Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chinese Recycling and Travelling by Moral Submarine

It seems that in eco-vandal China, there might be more recycling going on in than in right-on Europe, even if folks there don't separate their rubbish. But as the article points out, there's plenty of fly-tipping going on too.

On matters environmental, Letizia has an interesting article over on her blog (italian and english versions) about the modern day equivalent of the medieval practice of selling indulgences: offsetting your own carbon emissions.

I must admit that I'm torn on this issue. I confessed (blimey - even more antiquated religious behaviour!) up front on this blog a long time ago, that our trip is indefensible from an ecological point of view. Folks who sail around the world with their kids (they exist!) are safely on the moral higher ground here. Given my lack of sailing expertise, I'm happier for us to travel physically well above sea-level even if we're in a moral submarine. (That was one of the more contorted metaphors you are likely to read this week. Altogether now - We All Live in a Moral Submarine...). But I do like the idea of a building the environmental impact of an activity into its price, and letting market pressures do the rest. Of course the marketplace only works well if there is transparency and trust in place - elements that are usually underwritten by national governments or international bodies. There's no sign yet of any standards being put in place, or met, by private sellers of carbon offsets. And that means more time in purgatory for me. Pass the chestnuts, will you?

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