A Green Focus


Dave McCourt

Well done on the changes you are making in your life. It is hard not to sound preachy when talking about this kind of thing and everyone has their own ideas about what they are prepared to do. Personally I live my life in a fairly ethical way, not as much as some but a lot more than others. I’m always amazed at basics that I take for granted (recycling, turning lights off, etc) are just too much for some people to stretch to. I think a lot of it comes down to people just don’t like being told what to do, or to realising that they are doing things wrong.

Small steps are the way to get the majority to do things as otherwise they wouldn’t bother and when they’re factored up it does make a difference. Some things though have to be taken with a pinch of salt: putting my Mac or Sky plus to sleep doesn’t even register on either of my two energy monitors. I think this kind of thing puts people into a false sense of doing something when most probably they aren’t. You’re much better off putting on a jumper and turning the heating down or having fewer lights and gadgets on. But that is too didatic for some.

If you are serious about you carbon footprint and you aren’t a veggie/vegan you should really consider at least a veggie diet. The meat industry uses a massive amount of energy, water and food that could be better utilised than making a Big Mac! Have a read of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_vegetarianism I’ve been veggie for 15 years and it really isn’t hard.

And you should subscribe to http://www.ethicalconsumer.org which can really shed light on a lot issues (how carbon offsetting is a load of nonsense for example).

I hope a.green:focus goes well.


It’s nice to see someone elegantly articulate their considered thoughts on such an important issue.

Some food for thought. Whilst I strongly agree that everyone should be more considerate and not needlessly waste energy, I would urge caution in the tone of your message. I think what’s most important is that people do become more efficient and ultimately use less energy BUT aren’t made to feel that they can’t still enjoy themselves whilst frivolously using energy on the odd occasion. After all, what’s the point in living if you give up all fun activity? I think you’re New Zealand adventure was worth the environmental impact, but some die hard environmentalists would surely disagree. Would such derision of an otherwise thoughtful individual be helpful?

Education NOT Dictation.

Example: I own an energy inefficient TV (Plasma). I don’t leave it on standby, I don’t leave it on when I’m not watching it, and I did consider the environmental impact of my purchase before hand. However, I enjoy watching TV (and movies) and believe that LCD is an inferior technology. Hence, I feel I’ve reached an acceptable balance, and until such time as this TV breaks I’ll not buy another. Is this wrong or selfish?

A new topic for you to explore. How much energy does the internet currently consume? I imagine many servers sit dormant a great deal of the time. Would internet users put up with a short wait for a web page to load if it meant that many servers could be kept in a deep sleep state until absolutely needed? If web page designers and coders were to tidy code, use less JavaScript and Flash, would fewer resources (energy) be needed to view web pages? How much energy could be saved? Google for one, have invested in solar energy at their headquarters, how about large server farms in the UK, tidal powered internet?

P.S. iPhone analogy. How about rather than all web designers upgrading to the latest MacBook, accept what you have and make the most possible out of it until it no longer works?