Environment Government Policy Writing


This week saw the launch of the UK’s first conservation credit scheme. Conservation credits work very similar to carbon offsetting. If an area of land or water is to be developed, the developers can offset their impact by buying credits in biodiversity. Areas of biodiversity will then get developed in designated locations. Biobanking is becoming a really big emerging market.

While the idea of need to compensate for environmental damage seems like a good idea, you can’t manufacture biodiversity. Letting builders or developers essentially pay for environmental degradation, is not doing anything for conservation, if anything it’s just showing that everything has a price tag.

By issuing conservation credits, it inherently implies that a price can be put on biodiversity- but how can you measure and value this? And can it work retroactively? What about damage that’s already been done?

Like carbon offsetting, you are paying to alleviate guilt, pressure, bi-laws. But you cant really put a price on biodiversity. You can’t pay £500,000 to create a panda reserve because something that you want to build just might happen to obliterate a wild turkey population.


So Long Fabergas, we’ll miss you

Word on the street is Cesc Fabergas is leaving Arsenal. We’re all sad. Many in fact, are in denial of the whole situation. He’s been with Arsenal 7 years, and what a great 7 years they’ve been.

Think about how delighted people are when players return to their roots- sometimes not even permanently, but even for just an away fixture. When Man City played Arsenal at Emirates a few weeks back, Toure and Viera were given an amazing reception by Arsenal fans. Adebayor, not so much.

When players come back to Arsenal permanently, like Sol Campbell for example, everyone is happy. The stars are aligned and a player is seen as returning to their roots. Ever since Thierry Henry mentioned in an interview he wants to end his career at Arsenal, fans still talk about this like its going to happen tomorrow.

Fabergas is now returning to his roots. He left Barca years ago and now he will return to his club a world class player. I heard someone on the bus say ‘Arsenal is in Fabergas’s heart, but Barca is in his blood’. It’s true.

So, if this is so long Fabergas, fine. I promise to be one of the many people standing and cheering when you return for away fixtures at Emirates.

community Presentations

Amplified Leicester

Amplified Leicester is a city-wide experiment in social media. The project began as a network of 100 small local businesses and how now grown to include anyone wishing to be a part. An amplified indivdual is described as someone that ‘uses social media and the web to enhance their abilities to sense their world, create shared resources and act collaboratively’.

Today I was fortunate to meet the group and give a chat called DIY Community. It’s a horrible name for a talk if I’m being honest, but I couldn’t come up with a better name.

There are a lot of places now trying to identify connectors; community builders; fans; networkers, whatever term you’d like to call them. Malcolm Gladwell in his novel the tipping point talked about social connectors and there is also the 1,000 true fans. Kevin Kelly wrote about how having 1,000 true fans to make a living. The thinking behind both Gladwell’s social connector theory and Kelly’s true fan model is that having a community around a project, or a artist or a company contribute to its livelihood and success. The more people you have who act as nodes and spread the word, the better your chances for making it.

Today at amplified Leicester, I got thinking a lot about how communities are able to rally around something and was really inspired having met the group. While there are many different types of communities, Amplified Leicester are working very hard at creating theirs and maintaining it both online and offline.

community Social Innovation

‘Get Wired’

Get Wired is a little project I’ve been helping the Young Foundation and Social Innovation Camp with. It’s a experiment in getting young people to effectively tell their local council, King’s Lynn, what they think would make the Downham Market area a better place to live.

Here’s a bit about the project:

‘Get Wired is about finding new ideas to make your local area better by using simple web and mobile tools. We’ll be bringing young people from the Downham Market area together with students and professional web developers and designers to make new projects that use the web and mobile tools to make Downham better for everyone.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be hunting down some of the best ideas that could change something that matters in the local area. Ideas may be about finding sports teams, getting people together to share lifts to school or cleaning up a local park.

3 ideas will be selected to get developed over a day long workshop at Downham Highschool on June 4th from 10am-6pm. Young people will be matched with teams of software developers, designers and many more who can help get the ideas off the ground.’

I love the fact that the ideas are coming from the young people. I had the chance to meet some of the young people who will be involved. When one girl was asked if she remembered like before facebook, her response was ‘Oh, yes. Before facebook there was Bebo’. These young people put most people I know to shame when it comes to web technology. I’m excited to see what ideas and projects they come up with.

It’s a really interesting project and Downham Market is quite a pretty place- it reminds me of Canada. If you’d like to get involved do get in touch. You can also join the facebook group.


Walk on Water

Liquid mountaineering, apparently ‘the next big thing’. This video is hilarious, these guys have invented a new sport.


Everton Ladies win the FA Cup

Today I watched the women’s FA Cup final, Arsenal vs. Everton at the Nottingham Forest Ground. Everton won, from a goal scored in the last minute of added time, in extra time. I was convinced it was going to go to penalties.

