Tag archive for "environment"

Future Earth

How long do greenhouse gases stay in the air?

No Comments 19 January 2012

It’s always been one of those questions for me. A little like ‘What does a tonne of CO2 look like?’ – something I looked into last autumn.

Well, the answer to this latest question is that the length of time these gases stay in the air differs from gas-to-gas. Continue Reading

Future Earth

Future proofing our planet: can we do it?

No Comments 10 January 2012

Now here’s a thought provoking start to your week: Rupert Read, a Philosopher at the University of East Anglia has suggested creating a new council responsible for protecting the Earth for future generations.

Read’s report, Guardians of the Future, suggests that this new democratic body, to be known as Guardians of Future Generations, would have two core powers. Firstly, it would have the ability to veto legislation that threatens the basic needs and interests of future people. It would also have the power to force a review, following suitable public petition of any existing legislation that threatens the interests of future people. Continue Reading

Future Tech

Save money while saving the environment

1 Comment 21 November 2011

Last week I switched my electricity supplier to Good Energy, the only company in the UK to generate energy from clean and sustainable sources. The company uses wind, small-scale hydroelectric and solar power, but no fossil fuels or nuclear. The price of making the switch was miniscule – by my estimates, I will only pay about £350 per year more. This isn’t an insignificant sum, but it’s a lot less than I anticipated for emissions-free energy. Continue Reading

Future Earth

A world without countries

No Comments 26 October 2011

I have always believed that globalisation is bad for the environment.

Individual states, when left to their own devices, tend to protect their national interests. They look after number one instead of the greater good. The more a state dominates the world, the more it looks at the world through its own filter. Even the coming together of nation states creates problems. Think of the Eurozone crisis. Such financial crises become global problems because of globalisation, and they require a global response as a result. Continue Reading

On Writing

The best of the blogs

2 Comments 21 October 2011

Since finishing the sequel to The Human Race, I’ve taken some time out of writing to catch up with life in general. And for me, that has meant reading. A lot of reading…

Regular readers of A Rush of Green will know that my own posts tend to focus on developments in science and technology and the environment, or look at how I’m fairing with my writing. So with this in mind, I’ve decided to pull together a list of my favourite blog posts over the last few months, each of which focus on one or more of these themes. Continue Reading

apple and the enviroment

Future Tech

Steve Jobs’ legacy: how green is Apple?

1 Comment 11 October 2011

Perhaps it was fitting that when I read of Steve Jobs’ passing on Wednesday morning, I did so on my much-loved iPad. Like many others I was saddened by the news, for all the reasons that have been blogged and tweeted over the last seven days. I have and will remain a huge admirer – and I have to confess there is more than a little of Mr Jobs in Ethan Rae, the reclusive billionaire who Uma Jakobsdóttir approaches in The Human Race to launch her device that will stop global warming.

Ironically, the one area that Apple has never dominated and really should is the green one. In fact when I blogged recently about the Carbon Disclosure Project, I was quite shocked to learn that Apple had refused to participate. Add to this the well-documented environmental issues alleged to exist within the Apple supply chain, and perhaps the company is not as green as we might expect for a company with a reputation for innovation.

When it comes to Apple and the environment, does any of this matter to the brand? In one sense, no. The numbers speak for themselves. At the time of writing nearly 300 million iPods, just shy of 400 million iPhones and 30 million-odd iPads have been sold. With such market domination, perhaps Apple believes it can ignore the “green brigade”.

You might argue that the environment issue has nothing to do with the business’ priorities. Apple’s focus is design and marketing. The dirty bit – manufacturing – is outsourced overseas, to others. But Apple has done a poor job of managing its outsourced work. Such a disregard for wider responsibilities is both naïve and wrong.

It reminds me of another famous American brand with a very similar business model. Nike ignored the back end practices and, following a Greenpeace campaign, became mired in bad PR and changed its practices. I have to say I would be pleased to see Apple do the same.

Of course you could argue that Apple and the environment are not easy bedfellows, because Apple’s entire business model is anti-green. Convincing millions of us – me included – to buy things we never knew we needed is mass consumerism at its most extreme. True, most Western firms (particularly consumer ones) do that in one form or another. Yet somehow I expect better of Apple and their enigmatic leader. Perhaps that is the real triumph of the Apple brand: that I assumed it would be progressive in every field. Such is the cult of personality. After all, why should I hold Steve Jobs up on a higher pedestal than, say, the CEO of Shell, HSBC or Sainsburys?

And so the question remains: what am I, the reluctant environmentalist , going to do about it? Do I care deeply enough not to buy the products? Gulp. That is where Apple has, for the time being, done its job. I didn’t own an Apple product until 2004 (a beautiful, ice-blue mini iPod), but I was immediately addicted. More recently I fell in love with the iPhone and then the iPad. Next on my shopping list: the iPhone 4S…

I am papering over the cracks. I have, for instance, taken the first steps to reduce my energy consumption. Just this week I signed up for electricity from the only energy company in the UK to generate 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy.

Perhaps the only thing that will stop me buying Apple products is my suspicion that with the loss of Steve Jobs, Apple has become little different from all the other faceless, corporate juggernauts out there.

Image credit: Y.

On Writing

The Human Race – now on Kindle!

