Perhaps I am the last person to become aware of this, but it strikes me as a positive move that the DfE Sustainable Development Unit has been moved within the DfE's Policy Impact Division with an objective to mainstream sustainability in policy development and impact assessment across policy areas. Time will tell, of course, just how good a move this proves to be, but I'll travel hopefully for now.
Monthly Archives: October 2010
The BBC's Points West had what was billed as a good conservation story last night, and Daphne and Belinda were in the studio to tell us all about it. Belinda was an otter and Daphne was its "owner", or so the studio hosts said. Whilst coo'ing and ooh'ing, and isn't she sweet'ing, over this hapless, un-wild creature, they kept a sensible distance. Daphne finished up wearing Belinda as an on the shoulder accessory – just as my long-gone grandmother did her dead fox (head, feet, brush and all). I watched this with an emotion bordering on disgust.
Apparently there was a good news story here about otters returning to the West's rivers, but rather than go out and film (or take shots from their considerable archive), the BBC took the cheap (in both senses) option and decided on a chat show interview. There was a man there from Bristol Zoo as well, also keeping his distance from Belinda / Daphne, whilst reinforcing the positive conservation story. The irony was that some sensible and important things were said about what the public should / shouldn't do in the countryside, but why did it need a circus to get these points across?
I have just caught up with a recent story in the Times Education Supplement under the headline: "Climate change strategy falls victim to Tories' anti-centralising drive". To my bemusement, this turned out to be the Sustainable Schools Initiative. To describe this as a climate change strategy traduces its intent; its scope and ambition were always far greater than this. How disappointing the TES has been so off-hand and careless, given its earlier interest and much more nuanced coverage of the initiative. This does, however, illustrate a growing tendency to reduce the complexity and breadth of sustainability issues to a focus, one way or another, on climate, as the recent Unesco report on ESD in the UK in 2010 noted. The Department for Education was unavailable for comment, it seems. As appalled as I was, no doubt.
I have been away – two luxurious weeks with little thought of ESD. I come back to discover that I've missed a mini-drama. It seems that those well-meaning folk at the 10:10 movement thought it would be a good idea to commission Richard [ 4 weddings and a funeral in Notting Hill ] Curtis to write a short film (oddly only 4 rather than 10 minutes long) to support their campaign to have more people to commit to cutting their carbon footprint by 10% in 2010. He did this, and the film [ No Pressure ] was duly posted on the 10:10 website only for it to be pulled a few hours later, as the Guardian noted. It seems, shock / horror, some people were upset. What's not clear is whether the film was censored because 10:10 were themselves eventually upset by the film, or because they were upset because others were upset (which would never do, of course in these correct times). I suspect the latter otherwise they'd never have posted the film in the first place. Anyway, cue groveling apology from Lizzie Gillet, 10:10's global campaign director.
Who was it, I wonder, that didn't know that RC was a satirist? Who was it that was so trusting that it was only after the film was made, approved and posted that problems were perceived? Who was it that has wasted so much creative time and effort? I hope 10:10 trustees are finding out.
Meanwhile, you can watch the film here. Enjoy. I did – all 4 gloriously funny minutes of it. Perhaps it was the idea of executing children and teachers who are sufficiently strong-minded not to be pressured into doing something they don't believe in that was too close to the bone for some viewers?
PS, The Guardian says that more than 96,000 people have now signed up to the 10:10 campaign. This does not seem a lot.