Saturday, March 31, 2007

Remote assessment

Please head over to Tony Cassidy's blog and make a comment on which of the pieces of model making work by his students you prefer. You have until the end of Easter to do it !

TNCs thanks to Tony

By popular request (well OK, someone asked me to) here are the slides we used when we investigated Premier Foods.
Thanks to Tony Cassidy, who produced the original slides which I skilfully adapted (i.e. removed all references to Ilkeston...) - thanks Tony, hope to see you next week !


As you'll know, we've not had access to the network at school for over 3 weeks now.
However, I've been able, thanks to Mr. McLean to access the server and get the work off: particularly the maps which form part of the 2nd piece of coursework for some of you. I have managed to get the work of those people who asked for me to do it in the final lesson of the term. If you have work which you want me to get off for you, please e-mail and I'll possibly be able to get the work for you.
If you do that promptly I'll get that to you during the first week of the holiday as I can go into school and do that for you...

GA Conference - for the TEACHER readers...

I will be at the GA Conference at the University of Derby on the 13th and 14th of April 2007
I will be leading a session on the use of GIS for Beginners on the Saturday morning, with a great deal of help from fellow members of the GA Secondary Phase Committee.

Hope to see some of my readers there - come and say hello!
I'll have a limited stock of GeographyPages pens for you to claim!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Easter Data Collection Task



The third piece of coursework will start after Easter.

Over the Easter holiday it is important that you do some data collection which investigates the issue of SHOPPING or CONSUMPTION PATTERNS to give it its more ‘geographical’ name.

This lesson you will be writing some questions to make up a QUESTIONNAIRE.

You need to include a selection of OPEN and CLOSED questions, and make sure that you have an idea of the SAMPLING method you are going to use to make sure that your SAMPLE is representative of the POPULATION.

Key Terms

CONSUMPTION: ‘buying products and consuming resources’ – something we all do every day

CONSUMPTION PATTERNS: trends which can be identified in the types of things that people buy and where they buy them

SPATIAL CONSEQUENCES: the fact that consumer choices have an impact on places which are far away

CONSUMER LANDSCAPES: the impact of shopping on areas e.g. shopping malls, CBD etc due to traffic

Start by thinking about these questions:

· How do your family do their main ’shop’ ?

· How frequently do you shop ?

· How do your family get their shopping home ?

· Are your family loyal to particular supermarkets ?

· Do your family think consciously about choosing organic, Fairtrade etc. products

· Have there been any recent changes in their ‘patterns of consumption’

You will develop a CLASS QUESTIONNAIRE.

You will be asked to collect some more information over the Easter break.

You need to ask family members the same questions and perhaps think of some other similar questions:

e.g. How has shopping changed over the years ?

Which types of shops have been lost ?

Are these changes for the better ?

You also need to do your own separate research by asking FAMILY MEMBERS and other people you know over the EASTER holidays. Do NOT put yourself at risk and ask people you don’t know, or go knocking on doors, keep it to people you know.

When we return, we will be spending some time looking at the results of the CLASS questionnaires, analysing and presenting the information.

Could you also investigate the issue of WASTE.

We are very wasteful and throw away lots of PACKAGING and FOOD.

Read this article from the Independent:

Britons 'dump one third of food'

By James Watson, PA

Published: 16 March 2007

The average household in Britain throws away almost a third of all the food it buys, a report is expected to reveal today. People throw away a total of 6.7 million tonnes of food a year according to the report by government waste body Wrap. The BBC reports that even though half of the waste is inedible, such as teabags, it still means more than 15p in every £1 spent on food is wasted. The report is expected to focus on climate change and will argue that up to one fifth of our carbon emissions are related to the production, processing, transport and storage of food. Most of the waste food goes into landfill sites, where it breaks down and produces gases that add to the greenhouse effect.

