Thursday, 5 June 2008

5th June 2008: World Environment Day 2008

Today I had a welcome respite from work in the form of a CETDEM seminar on the topic of "Between Bali and Poznan: Concrete Actions on Climate Change".

The first part of the seminar consisted of a diplomatic dialogue on actions and policies executed by different nations to cut carbon emissions. Encouraging though the statements made by the ambassadors of the Netherlands, the UK, Australia, India, Singapore and Malaysia were, we must, however, remember that they are diplomats and it is their duty to accord their countries the highest praise possible.

It was during the first coffee break that the journo from The Star text messaged me to inform me that the interview in conjunction with World Environment Day had been published in the special pullout today.

You can read the article here:
Green Every Day Pullout

(Photo reproduced without permission from The Star, but in accordance with the principles of fair use)

And sweet mother of dog, it was mortifying. There were so many errors that I didn't know where to start.

Here are a few of my complaints:
1. Being the Coordinator of the Green Living Group isn't my job. It's a volunteer position.
2. I have never exhorted consumers not to buy organic products or energy saving appliances. I spend a significant amount on organic products. What I actually said was: "Don't miss the forest for the trees. Don't, for a start, clean your house with lemons air-flown from Florida and olive oil shipped from the Mediterranean. That makes no environmental sense. Invest in a locally-produced, consumer-reviewed organic cleaning agent. There are many brands sold under multi-level marketing schemes like Amway, CNI and Cosway. Buy it in the largest size with the least packaging possible, and use it for all your cleaning needs. Don’t buy 10 cleaning agents to do 10 different jobs."
3. The reporter has listed all the piddling idiotic inconsequential actions I have done, but not the important ones. I actually recommended carrying out simple Household Energy, Water, Fuel, Waste and Food Wastage audits by listing areas and circumstances in which wastage occurs, and minimising opportunities for wastage until you find you have made significant savings.
4. I never uttered the words: "It's a constant challenge." Why should it be a fricking challenge? Conservation is fun and exciting and easy as all hell. What I said was: "Goals should not remain stagnant. Continue to challenge your own goals once you have achieved them to reach higher standards and attain greater good. For instance, if you have managed to reduce your electricity bill by 10%, keep at it, and add on the goal of cutting down your petrol/diesel use by 10%."
5. I was never so arrogant as to claim that my friends have started carrying cloth bags and bringing their own reusable takeout food containers because of me. I said that many of my friends are greener than I am, and we learn from each other and share information and resources. I also happened to mention that they take public transport, bring their own cloth shopping bags and takeout containers and audit their resource use as well.

I'm sure the reporter was very well-meaning and diligent, and they had to cut out a lot of superfluous information, but this article has caused others to question my credibility as the Green Living Coordinator.

What a game of Chinese Whispers this has turned out to be! I think I'll decline any offers to be interviewed in future and be incognito henceforth.

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