Issue 17 : 1 May 2007  

Hello <$firstname$>

Sorry for the long gap between newsletters. I’ve been in demand! Be careful what you wish for... I was always optimistic about The Carbon Coach as a business, as well as a campaign, but I didn’t foresee being quite so sought after. Still, what a wonderful problem to have, hey?

In this issue:

Fasten your seatbelts: rejoice in the accelerating rate of change as the world ‘gets it’
Taking the lead: our leaders have begun to do just that
Feel the force: Friday 4 May sees Come Off It day and Black Out Britain join forces
C&C: support the coolest cause on the planet

New hope

The recent spate of glorious (if worryingly unseasonal) weather has seemed to me as if Mother Earth is offering us an olive branch. As in, “Hey you guys, you’ve seen for yourself just how rough, ruthless and random the weather is gonna get – here’s a little reminder of what you stand to lose if you keep refusing that major carbon detox.”

There can be no more healing and regenerative time than the spring, with all its new life and hope after the long dark winter.

"There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night and spring after winter."
'Silent Spring', Rachel Carson

Back to top

Weird weather

The funny weather – global weirding as Amory Lovins calls it – is here to stay. It is most obvious to those who spend more of their lives outdoors: the salt of the earth!

It is harder to appreciate if we spend our entire day in air-conditioned homes, offices, shops, cars, and planes. Too many of us have become masters of our own isolation, spending our lives in the climate dark, soaked in power.

But it will take more than a few renegade ‘scientists’ trying to tell us it’s all a hoax (and Exxon telling us it’s fine to go on burning fossil) to halt our species awakening.

Back to top

So what’s new, coach?

It was an incredible 45 years ago that Rachel Carson sounded the alarm call in Silent Spring. It’s taken a while for anything to change, but change has been building, deeply and exponentially.

The rate of change in the opening months of 2007 has been hard to keep up with. Thankfully, Communiqué readers are more likely to be rejoicing than struggling, but we mustn’t become complacent: what appears bright green fashion today often comes out pale in the (green) wash tomorrow.

Back to top

The Carbon Coach is on track

I’ve been inundated with requests for training from the USA following a recent article in Business Week mentioning my Carbon Coach business in Marlow.

The interviewer and I got tangled in the irony of me flattering her nation for its taste in holiday destinations. Americans love Marlow, England. I said I always go to Marlow!

Back to top

Lo-carb elections: the people decide

Will we choose life? Just in time? Will we stand and be carbon counted? Never mind who we elect – at this point in history it is just as much about how we elect to live. Remember: “Be the change…”.

I recommend two super little books from author Mark Lynas: Carbon Calculator and Carbon Counter (Harper Collins.) Here’s a telling excerpt:

“The IPCC states that temperatures will increase by 1.4 to 5.8 deg C over the next 100 years. The key uncertainty here is not how the atmosphere will behave, but how humans will behave. Will seven or more billion humans continue to seek fossil–hungry lifestyles, with cars, aeroplanes and all the rest? Or will they develop cleaner energy sources and tread more lightly on the planet? There is no clear answer to this yet – indeed the ultimate answer will depend on decisions made by each and every one of us, including you.”

It’s decision time folks – Mother Earth is calling time on that funky old fossil party we've been drowning in these past 100 years or so. It’s time for change…

Back to top

There ain’t no party like a C-club party

The sweet chariot of the green bandwagon is coming to carry us all home. Slower travel and social sense can rescue us all – and get us back on the low carbon rails.

As my hero Aubrey Meyer said so poignantly in a dedication of his work to his daughter:

“Dearest. Remember, if when tomorrow comes, your heart is in the right place, you are never far from home…”

We have surely strayed a long way from home.

Back to top

The political debate is red hot – everyone can see purple

It’s official: the biggest issue of all time really IS the climate crisis. The climate of opinion is breaking all-time temperature records.

There has been a vast outbreak of contagious good sense: a realisation that we can crack this if we have the will. We can all conserve ancient sunlight (fossil fuel); we can all prevent lethal CO2 emissions; we can look good; we can feel good; and we can optimise our own little bit of the economy: all at once: a win–win–win–win–win! High five! Each of us is a low carbon leader.