The report is expected to blame the main causes of food wastage on people buying more than they need, keeping food in fridges that are too warm and allowing food to go out of date. Jennie Price, chief executive of Wrap (the Waste and Resources Action Programme), said that as well as wasted money, energy was being squandered on producing and transporting food which was destined for the bin. This meant unnecessary emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, she pointed out. And she said there was a responsibility on supermarkets to help shoppers buy only the amounts of food that they really need.

Ms Price told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "When you think about the amount of effort and energy - and I mean carbon energy - that goes into food production, this really is a serious issue for everybody, including the supermarkets. "It does feel wrong that there is all that effort that's gone into the production of food - growing it and getting it to you - and then we throw it away. "We are paying for this food that gets thrown away, so if we buy a little less and only what we need, then it helps our pocket as well. "Yes, it's fine to have choice, but let's not waste money and let's not waste all that energy that was expended getting the food to us." A survey of 1,900 consumers for Wrap found that only 10% would admit to throwing away a significant proportion of the food they buy, which suggests that many are unaware of the amount they are wasting, said Ms Price. "If you think 15p or every pound you spend is going right in the bin, it does make you stop and think," she said. "We do it for all sorts of reasons. It's very easy to buy lots of food. We have masses of choice, we like to make sure there's plenty in the fridge and also we just don't see what we throw away."

People could reduce their waste by checking sell-by dates and arranging their meals to ensure they use food up before it goes off, as well as by looking in the fridge and cupboard before going shopping to see what they already have. Talks with supermarkets suggested they were "pretty concerned" about the issue, said Ms Price. But there was more they could do to help consumers avoid waste. "If you want three pork chops, they shouldn't sell you four. If you eat half a bag of salad, you should be able to reseal it and eat the rest next day.

"It's partly about what we can do, but it's also about what we are sold."

Write at least 4 points that you found INTERESTING about the article, and say why you found them interesting.

Visit the weblog at least twice over EASTER: new materials WILL be added regularly for your use.

Remember, we have some tight deadlines once we get back, and we need to get cracking !!

Happy Holidays

Mister Parkinson

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Edward Burtynsky

Came across his photos some years ago when they were the cover of a GRANTA book on Climate Change.
The site has some incredible photos about the landscapes created by mass consumption and industrial production.
Also a trailer for a film which I shall buy when it becomes available on DVD in the UK.
Check out Edward's website.


I mentioned HP Sauce a couple of postings back...
Here is a mystery about the sauce produced by a virtual colleague of mine: Helen N.
It is about the recent change that befell the sauce...

Can you solve the mystery ?
There's also a movie to help you on another virtual colleague: Adam L's GEOGRAPHY AT THE MOVIES site.

Why have 105 MPs signed a petition?

An estimated 24million HP brown sauce bottles are made a year, earning around £40million a year for Heinz.

Demand for HP sauce is increasing by more than three per cent a year and it is sold in 69 countries.

In 2006 fish and chip chain Harry Ramsden's was sold to a Swedish family,

In 2006 The Body Shop was bought by French cosmetic firm L'Oreal

Typhoo Tea was sold to an Indian company last year

The original recipe for HP Sauce was invented in 1899 by Harry Palmer, from whom the initials 'HP' derive.

The sauce was originally called ‘Harry Palmer's Famous Epsom Sauce’.

F G Garton's Sauce Manufacturing began to market the brown sauce at the site in Aston, Birmingham, in 1903

The name was shortened to ‘HP’ after Mr Garton heard that a restaurant in the Houses of Parliament had begun serving it.

Mr Palmer, an avid gambler at the Epsom races, was forced to sell the recipe to cover his £150 debts to F G Garton, a grocer from Nottingham.

In the 1990s, the sauce was promoted on TV by boxer Frank Bruno, along with commentator Harry Carpenter.

More recently, it has been advertised as the sauce of the traditional British white van man, the hen night and the wedding punch-up.

Abbey National is now Spanish-owned, Germany's BMW makes the Mini, and Spanish infrastructure giant Grupo Ferrovial is bidding for control of Britain's airport operator BAA.

