Friday, 26 February 2010

Buying your way out of guilt

Having read a chapter in my studying about carbon emissions, the Kyoto Protocol and the inequality of the effects of climate change around the world, I did a bit of surfing on the internet.

I would like to talk about carbon offsetting..  Not just in relation to the big companies who wish to build a new power station, so in exchange they kick a few unimportant families out of a suitably sized area in Uganda and plant some trees.

I'm thinking about the Home Carbon Offsetter...
  
http://www.carbonfootprint.com/carbonoffset.html

First calculate your carbon footprint - I didn't, because the information required was on a par with filling in an application for a mortgage or student loan (which is worse than a mortage application, but that's another story)... then you can just click on a button to pay to plant a tree in Kenya, the UK or South America; you can even 'prevent being given 7 toasters for your wedding' (seriously, who gets given even one toaster as a wedding present these days?) and ask people to buy tree planting instead.

I know this is all good and environmental... but, especially for the well-heeled who fly global for a 15 minute meeting without a second thought, or heat their 7 bedroom houses to 25C, to me it just smacks of buying a way out of guilt, because we in the West can afford it. 

Instead of changing our ways and flying less, or driving less, or buying fewer cheap clothes from places like China, or buying local produce... we can just carry on as before and feel OK about it as we add another Kenyan tree to our Shopping Basket.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The last thing on my mind

As I approach the final stretch of my first year of Open University study, and I have signed up for my second year (Exploring Psychology), I have been thinking about where I want to go from there.  During the second year I need to decide on which direction I want to go:  straight Psychology, or with Criminology, or Sociology?   I dabbled with the idea of Philosophy but quickly dropped that after reading a 'quick guide' to the subject - it's all just too deep for me!

Recently I have been thinking, somewhat ironically as it would seem to those who know me, that I want to work with children... not in the normal 'working with children' way but in a way that might help those with difficult backgrounds and help prevent them turning to crime.   My criminology course last year was fascinating, and I read a lot about criminial children and youth; the recent newspaper articles about the two boys who tortured two others made me angry with their parents and I wanted to help those two boys, not 'lock them up and throw away the key'. 

As I said to himself this morning, studying criminology and then working with adults seems to be rather like 'shutting the door after the horse has bolted' - surely better to work on the future generations?