That’s what the ‘l’ in leader stands for: big growth… in low carbon. Less is more. Less is all.

Back to top

Leaders are leading: news round-up

• Al Gore throws big SOS party – eight continents will celebrate the year we ‘got it’
• Ken Livingstone bids for London to cut CO2 by 60% in 20 years!
• David Cameron floats a tax on frequent flyers – big problems need big politics
• Labour’s big thought leaders – Miliband, Meacher and Challen – lead from the front
• Sir Ming and Chris Huhne offer us big friendly green Lib Dem policies
• Green party likely to win biggest ever vote – why wouldn’t everyone vote green?
• Big light bulb moment: EU bans Edison’s light bulb design – some say about time
• Tesco, M&S, John Lewis etc race to be biggest curtailer of carbon
• Big umbrella organisations race to announce their support for C&C*
• Joe public sees straight through Channel 4’s early April fool, ‘C 4 Swindle’ show.
• L’Oreal Garnier invite The Carbon Coach to the UK press launch of their ‘take care’ brand
• Millions discover the joy and lightness of the first real ton of CO2 they shed

Back to top

So it IS cool to be carbon-lite. Will it be cool enough to cool Mother Earth’s fever?

I always knew it was soon going to be socially passé to be carbon-obese. It sure is now! But the way things are going, soon it will be indecent, immoral, illegal… No one advertised that!

Join me now – fast forward with me to the end of 2007 – then look back. Imagine for a moment what could realistically have come to pass by the end of the year. Several nations will have different leaders. Many new community leaders will have risen up. Small ‘l’ leaders will be active everywhere in the great de-carb challenge: coming off it.

Back to top

Come Off It day AND Black Out Britain joint spring celebration

I’m pleased to announce that Friday 4 May will be an extra special day. Come Off It has been supporting the amazing work of Jo Abbess and Sharon Turley at Blackout London and Blackout Britain.

So prepare to Come Off It on 4 May: come off grid. Cut the cord of dependency. Vote no to central power. Celebrate the enlightened dawn of a new era – in the dark!

Back to top

Tony Blair: an apology

It’s funny, but I can see now that Tony Blair truly has inspired the nation to cut the carbon. (What’s this? Is Dave after an honour?!) The PM’s Sky News interview in the new year was widely publicised. He faced his and Cherie’s lack of resolution to take holidays closer to home:
"Yeah – but I personally think these things are a bit impractical actually”

At the time his words seemed to strike an ugly, populist chord. Was it possible they slipped out, off-guard, or were they words of pure genius: an authentic expression of where he was, in the moment. Either way (and we can afford to be generous now, as he prepares to set sail) his honesty may have helped set us free. Millions of Britons glimpsed the dark truth that our leader was resigned to being unable to do anything save us. If he’d said ‘jump’ no one would. But on the issue of flying less, Ricky Tomlinson fans and Royle Family viewers the world over jumped up and shouted at their TVs: “Impractical? My arse!”

We resolved to prove him wrong. “We’re going to fly less, even if he won’t.” He helped us move on from the “I will if you will” attitude to the “I will even if you won’t!”. His words “I think these things are a bit impractical actually,” in the context of saving the lives of our children, will echo on and on. He galvanised a whole nation into steely new resolve. This may be his positive legacy.

I wish the PM well, but he must quit the excessive flying. If he ever needs a carbon coach…

Back to top

Al Gore starts to lead the world home

Imagine the land of the free, the USA, unleashed, busily pursuing green is good, and worshipping the altar of the new currency – low carbon. Mobilising a mass revolution. Leading it even!

Imagine all those other ‘groups’ who we used to be sure were part of the problem: the oil companies, the US President, the Chinese, the military... (‘them’ in short – or ‘other people’!)
Imagine them all swimming in the pure green solution ... all around us!

Imagine the entire global military resource redeployed, to combat the terror of climate change.

Back to top

Leadership is local too – it’s coming to a town near you!

The ‘look after number-one’ ethic of the eighties is well and truly over. How boring it got. Welcome to the save our selves party – the year we wised up to the fact that no single leader or nation could save us from ourselves, that only we – the leader within – could choose to do it.