The Transport and General Worker's Union said that when Heinz took over, the firm promised there would be no shift in production

In 1988, British firm HP Foods was sold to French Danone for £199million.

Heinz said that the move, planned for March 2007, would improve efficiency and productivity

US food giant Heinz bought the maker of HP sauce in a £470m ($855m) deal in June 2005

HP Foods employs 450 workers at two UK factories - in Birmingham and Worcestershire - and one US plant in New Jersey.

Birmingham is now moving away from heavy manufacturing into the pharmaceutical and service industries

David Hobin, Heinz vice president said there was spare capacity at Heinz's Elst site in Holland and it did not make financial sense to keep open the Aston factory.

Heinz said the bottling operation for Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce will be returned to its site in Worcester.

About 125 jobs are expected to go at the Aston site in the move in March 2007, said its owners Heinz.

The Houses of Parliament are shown as a logo on the bottle's label, and it is served in Commons canteens.

The MPs have demanded Heinz rethinks plans to move production of the famous brown sauce to the Netherlands.

More than 100 MPs have joined the campaign to save Birmingham's HP Sauce factory.

The move is the latest in a long line of British institutions to go abroad in pursuit of cheaper manufacturing costs.

Heinz bought the HP Foods parent company last year from French firm Danone.

HP sauce which is made from a blend of malt vinegar, dates, molasses, apples, tomatoes, salt, sugar, flour and a secret blend of spices

Heinz beat UK rivals Premier Foods and Associated British Foods to buy HP Foods.

The Aston factory which normally runs three times a week.

Thanks to Helen and Adam for their hard work on this.

Consumer Stories

Consumer Stories (from last Thursday's lesson...)

Premier Foods are a large company who are taking decisions about their operations which are aimed at saving money, but which have an impact on the possible FUTURES of the 245 employees at King's Lynn. This also puts the future of the iconic CAMPBELLS tower, which I went past on the train today, in doubt.

We discussed 4 ideas for FUTURES and make sure that you go to the relevant page of GeographyPages to download the document.

We talked about FATALISM – well done to Matthew for recognising this one possible future.

Also I mentioned that I was personally a fan of the river future. We have some influence, but not a total control…

We then looked at the story of Campbells and the story of the tower which is a real landmark of MY PLACE. We identified some other buildings that we associate with the town: the grain silo at the docks, COWA, KES’s cupola and St. Margaret’s Church towers and St. Nicholas’ spire.

Well done to Brent for identifying Andy Warhol as being associated with Campbells.

I was talking about the COCA COLA issue today and the growth of McDonalds: the role of Ray Kroc and the franchising of the restaurant.

I mentioned a story about the role of Coca Cola as a global brand and an icon and the possible secret ingredient.

I found the story I was referring to in the lesson. Bolivian farmers are, according to the article in The Guardian on Saturday the 17th of March trying to get the company to change its name. Coca Cola denies using cocaine being used in the drink at any time.

Another story about consumption recently was a story about how, although supermarkets are trying to persuade us to recycle bags and are paying Noel Edmonds and some ‘celebrities’ loads of cash to get us to do this, but if you order online they apparently deliver them in lots of different carrier bags.


  • Supermarkets have signed up to a Government voluntary code of practice which aims to see retailers reduce usage by 25% by 2008
  • Tesco hands out around 4 billion carrier bags a year
  • UK consumers get through around 10 billion bags a year in total: around 167 per person !
  • Often the alternatives are not offered or available – the National Consumer Council suggested they should be using their Bags for Life.

Supermarkets explained that it was important to keep different items such as frozen and fresh meats separate and also to separate items such as cleaning products. All fairly common sense.

More on carrier bags when we start the PEOPLE AS CONSUMERS unit. Some countries are taxing them.

And by coincidence, I read in the Guardian today that San Francisco is banning all bags made from petroleum base.

