...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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August 05, 2005 || 11:51 pm
Links for today

A few links - I meant to post some of these the other day, but lost them when my computer crashed...

LA water and power department is now giving away free trees to citizens.. Simple, graceful and highly replicable way of making our cities a little less energy-wasteful.

Interesting post about why the 'sustainable design' literature rarely talks about political or social aspects. SDN doesn't have comments (why?!) so I'm linking to it instead. Obviously the market is (as an eco-lobbyist I was talking to the other day said) colluded against a lot of sustainable options as a result of subsidies, tax incentives etc which do require a legislative solution to correct, and which we need to lobby for. But I think the more interesting issue is maybe also how 'sustainable' options (goods, services, lifestyle choices, policies) are marketed to the public, and why they are still being argued for on the basis of some subjective ideas about 'ethics', 'green', 'community' and so on, not in terms of hard numbers and the long-term implications of decision-making on an individual and a political level. I've said this before, but I don't see people, on a mass scale, really changing their behaviour (or politicians their policies) because they care about the environment per se, but they will if they are shown how it risks their pockets, or their lifestyles. I am writing this to be provocative, as I am well aware of how may people are working on demonstrating more pragmatic and holistic reasoning for why we need to act more sustainably. But it annoys me that people think I'm a kindly hippy when I talk about my consumer decisions, and I have to explain to them that it is actually cheaper and easier that way.

An example of which is: Claire Tomalin was not believed by her bank when she was defrauded. Now my bank - Smile - when the same thing happened to me around Christmas, refunded the money to me the day after I reported the fraud. No questions asked. They are ethical investors, and a co-operative. But even if you didn't care about ethical investing, they have great interest rates (3.3% interest paid on a current account, only 9.9% APR on my credit card and overdraft) and the most fantastic customer service. On their homepage they don't even try to sell themselves as 'ethical' - it's all about the numbers and the service. It works - they are the leading internet bank in the UK - and importantly, it gives the soft message to consumers that ethical decision-making is a good selfish choice too.

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