While I was a bit disappointed Arsenal didn’t win, I was well impressed by the quality of football played.  Everton’s number 8, central mid-fielder Jill Scott was brilliant. She won every air borne ball in the mid-field. Other players I’d rate are Rachel Yankey and Kim Little from Arsenal’s side. Yankey’s pace completely blew away Everton’s right back. She had some explosive runs with the ball, allowing her to deliver excellent crosses into the box. Kim Little, who is quite a small player, had a dominating presence on the pitch. Despite several tackles and challenges from Everton, she remained sturdy and pushed through. After reading in the program she’s only 19, I was even more impressed. And, she has scored 2 hat tricks in the FA cup matches leading up to today.

Disappointing day for Arsenal Ladies (and Arsenal men losing 2-1 to Blackburn) but great day for women’s football.

(Image from Everton FC)


UK Election 2010

I’m finding Britain’s upcoming election quite exciting. I’ve watched all of the debates and can’t help but notice the piles of conversations happening online, especially on twitter.

I was pretty apathetic when it came to registering to vote but I remember an old friend telling me ‘If you don’t vote you lose your right to complain’. This one’s for you Robs.

So, I registered online, printed the necessary forms and sent them in. A week later, I received my Official Election Poll Card and my details were wrong. So, I went into Hackney Town Hall spoke with at least 4 different people and eventually, filled out the form again, with all of the same details as the first one.

And this arrived today…

voters card

Am I allowed to complain now?


Plug Out Boy

I’m not sure if its the post-its or the music that do it for me, but this is probably my most favourite video ever.  It could also be the kick-ups at 0:38 seconds in. I just love it.

Environment Uncategorized

Loyalty to the Tap

Earlier this month, Naya, the Canadian bottled water company was awarded a Green Packaging Award for making its bottles from 100% post -consumer recycled plastic, also called rPET (recycled polyethylene terephtalate).

It is being hailed by many as a great step forward for waste reduction, cutting CO2 emissions and encouraging innovation in packaging. Naya are the first bottled water company in the world to use this type of technology.

Although it all sounds peachy keen and ‘innovative’ and ‘sustainable’ and whatever buzz word you want to use, the issue isn’t the packaging, its the act itself. Bottling water doesn’t make sense, especially given how labour and resource intensive recycling is, combined with perfectly clean, tap water readily available in Canada, and many developed countries in the world. Even after Dasani revealed its water is purified tap water people didn’t seem to bat an eyelid. Apparently, 25% of all bottled water is from a tap. This is something that has been so well documented and there’s a growing movement to boycott bottled water.

I don’t think I’ll ever really understand why the developed world, with high standards of water treatment, would ever need bottled water.

(Image courtesy of James Chang)


Oh, the state of women’s football

I love football. I love the build up to a match, the stress during it and the feeling you have after 90 minutes of chasing a ball around a patch of grass. I love watching it and telling supporters of other teams that Arsenal will win the league, with conviction, despite it currently not being possible. I love coaching little ones and seeing their reaction when they master a new skill. I could talk probably forever about it. I would almost go as far as to say I love everything about football, but then I’d be lying.

Something I don’t love about football is how undervalued, unappreciated and underexposed female football is in the UK. My two biggest frustrations are the cost it is to play and the lack of exposure of some really talented female footballers.

Everything these days costs something. For grassroots football its a couple pounds a week to cover referee fees, the pitch and league costs. I get that. For professional women’s football the costs are really high. A friend of mine plays for Tottenham Ladies and had to pay £50 pre-season and £20 every month for during the season, and that is for kit alone. If she leaves at all during the season, the kit must be returned. In addition to this she pays all costs to get to matches, many of which are outside of London and match fees. Could you imagine this in the men’s Premier League? Hi, Mr. Walcott, welcome to the sqaud. Now give me £1000 to cover your fees for this season.

Sponsorship and quite high salaries are part of what stops this from happening in the men’s league. Also, high demand to see a match live fuels high ticket prices (between £52-£300) also generates a healthy income. Why is not be the same for women?

There is not really a professional league for woman in the UK. Just last month the FA announced the inaugural Super League for women in the UK. This is a huge deal. It means that for the first time, at least a few players for teams like Arsenal will actually receive a wage to play, and not have to supplement their income, allowing them to fully focus on their game. While I think its amazing that in 2011 I’ll be able to watch women play as professionals in a Super league, it should have happened years ago, before many English female footballers took off to America where their game is taken much more seriously.

The lack of profile of woman’s football also affects things on the smallest of levels, in grassroots women and girl’s football  from getting supporters out to matches, to having a pitch to play on that isn’t overtaken by boys and men half way through the session. Maybe it has something to do with some of the role models in men’s football (Andrey Arshavin, case in point) denouncing the quality of play in the women’s game.

In a few weeks time, I’ll be paying £1.50 to go and see Arsenal Ladies play at Emirates Stadium. You should really come, least not because its about the same price for a ticket as a cup of coffee but really because they deserve the support.

(Image courtesy of