We also talked about the role of regional foods and companies, and how TNCs often intervene and ensure that their products are advertised: we mentioned ideas such as product placement, brand loyalty and how small companies are bought by larger. We also considered whether there were local brands, and mentioned Bernard Matthews.

Thanks to Tony C and Justin W for passing on details of the Pilot GCSE course that I missed in Birmingham earlier this week. Some useful exam feedback which we will feed back to you via this blog, and good to see that Agenda 21 was seen as being important. Just as well we’ve done lots on that !


First of all, head over to Tony's weblog for a great discussion on how shopping has changed - remember this is the focus of our next piece of coursework and the work that we will do in the final 3 months of the Year 10 course...

Also a relatively new weblog which has some Pilot GCSE content is Pete Flaxman's GeographySuperhoops blog. Some People as Consumers material there now.

Got a signed copy of Will Self's "The Book of Dave" and also Andrew Simms' "Tescopoly" while in Cambridge today on a fieldtrip. Plus a bottle of single malt: a rather nice single cask bottling of a Caol Ila from the isle of Islay... Books and whisky - the 2 essentials of a good shopping trip !


Here is a reminder of the assessment you had recently, just to help with your revision, and for any other schools doing the pilot....



Write your answers in the spaces provided – you have 30 minutes.

1. Explain, using evidence, why Svalbard is a good example of an extreme environment (4 marks)

2. Explain how physical processes have shaped the landscape on Svalbard. You may use a diagram to illustrate your answer (6 marks)

3. What is meant by the geographical term “Sustainability” (2 marks)

4. How have people made use of the extreme environment on Svalbard ? Use examples to support your answer, and think about the opportunities as well as the challenges (4 marks)

5. Suggest ways in which you think Svalbard might change significantly in the future (4 marks)

6. Suggest how the way in which Svalbard has been portrayed in the media (writings, photographs, film) has changed over the years (3 marks)

7. Although Svalbard is a remote place, it is not disconnected from the world. Define the meaning of the geographical term “interdependence” (2 marks)



If you finish before the time is up, go on to this: it will prove that you are perhaps capable of going for a higher tier of exam paper.

1. Imagine that you were going to carry out a fieldwork investigation in King’s Lynn looking at the possible changes that might happen in the town in the future.

How would you carry out the fieldwork ?

What techniques would you use to collect data ?

How would you present the data ?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Links with King's Lynn

It would be really good if everyone could add a COMMENT to this post to add ONE LINK that King's Lynn has with other parts of the world: the FAR PLACES in the Goodey Model.
I'll add one below:

Map from ABPORTS site.

Three tanker berths within Bentinck Dock provide reception facilities for petroleum products for Kuwait Petroleum (GB) Ltd.

So the petrol which you will find at Q8 petrol stations arrives in King's Lynn and is then distributed from there...
What other connections do we have ? Add a COMMENT, with a WEBLINK to a site which supports what you are suggesting.

People as Consumers

The cartoonist (John Ditchburn) always retains copyright of the cartoons. No cartoon can be resold in any form. Free for educational non-profit use from
Reproduced with thanks !

We are going to start this topic later in the week, so that you can get cracking on some data analysis before the end of half term. You will need to go out and collect data (remember that it isn't information until you add a meaning and a context...)


  • What does it mean to be a consumer ?
  • Consumption has spatial and environmental consequences depending on what choices are made as to what to consume
  • What are your own consumption patterns ?
  • How do they compare with others ?
  • What are the consequences of consumer choices ?

You are going to be keeping a consumption diary...
As an example of what this can involve, I spent one Sunday recording everything that I consumed.
This can be seen on the GeographyPages website Pilot GCSE pages.

You will also be doing a 3rd piece of coursework.
I am once again grateful to Paula Cooper and colleagues at the King Edward VI 5Ways School Birmingham for providing a framework for the coursework that we will be completing.

