Roz and her Amazing Technicolour Bag Coat. With Trish and Mike from Greener.

Today I met up with the Greener Upon Thames folks in London, donned a coat of plastic bags, and chatted to Mike Dilger on camera for the BBC Inside Out programme. The combination of TV cameras and coat of garbage attracted a number of curious glances from passersby on Westminster Bridge, but that was exactly what we wanted, and we were able to bag (so to speak) a few more signatures for our petition (and yes, that IS a hint for you to sign it too!).

With Mike Dilger of BBC's Inside Out

We then headed over to City Hall to hand over an early Christmas “gift” for Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. Courtesy of our friends at the 5 Gyres Institute, we presented his representative with a sample of plastic from the North Atlantic Gyre, where we fear many of the Olympic bags could end up if they are not banned.

At City Hall with Boris's Christmas present

Thanks to Greener for mobilising the forces to make this happen at such short notice – and especially to Anna for filming the occasion for the Greener archives, and Stefania for her magnificent effort in staying up until 4am last night sewing bags onto an old coat. Let’s hope that the results will justify the hard work.

20 Comments

  • Lets hope Boris listens!…Well done to all concerned :)….sadly there are lots of greedy super powerful companies involved in the Olympics who have one agenda…profit…and hang the consequences!
    Sign the petition:)
    David Church

    • Companies cannot be “greedy”; only people can be so. Companies that make profits for their shareholders do so only because people choose to buy their products. Companies provide plastic bags only because people accept them.

      • Hmm John, not wishing to be too pedantic here is a definition of Greedy:
         ” Greedy, greed·i·er, greed·i·est. .
        excessively or inordinately desirous of wealth, profit, etc.; avaricious: the greedy owners of the company. ”
        Ok, so the corporation itself may not have the ability to be greedy in itself…but those that run it do? Are you suggesting that some financial institutions, Oil Companies multi nationals etc etc do not have a type of , say , vicarious ability to be greedy by the actions of some of the owners / shareholders/ investors etc by chasing maximum profit regardless of some of the consequences …including environmental impact?

        • I posted a reply from my smart phone, and it ended up on the main thread … oh well, so much for my smart fingers ;))

      • John…if plastic bags were not offered to the customers…they could not accept them?….so lets hope there is reduced  chance of them being offered at the 2012 Olympics!

        • So dump responsibility on the businesses that try to keep down costs so as to be able to sell merchandise for low prices in competition with other businesses? For goodness sake accept some responsibility and encourage others to refuse plastic bags; don’t keep trying to blame businesses for the problems! They respond to their customers – that’s how they survive!

          Roz’s blog has a serious objective and can do without petty little attacks on “big business” when it’s we, their customers who have the power to change their behavior. Making mindless attacks on companies merely drives away the more serious followers who know how things work and can make useful contributions. I do not want to see Roz’s campaign become just another site full of mindless attacks on irrelevancies.

  • Unfortunately Boris doesn’t have the authority to ban anything; it needs an Act of Parliament for that. However, the more publicity you can achieve the more likely something will get done. Remember, too, to emphasize the positive effects of a ban – people react much more to a positive argument that to a negative one. Keep at it, Roz!

  • As I recall in my accounting class 101 a hundred years ago (more or less ;-), it was explained that corporations were created to give an enterprise (e.g., the sole proprietorship) eternal life, to remain functional beyond the death of the individual … so to me whether a corporation is greedy or not is like debating “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” or “how many people are the essence of the corporation?” … people and all our attributes — save death — make up the corporation. And since the raison d’être of a corporation is to make a profit, isn’t it greedy, by definition? The problem is that profits take precedence over people. We are expendable in the overall scheme of the corporation, so it will survive indefinitely. Dead comes to a corporation when it stops generating profits. Greed is its lifeblood, no? That’s what has got us into this pickle. 

    Listen to this guy – http://bit.ly/faceSpace
    On November 8th – http://occupylove.org/

    • I wonder if it would be possible to create a profit-making entity whose only purpose by design up front was to grow money to make it work for sustainability efforts: buying land for The Nature Conservancy, buying land for indigenous Amazonian groups, or supporting CSAs, educating the public on Peruvian oil, plastic bags, PVC in the home, Coltan in the Congo, water/food cookers in Sub-Saharan Africa, etc.  
      Is there anything like this out there now? I know very little about this. Flor.com has a superb business/sustainability model, but still they’re in it for themselves, with a side benefit of being green (because it makes good business sense, and I’m not complaining). 

      It might be easier to give Donald Trump a brain transplant, I know. 

      • It  will be very easy. All you need to do is come up with a good or service that others are willing to pay for and then dedicate the profits to any cause you choose. Lots of them exist already; they are usually referred to as “non-profit” because they do not pay any taxes on the profit that they donate to registered charities.

    • That’s half the trouble: Too many people think that “Accounting 101” is all that’s needed to understand the vast complexities of economics. To say that making a profit is greed by definition ignores what greed is. I have recently invested in a small business, forgoing current income to do so. If the business does more than break-even, i.e. makes a profit then I may get back the money I invested together with a bit extra to pay for my contribution. Does that make me greedy? My contribution actually helped provide employment for other people without which they would be living off other people’s taxes. When a company makes a profit it does not diminish the monies available elsewhere; it increases them.

      • I dont think anyone is questioning that reasonable profits are sensible John,..your description is clearly not “greedy”.
        Not all businesses take your approach though.
         

        • At the root of the problem are unlimited growth and failure to account for externalized costs. I have heard executives of major corporations talk about being “good corporate citizens” in context with staying within the law or regulatory boundaries set by industry governing bodies while pushing the limits in order to gain competitive advantage and to maximize production and profit. This is where greed is abusive … a “no holds barred” attitude without considering consequences beyond the immediate profit and growth motive.

          “Onward and upward” is not healthy in this regard.

        • As I said, a company cannot be “greedy”. But if you think that you know of one, which is it and have you examined its annual accounts to see how it has used its profits?

          • John…..I think I have explained my views on ” greed” in my way of thinking.
            I guess we will just have to  disagree :.
            Seems we have differing views on the interpretation of words…never mind, I would hate to clog up Roz’s blog ,
            D

          • Does my interpretation/definition of greed give us a common ground? From previous post I wrote “… pushing the limits in order to gain competitive advantage and to maximize production and profit. This is where greed is abusive … a ‘no holds barred’ attitude without considering consequences beyond the immediate profit and growth motive.”

    • Pickle indeed Doug!! Paying a reasonable return to the investors and decent salaries to the emplyees is, of course, sensible. As you say , quite often the desire for greater and greater profit takes over.

  • semantics shematics, we here seem to be on the same side, effectively, so lets direct energies towards what is exactly that: be effective

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