Low carbon communities are popping up all over the UK. Check out the Planet Positive collective to see if there’s one near you – or start one yourself!

Marlow’s low-carbon community is growing and has joined forces with ‘Marlow parents’ e-support network to deliver a special community viewing of An Inconvenient Truth on 1 May.

In London, Ken Livingstone is in the process of convincing Londoners to change their behaviour: "To tackle climate change you don’t have to reduce your quality of life, but you do have to change the way you live."

Back to top

Debt 4 Equity: wanton destruction or one ton recreation

Here’s a little story about swapping moccasins with your neighbour. It may sound an odd thing for The Carbon Coach to propose, but surely every African is entitled to a carbon ration? Say it works out at something like £100 of petrol, £50 of electricity and £25 of gas, plus one short air flight every four years: that’s not a big ration but it’s huge for them. Luxury?! Imagine all the new things they could do with that one ton entitlement! And if they don’t want to burn fossil they can have the big (and growing) cash alternative as we addicts desperately want to buy their dose from them.

That fossil ‘budget’ represents roughly what nature can cope with – for each and every one of us. It’s frighteningly low for those of us currently on 10 to 20 times that dose. But surely a life on that sort of dose would be better than no life at all? It would be plenty sufficient for a year’s round-the-world endurance sailing trip, or for a student gap year camping. It is, after all, what we all had 200 years ago – prior to the carbon blow out bonfire. It is not a non-starter.

Back to top

Choose life, elect low carbon, vote low carbon

Now that the ‘green’ vote is bigger than ever before, and all three main parties are acting green, why not vote for the real thing? The rate of change is so fast I don’t see that a green vote is a wasted vote. We could make a worse mistake in 2007 than elect leaders who truly want to get radical on carbon. Remind me. Why wouldn’t we want to save our kids? I predict a huge swing towards orange and green. How exciting!

There is no time to lose. The LibDems and Greens both support Contraction and Convergence (C&C). So for now, they are surely the only authentic, low-carbon vote in town?

After May, I’m hoping that some of our strongest, most carbon-committed leaders quit their old parties. There are some great politicians and inspirational leaders in all the political parties, but they’re often held back by those in the ‘old guard’ who haven’t got it yet. I propose they go off and form a new strong team. A gang of eight – the carbon 8 perhaps? – the new Earth party.

I can’t think of a colour for their rosettes yet. Can anyone help? Hmmm… red and blue…?!

Back to top

One person, one balloon

C&C is the coolest thing in the world to support. We can cling on to global inequity for grim death – or we can support this carbon emissions framework, based on global fair shares, and survive in the process. We can’t do both.

I vote for life. I vote for one person, one balloon. I choose Contraction and Convergence.

Back to top

C&C on Facebook goes viral: 1,000 members in 72 hours

Show you care – vote with your carbon feet. Say yes to C&C and no to CO2. Support this amazing viral student campaign – membership has rocketed from 0 to 1000 members... in jut the first 72 hours!

Please join us and make both the group and the planet cooler.

For each 250 that join, I'll donate £1 to solve Climate Change through C&C.

Sea change starts with a few drips in the ocean. Oceans are only many drips. Be a drip!

Back to top

Stuck? Or inspired?

We can all get stuck in our relationships: even – or perhaps especially – in our relationship with carbon. Don’t become stuck in a carbon fog. Envision and design your perfect low-carbon life today.

If not, you are unwittingly part of the problem you complain about.

Back to top

I’d like to leave you with some wise, inspiring and wonderful words from Al Gore, taken from this month’s Resurgence magazine:


“This crisis is bringing us an opportunity to experience what few generations in history ever have the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unifying cause; the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the restless human need for transcendence; the opportunity to rise.

“When we do rise, it will fill our spirits and bind us together. Those who are now suffocating in cynicism and despair will be able to breathe freely. Those who are now suffering from a loss of meaning in their lives will find hope.

“When we rise, we will experience an epiphany as we discover that the crisis is not really about politics at all. It is a moral and spiritual challenge.”

T'ra for now – enjoy plenty of carbon abandon this summer.

Dave Hampton
The Carbon Coach


Drop me an email
Visit the Carbon Coach website
Read previous issues of Communiqué
Take a look at my blog