Over half term you need to do some data collection. This will be explained in the lesson later this week.
You need to think about the global impacts of your consumption as well as the impact on the local environment.

As always, you need to show a bit of creativity if you want to earn full marks for this coursework.

A lot of people blogging about this: notably Ollie B and Rich A
Check out if you need to produce a 'brainstorm' like diagram, perhaps as part of forthcoming coursework.
Nice interface and a chance to put them on blogs...

Computer problems and letter home...

Just a reminder of contents of today's letter:
  • Exam is on June 28th
  • Pre-release booklet will arrive in school shortly
  • We will be setting you some coursework data collection to do over the half term - very important that this is done so that we can get cracking when we return on 3rd piece of coursework
  • Computer problems causing issues for the 2nd piece of coursework - I will see what the exam board say, but they are unlikely to change the deadline - we will need to change the final piece of coursework and cover the work slightly differently to what I had planned...
  • Work Experience is just 2 weeks before the exam, so you will need to spend the slack time when you are off school REVISING !! Remember that this is vital if you are to reach your target grade
  • Remember to check this weblog and all the materials on the website for more depth
  • Remember the e-mail contact or the ability to add a comment, particularly during any times when you are not at school
  • You must keep up the momentum on this coursework - it's important that we get this completed as much as possible over half term
  • Remember that we can then RELAX in the final 2 weeks of term, but ONLY once the exam and coursework issues are out of the way...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Bottle of Britain !

Why has this product been in the news recently...
Condiments to the chef !

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pilot GCSE 3rd Cohort Meeting

Apologies again for missing this. Thanks to Justin W for sending some powerpoints, and for Tony C for other materials and stories from the day.
I'll post some key elements later when I get a chance.

If you're a pilot centre, could you please let me know if and when you get your pre-release materials. Would be good to share ideas when they arrive (or do you already have your copy ?)
Thanks !

My Place and links with other places

How did this man link King's Lynn with the rest of the world ?
More to come soon...

Also, good luck to Brad in his new school - thanks for your contributions to the Pilot Brad !

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

TNCs and Norfolk Foods

Remember the task for Friday / next week for Mrs. Clarke's group...
Benefits and drawbacks of the host country of 'allowing' Multinational companies to operate in them.

Also try to find some Norfolk brands and products...
I suggested that there is a good link with Bernard Matthews.
The Bernard Matthews story began back in 1950 with one man, 20 turkey eggs and a second hand incubator. Today the company is global, with an annual turnover of over £400 million and employing around 7,000 people worldwide.

By 1952, Bernard Matthews was producing 3000 turkey eggs at his Norfolk home and decided to leave his insurance job and move into turkey farming full-time. Three years later he bought a derelict mansion and 36 acres of land. Great Witchingham Hall, near Norwich, now restored to its former glory, remains the headquarters of the company today.

Ten years after its start-up, the Bernard Matthews company had become the biggest, most successful turkey manufacturer in Europe, a record the company still holds today.

Bernard Matthews today farms 8 million turkeys every year in the UK, feeding them a strictly vegetarian diet from the company's own feed mills and rearing them on 57 farms throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire. The company prides itself on creating healthy, high quality turkeys, maintaining the highest standards of agriculture and bird welfare.

Information from

Can you find other Norfolk foods / products ? I told you about a few YORKSHIRE-based companies and products - every region has them.

Here are some suggestions:

The rather nice logo below is for a group called PRODUCED IN NORFOLK. Check out the local producers. Click the logo to visit the site...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Green buildings...

Drove past this building on the outskirts of Southwold in Suffolk on Saturday.
What's green about it ? Apart from the roof....

More later...

Photo Competition

Found a calendar in my pigeon hole today, and details of a PHOTO COMPETITION which you could have a go at !
The calendar is produced by the Wash Estuary Strategy Group who I have featured on the blog before. They are after images of the WASH.
I have entry forms for you if you want to know more details, but basically:
"The image should relate to/be inspired by the heritage of the Wash. Topics can include for example, wildlife, landscape, historic / cultural buildings, farmers and fishermen at work, local scenes such as people enjoying traditional festivals / fetes /activities."

