical of the school board.

“There is consensus in the field that we have global warming happening, it is getting warmer and it is related to what we are doing to the planet,” he said. “That is not in dispute in the scientific community. It is in dispute in the political community. This is a science class. Teach science.”

Below is a word for word copy of the emails we exchanged in relation to an interview published in The Guardian yesterday. The outcome of our discussion is that he agrees (twice) that science teaching should reflect the balance of evidence in current climate science. Dr Jeffrey Barke will now need to go back to the school board and state that clearly before kids really do start thinking that science is just politics with numbers.

>>>> Dear Dr Barke
>>>>
>>>> I have just read an interview between you and Leo Hickman in today’s Guardian, and have a question that Leo either left out in the printed version or did not ask. I think it should sort this out once and for all.
>>>>
>>>> Would the school board be amenable to the science class teaching climate science based on the balance of information that climate scientists can attest to (rather than just “believe”)? In other words if, as I believe, the balance is between 100 and 1000 climate scientists being able to show scientifically that civilized humanity is the predominant cause of current climate change, for every 1 who opposes this view, then between 0.1% and 1% of the science class should relate the dissenting view, with the remaining 99% to 99.9% of time spent teaching the majority view.
>>>>
>>>> This seems like a fair and logically inarguable outcome for a science class which, I would assume, teaches according to scientific principles.
>>>>
>>>> Kind regards
>>>>
>>>> Keith Farnish

>>> From: Jeff Barke
>>> Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 2:28 PM
>>> To: Keith Farnish
>>> Subject: Re: Fair Balance re Climate Change Science
>>>
>>> Facts are facts. I disagree with your premise. The following is a partial list of scientists who also disagree.
>>>
>>> Global Warming Skeptics (Scientists and Thought Leaders) partial list:
>>> Tony Abbott
>>> Don Aitkin
>>> Dennis Avery
>>> Sallie L. Baliunas
>>> Tim Ball
>>> Robert C. Balling of Arizona State University
>>> David Bellamy
>>> Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen
>>> Douglas Carswell M.P.
>>> Robert (Bob) Carter
>>> Ian Castles
>>> John R. Christy
>>> Ian Clark
>>> Alexander Cockburn
>>> Martin Cohen, and philosophical objections to the global warming theorists
>>> Joseph D’Aleo
>>> Martin Durkin
>>> Paul Driessen
>>> David Evans
>>> Ray Evans
>>> The Rt. Rev. Peter R. Forster The Bishop of Chester
>>> Stewart Franks
>>> George Fox
>>> Robert Giegengack
>>> Steve Goddard
>>> Bill Gray
>>> William Happer
>>> Chris Horner, the author of “Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming
>>> Sherwood Idso
>>> Andrei Illarionov, chief economic adviser to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin
>>> James M. Inhofe
>>> Aynsley Kellow
>>> William Kininmonth
>>> Czech president Vaclav Klaus
>>> Donna Laframboise
>>> Lord Lawson
>>> David Legates
>>> Marlo Lewis, from the Competitive Enterprise Institute;
>>> Richard S. Lindzen
>>> Bjorn Lomborg
>>> Stephen McIntyre
>>> Ross McKitrick
>>> Patrick J. Michaels
>>> Christopher Monckton
>>> Andrew Montford
>>> Alan Moran
>>> Luboš Motl
>>> Alan Oxley
>>> Garth Paltridge
>>> Tim Patterson
>>> Roger Pielke Jr.
>>> Ian Plimer
>>> Arthur B. Robinson
>>> Frederick Seitz (deceased 2008)
>>> S. Fred Singer
>>> Willie Soon
>>> Roy Spencer
>>> Carlo Stagnaro
>>> Bob Stallman
>>> Philip Stott
>>> John H. Sununu
>>> George Taylor,
>>> Wolfgang Thüne
>>> Jan Veizer
>>> Len Walker
>>> Anthony Watts
>>> Sammy Wilson
>>>
>>>
>>> Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.

>>> Hi Jeff
>>>
>>> I’m not sure about your list. Sammy Wilson, for instance, is a politician from Northern Ireland, Tony Abbot is an Australian politician, Lord Nigel Lawson is a politician, Martin Durkin is a journalist, Bjorn Lomborg is an economist and so on. Even Tim Ball isn’t a climate scientist, even though he claims to be (he’s a geographer).
>>>
>>> So, all I ask is that the balance of *climate scientists* be reflected in the teaching. I can’t see why you would disagree with this.
>>>
>>> Regards
>>>
>>> Keith

>> From: Jeff Barke
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:17 PM
>> To: Keith Farnish
>> Subject: Re: Fair Balance re Climate Change Science
>>
>> And look at all those that signed off on the IPPC position. Certainly not all “scientist.”. Answer me this why is the majority of true believers on the left if this is not a political issue and simple just scientific fact? The IPCC is a UN political body. The list I provided you includes politicians because ultimately they are the ones that determine governmental policy. To suggest that the science is settled is intellectually dishonest.
>>
>> Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.

>> Jeff, please could you just consider what science is – that is, after all, what this issue is about. Politicians, activists, businesspeople etc. on any side of the fence should not determine the balance of what is taught. Human biology for instance wouldn’t now be taught based on the writings of Aristotle, even if a large number of politicians agreed that it should, because Aristotle has been shown by modern science to be wrong on almost all aspects of anatomy. The same should stand for climate change in science: it should reflect the current view of climate science which is overwhelmingly on the side of anthropogenesis.
>>
>> Anyone who suggests the science on anything is settled doesn’t understand science. That’s why I said “current view”.
>>
>> So do you agree that climate change should reflect the views of climate scientists or not? That’s all I am asking.
>>
>> Thanks
>>
>> Keith

> From: Jeff Barke
> Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:49 PM
> To: Keith Farnish
> Subject: Re: Fair Balance re Climate Change Science
>
> Agree. But what I do not think you realize is the large number of main stream scientists that are skeptics and their work is not reported by the media.
>
> Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.

> That’s good – I hope that is reflected in your discussions with the school board. Don’t forget that there may be many mainstream scientists who are skeptics, but if their evidence doesn’t support their position then it’s not scientifically valid. In the end verifiable evidence is what counts, and there is very little around that stands up to scrutiny.
>
> Best
>
> Keith

Agree!

Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.

Posted in Good News! | 4 Comments »