Saturday 30 October 2010

Why not jet off on a long haul flight and discuss global warming?

As an occasional student of Greenwash my attention was drawn by this:

This year saw the inaugural Hay Festival in the Maldives, which attracted some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers to debate the issues of democracy and climate change.

Hang on. It takes ten hours to fly to The Maldives. Not terribly Green.

Two heroes of the event were Mark Lynas, author and adviser to the Maldivian President on climate change, and Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project.

I used to like Mark Lynas and his book Six Degrees is an important one. But then he panicked about the future and developed an enthusiasm for nuclear power, which was roundly criticised. Then he became a paid adviser to the Maldives government and popped up at the Copenhagen summit, blaming its collapse on China. Naomi Klein, on the other hand, blamed Obama and the USA. Blaming China, India or even the USA seems a trifle hypocritical since Britain is just as complicit in global warming as other developed or developing states: Rather than cutting our contribution to global warming by 19% since 1990, as the government boasts, we have increased it by about 29%. It's the same story in most developed nations.

As for Tim Smit. The Eden Project has in the past been accused of some very dodgy links and things don’t seem to have changed much over the years:

The eco-town developers and the Eden Project spend a lot of time trumpeting their “Green” credentials, but this can be considered little more than “Greenwash” if they are happy to associate themselves with a 240,000 tonne incinerator.

The list of attending

environmental writers and campaigners

at the Maldives conference included

Montagu Don.

Who he?

Celebrity gardener Monty Don will teach the students how to create compost from waste and how to grow their own fruit and vegetables, with the aim of teaching islanders how to reduce dependency on the transportation of supplies.



The Maldives is apparently also a great place to renew marriage vows!

Jet-setting environmentalism and colourful local folk customs – no wonder the Maldives is a natural focus for comedy.