So get your camera out and make it snappy... The deadline for entries is the 11th of May. See me for more details...

Also check out COUNTRYFILE website, as this weekend they featured THE FENS heavily, and lots on the nature of the landscape in places such as Wicken Fen, which some of you may have visited in Year 8, and Ely.


Sorry to those who I was hoping to meet at the Pilot GCSE day on 20th of March in Birmingham. I feel like I have lost a lot of time with some exam groups due to the demands on my apparent skills since Christmas...
A particular pity not to meet up with Tony Cassidy...
Justin W has very kindly offered to keep me updated with anything I miss, but if you come to read this blog as a result of attending the conference, then please get in touch and let me know what you think, and perhaps let me know of the work you've been doing...
Why not start your own blog ?

Also realised I hadn't explained the red wine in the earlier picture clue, well that's an allusion to the UB40 song of the same name, and that's a link with job losses and unemployment which could unfortunately be the fate of some of the Campbell's employees in the posting below...

No computers again ! Not so souper...

Why a tin of soup ? All will be revealed !

Well, we're now into the 3rd week with computer issues... This is beginning to have a slight impact on coursework, so we're going to need to work extra hard when they're back working again. Of course, that doesn't stop those of you with Internet access and a computer at home from getting on with it !

Today, Mrs. Clarke used the maps with you to explore local changes and come up with some plans. Lessons were disrupted again, this time by the Study support sessions - we will be looking for you to put what you have learned into practice !!

We still need to do a few extra bits on the links between the UK and the rest of the world, and also some more bits on our place, and we're going to do that this week.

The picture clues in the last post were so hard I didn't expect anyone to get the answer right, but it was worth a go. Let's start with BRANSTON BEANS. They are one of the fastest growing brands on the market thanks to their catchy advertising campaign (or is it their taste ?)
Many people have what is called a BRAND LOYALTY to certain brands: they will only buy them, and think that other brands (particularly some of the supermarket own brands are inferior)For many people, Beanz Meanz Heinz...
They even get fan mail

Branston Beans are one of the many brands owned by PREMIER FOODS. They are one of the largest food companies in the world, and have larger operations in the UK than companies such as Nestle.
In August 2006, Premier Foods bought Campbells.
The Campbells Tower in King's Lynn is one of the most famous buildings in the town, and the Campbell's brand one of the most iconic, thanks to the art prints by Andy Warhol (don't say you've never heard of him!)This rather nice pic by FLICKR USER Jane Goth - for which many thanks - let you know if you object to your image being used...

Just months after that, it was announced that the Campbells factory will close before the end of the year, with the loss of around 245 jobs!
Read about the takeover and subsequent closure in this LYNN NEWS ARTICLE.
(You had a copy given to you in the lesson)

The decision was apparently to cut COSTS.
We will be exploring the issues, with the aid of some useful materials adapted from Tony Cassidy.

We will also be doing more about the issue in THIS STORY as well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Global Links

Just putting together some work for Friday, inspired by some of Tony's work..
What has this:
got to do with this:got to do with King's Lynn ?

Answer on Friday...

The Branston Beans tin by the way is from my very latest favourite site: SEVENOAKS ART, where Dave Sutton kindly makes available some excellent free animated gifs - suitable for powerpoints and blogs. Excellent flag animations, which I shall be using for my new Cricket World Cup resource which will be made this week (I hope)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mixed fortunes in the East of England

First of all thanks to KGB blog for link to NATURAL ENGLAND. This is a new website which combines resources from a range of other places. The EAST OF ENGLAND section of the website has a range of useful resources including a very useful map.Also some more materials and links.
There was an excellent article in the Guardian this weekend about the contrasting fortunes of two of our 'local' seaside resorts: Southwold and Great Yarmouth.
Read the article HERE.

