More criticism for Birmingham festival

With ludicrous irony, it turns out that the Birmingham Climate Change Festival has been criticised by none other than the Friends of the Earth spokesman Chris Crean for not being very green.


Pylon Environmentalists have pointed out that organisers, in their enthusiasm to decorate the city centre with fairy lights and pink blobs, have failed to calculate what is presumably the considerable carbon footprint of the event (Birmingham Post).


Creans says in the article:
“Clearly, the pylon had to be constructed and brought to Birmingham, then dismantled and taken away. That will have had an impact on carbon emissions, along with other activities at the festival.
“The important thing is that the council reduces carbon output next year, but you can’t do that if you don’t know the footprint this year".


So this dismal ‘festival’ actually completely failed to exemplify the very ideals it promoted. So what purpose did it actually serve? The forever anonymous ‘council spokesman’ defended the eight-day flop saying that:


“While it is impossible to say exactly how much carbon was emitted during the festival, we can say with certainty that over the long-term it will have saved infinitely far more than it produced.”


Certainty? The list of what the festival ‘achieved’ is pretty bewildering.


* 1,500 people signed pledges to cut their individual footprint by 100kg over the next 12 months.
Presumably these pledges aren’t binding, nor is contravention punishable (or finable – yet) so there’s no obligation for those 1,500 to comply. And as the council spokesman claims that it’s ‘impossible’ for the authority – who presumably have environmental and climate change officers aplenty – to calculate the use of carbon at the event, what hope does anyone else have?


* 2,000 plastic carrier bags exchanged for long-life green alternatives
Let’s face it, it’s just an extra bag that people were more than happy to accept free of charge (like most things). You can’t brag about giving away 2,000 bags. People can purchase these long-life bags from several retailers anyway if they want to. Give them their money back and the choice to do so.


* Nearly 100 individual items of IT equipment dropped off for recycling
Saves a trip to the tip or wasting time on eBay.


* 1,000 schoolchildren visited the event to learn about climate change issues
Most schools have this on their lesson plans now anyway. Will these children now be extolling the virtues of alternative fuel sources in the playground as a consequence of Birmingham’s offering?


* All official festival material was produced on recycled paper.
Surely it’s really scraping the barrel to flag this up as an ‘achievement’?


Apparently whenever they do now calculate the footprint of this year’s Climate Change Festival they will use these figures as a baseline and attempt to improve their green credentials next year.


That’s right, next year.


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