3 Comments 23 September 2011

There has been a lot of excitement in the Heaton household this weekend: my publisher has just launched the Kindle edition of The Human Race! It’s been a while coming and, as you can see, this new edition also has a new cover. I like it a lot. I like the original cover too, but some readers found it off-putting. Since it was first published the book has found a wider audience, and the decision to review the artwork was taken.

It also seems fitting for an eco-thriller to be published online. So, as I’m sure you can tell, I’m very pleased. But I’m also a little sad. Continue Reading

Future Earth

Carbon reduction: is it good for business?

3 Comments 20 September 2011

Are big companies altruistic? And by “altruistic”, I mean the sort of altruism portrayed by Ethan Rae in The Human Race. Ethan gives away 25 per cent of his annual net profits to good causes such as carbon reduction, which, over a two-year period, amounts to more than £250 million. It’s a lot of money, but Ethan has his reasons and, importantly, the wherewithal to do it. His company, Rae Holdings, is private so he can pretty much do what he wants. In other words, he isn’t answerable to shareholders. Continue Reading

Future Earth

What Would Ray Anderson Do?

No Comments 06 September 2011

Have you heard of Ray Anderson? Up until recently, I hadn’t. However since his death in August 2011 I have not only learnt a lot about him, but come to admire him greatly. Why?

Ray Anderson was an extremely active and successful environmentalist, which, given his commercial background, is unusual to say the least. In his late thirties, he founded InterfaceFLOR, a commercial carpet-tile manufacturing business. By the time of his death, it was turning over $1 billion a year and employing 5,000 people around the world. Continue Reading

Future Earth

Could America’s ‘bigger is better’ attitude help save the environment?

No Comments 02 August 2011

I’ve just spent a week in Florida and the trip involved quite a lot of driving – nearly 1000 miles in total. As ever, I was amazed at how huge the place is compared to England. When I got home, I did a little research and discovered that the Sunshine State is even bigger than I thought. Way bigger in fact. England has just 50,337 square miles of land. By comparison, Florida is thirty per cent larger with a land mass of 65,755 square miles. And that’s just one state in the US. Texas is more than five times bigger! Continue Reading

Future Travel

Electric cars: cutting or increasing emissions?

No Comments 04 March 2011

This big push towards electric cars has long puzzled me. On the face of it, the move looks like a great way to reduce emissions by replacing the internal combustion engine with batteries. However, what everyone seems to be forgetting is that in most countries electricity is generated by coal, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels around.

According to the World Coal Association, coal accounts for 41% of global electricity production. However, what is really worrying is that in some of the world’s largest countries, coal accounts for an even larger percentage of electricity production; namely the USA at 49% and China at 79%. Continue Reading

Future Earth

Good news: deforestation is declining

No Comments 18 February 2011

Forests have been in the news a lot recently, with the Government halting its controversial plans to sell publicly-owned forests to timber companies. But did you know that deforestation is on the decline?

The Government’s U-turn has prompted plenty of headlines. However I think that the decline in deforestation is also worth shouting about. Recently, much of what I read about the environment seems to have a gloomy bent. Barely a day goes by without some apocryphal story about the planet’s depleted oceans, polluted atmosphere, melting glaciers or threatened wildlife.

The deluge can be overwhelming and a little depressing. So when some good news like this comes along, it is worth spreading. Continue Reading

Future Earth

Living with “green guilt”: is it a progressive condition?

No Comments 07 February 2011

So-called “green guilt” appears to be contagious – and I am one of the afflicted.

My research for The Human Race ten years ago prompted my interest in the green movement. Ever since, I have struggled with the green guilt of my CO2-laden life and its impact on our planet. A lot of my friends and family seem to have battled with that same feeling. One or two have even become eco warriors.  For many, however, their green guilt appears to have waned over the years. Many friends have, one by one, given up the ghost and returned to their old ways.

As for me: I waiver constantly. Yesterday I realised why.

For the human race, living a green life is, was and always will be about poverty. When I was poor my life was infinitely, albeit unintentionally, greener. Take transport. I caught the bus or cycled everywhere. I didn’t own a car until I was 25. I shared a house with three of my friends and we holidayed in Wales or the Dales. I bought second-hand clothes and taped my music. I shopped at Asda.

However as I became richer, I became more wasteful. Continue Reading

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Reviews of The Human Race

Unputdownable. Yes, I know it's not a word, but it definitely applies here, anyway. That's the word I'm going with, to describe The Human Race by O.C. Heaton. - Hira N. Hasnain

An outstanding first novel from O.C. Heaton that catapults him into the Best Seller league… - Justine Bond

"This is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on part two!" - L. H. Bowers

"If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well." - David Bryson, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

For further reviews of The Human Race by O.C. Heaton click here.

Author Bio

Charles Heaton British thriller writer O.C. Heaton, author of The Human Race, is fascinated by the past, present and future of human evolution. (Image credit: Ross Parry Agency) Read More>>

O.C. Heaton’s bookshelf

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O.C. Heaton's post about Harold Haw was featured in the Guardian.

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O.C.'s bookshelf: read

The BeachThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLife of PiOuter DarkThe FirmAlexander 3: The Ends of the Earth: A Novel

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