Also still time to catch Monday 5th of March's edition of Panorama, which featured the Ethical Man who is trying to live an ethical lifestyle as regards consumption.
An interesting idea as we shall shortly be moving on to the idea of PEOPLE AS CONSUMERS.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Weather Pixie

Noticed this little addition on blogs by virtual colleagues Val and Victoria, so added one. Scroll down to see it in the right hand toolbar. It feeds in the latest weather information from RAF Marham.

It seems to have a few timing issues...

Thanks also to Mr. Clarke for coming in again this Thursday to speak to Mrs. Clarke's group.
I will be adding some of the new slides and commentary that he added having learned from his first visit what worked the best...

Svalbard and Northern Lights (the book)

Remember that our Extreme Environment context is a POLAR region called SVALBARD.
One thing that we have to do is to be able to talk about how the region is portrayed in the media, including literature...
One book set in Svalbard: albeit a parallel version is Philip Pullman's "Northern Lights". This has some excellent descriptions of the icy landscape in Part 3 of the book.

Noel Jenkins has consistently produced interesting resources for use with Google Earth, and he has now launched another excellent resource idea using text from "Northern Lights". This is a book I read over 10 years ago. The front cover of the edition I have shows the alethiometer: a very geographical looking device.

The action in the first book ends in Svalbard, but not the Svalbard that we know - one that is subtly different i.e: it has armies of polar bears and witches in a parallel world, which has Norroway and Brytain.
Noel's idea is to use Google Earth to find the locations in the book.
This, as Noel says, is difficult on Svalbard except for the small areas where there are high definition images.
Check out NOEL's PAGE for more.

Noel uses the text to explore the landscape of Svalbard, which is shown in all its glory in the wonderful images of Laurel McFadden at her COLD PHOTO blog.

Also looking forward to the film, which is apparently due out in December 2007.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Consumer Stuff...

Just taking a blog break…

Spent the last 4 hours marking and sorting through a range of various ongoing work tasks, some of which have been sitting waiting my attention for a while..

Enjoying the first half of ‘Everytown’ (read various reviews of it today too in the Guardian) where philosopher Julian Baggini moved into my old village near Rotherham. As Sarfraz Manzoor said “Although Baggini tries to fit in he is an outsider in this world – a stranger in his own country.”

Also currently watching Bear Grylls in the Alps: good for Extreme Environments for those centres doing mountains as their context.

The Guardian have given away a world map today which has stickers with Wonders of the World: the 7 wonders of the Ancient World today, to be followed by the Wonders of the Natural World, Alternative Wonders and Wonders of the 20th Century

An interesting source of discussion.

Quite a few People as Consumers links around too:

Julian Baggini talks about the importance of CONVENIENCE to people today. This overrides other factors. He mentions the existence of motorway service stations as one piece of evidence of this…

New film out in May called “Black Gold”, with a tagline “Wake up and smell the coffee”. It is an expose of the coffee industry in a similar way that “Supersize Me” investigated McDonalds and Fast Food.

Also finally got round to reading Fairtrade magazine “Fair Comment” for Spring 2007 which I got just before Fairtrade fortnight. Good quote by Dame Anita Roddick on the front cover:

“If trade undermines life, narrows it or impoverishes it, then it can destroy the world. If trade enhances life, then it can better the world.”

Interesting article on Bananas in the centre of the magazine: good that Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are switching all their bananas to Fairtrade certified source.

Article on the front of the Daily Mail that the Government are going to try to change all light bulbs from incandescent bulbs to low energy ones. There are various tables which give information about the energy used by the bulbs, but not the cost of actually producing them, or disposing of them, which needs to be factored in to the overall environmental cost.

Another article which I read in ‘The Times’ on Tuesday suggested that what we should do to save the planet is to switch off our gadgets. This is cheaper than developing new technology. It would be cheaper to use washing machine on lower temperature cycles than buy a wind turbine…