30 October 2007

UN climate conference: views from Indonesia

With the UN climate change conference taking place in Bali in December, the implications of current policies on climate justice will be an important consideration. Already several Indonesian NGOs have expressed their concerns at the current ‘mercantilist’ policies that dominate international policy making on this issue. Their full statement is reproduced here.

On 23 October, there was also a protest against carbon trading in Denpasar, capital of Bali. Top marks to whoever made a banner that read: “Our Forest is not a Carbon Toilet for Developed Countries.”

14 October 2007

Facebook: the twitching net curtain of the net

Some of my best friends would not be seen dead on Facebook. Can you blame them? It is, they claim, the death of real-life socialising, another way of chaining you to your computer, and a total abuse of privacy. That said, I like Facebook. In a guilty pleasure kind of way. It is the twitching net curtain of the net. Somewhere between socially sanctioned noseyness and an alumni association.

Yet it is also risky. Like most Facebookers, my ‘friends’ list encompasses a motley crew of the long lost, the estranged, the hardly known, the passing acquaintance, the former flatmate, the ‘person I once worked with’, family members and best mates. This is, as the Trade Union Congress pointed out a few months ago, an accident waiting to happen . Put simply, the kind of information sometimes posted on Facebook, from drunken musings to workplace bitching, are not likely to endear you to your boss. It disturbs the work life balance.

Another aspect of the same problem is that there are friends and then there are friends. This post demonstrates the point quite well: “The trouble with Facebook is that it’s a confused social space. There are too many different facets of personality being exposed through social openness. So much so, in fact, that it gets a bit difficult to manage.”It also has some handy diagrams and suggestions on how to keep them separated. Not in a friendship-apartheid kindof way, just recognising that the social networks we inhabit are uneven and that flattening those out may not always be such a hot idea

10 October 2007

Footballers and nurses

I must admit to being pretty impressed by the efforts of Noreena Hertz, who once wrote a pretty useless book on globalisation, to convince Premier League footballers to donate a day’s pay to help nurses in financial hardship.

Unfortunately, the Royal College of Nursing is having trouble collecting the money from the footballers in question, who’s promises are proving about as reliable as government pledges of aid money: £200,000 has been collected, but that leaves £550,000 of outstanding promises yet to be collected.

Update: Not quite sure what to make of this quote, although my instinct isn’t really to feel sorry for Premiership footballers. “I am disgusted with the manner in which this campaign has gone about its fundraising. The players at this club support any number of local and national charities and good causes, either via financial support, giving up their own time or both. This is often done privately, meaning they neither receive nor ask for any public gratitude or praise. We invited Dr Hertz into the club to hear her appeal but we were already concerned by the way in which those who had not agreed to donate a day’s salary had been named and shamed in the national media. The campaign’s fundraising style has bordered on blackmail” - Gareth Southgate.