Archive for May, 2007

Democracy, well i’d call it Anarchy

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Eversince my introduction to Critical Mass (CM) during my years at Leeds University I try to follow the developments of the London CM either via the London mailinglist or just joining in on a Friday evening.

There are some thought provoking discussions at the moment with regards to how CM is “governed” (it isn’t) and “coping with pratts on bikes at cm”. Here are some snipplets of the conversation (obviously these opinions are highly subjective as i the editing - you can view the full conversation in the archive of the cm-london list):

Actions performed by the Mass as a whole are can be influenced. The Mass is a democracy. It does what the majority of people want or allow it to do.

The mass is anarchy in action. That’s why it is so edgy, everyone has a different view and everyone can and does do just what they like.

Anarchists are those who advocate the absence of the state, arguing that
common sense would allow for people to come together in agreement to form
a functional society allowing for the participants to freely develop their
own sense of morality, ethics or principled behaviour. (Anarchy on Wikipedia)

I don’t think everybody would approve, but, being a democracy could mean they don’t have to.

The last one is my favourite :-)

Ecological Footprint (of Wine)

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Ecological footprint is - in very simple terms - a measurement of how much land is required to perform a task (e.g., to sustain a certain lifestyle, to run a business, to manufacture a product). For an better introduction to the concept refer to the relevant Wikipedia entry or other resources.

Recently, the International Ecological Footprint Conference was hosted by BRASS at Cardiff University. Among the many interesting submitted papers, there are two that are really quite interesting to read (and non-technical!):

BBC Hardtalk with Sharon Looremeta

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Just a quick note on the Hardtalk program I just watched on BBC News 24:

Zeinab Badawi talks to Sharon Looremeta, a Kenyan Maasai, about her campaign for action to help the world’s poorest people.

(Note: I would really like to have the transcript of the show to quote here but I can’t find it on the site.) I thought this would be a really stimulating discussion but I was thoroughly disappointed: both with the presenter, Zeinab Badawi - who I should do some research on - and Sharon Looremeta in the hot seat.

Zeinab Badawi was far from impartial and repeatedly simplified issues (e.g., compensation vs. monetary aid vs. transfer of enabling technologies) to primary school level taking many important ideas out of context. Rather than pressing for answers to difficult questions it felt like she exploited Sharon’s language barrier to put words into her mouth and subsequently hammer the same ideas.

Though Sharon is quite well spoken she seemed to struggle quite a bit both with using the right vocabulary (e.g., carbon emissions, ecological footprint) and remembering key ideas (intermediate technologies,…). She didn’t even try to counter several key arguments such as Zeinab ridiculing the idea of a future based on renewable energies.

Overall a real shame and lost opportunity in particular as Sharon works with Practical Action a UK charity promoting intermediate technologies to enable communities according to the motto “small is beautiful” (after EF Schumacher).