Friday, 28 November 2008

Bristol Green Crapital

Hot off the virtual press from Travel Daily News, the daily travel and tourism news portal for the international travel trade market, we have a gushing piece extolling the virtues of Bristol as one of Europe’s greenest destinations, "having been chosen as the only city in the UK to be short-listed for the European Green Capital Award" (er, actually it was the only city in the UK with the brass-necked shamelessness to enter in the first place).



But enough cynicism already, let's suspend disbelief for a moment and enter into the green-tinted, up-beat world of our glorious leaders on Bristol City Council in their selfless quest to bring all those lovely Euros (Europeans, surely? ed) flying in to our wonderfully green International Airport (it's going to have a wind turbine, don't you know, just like that other famously green icon, Carboot Circus) to grace our tills (streets, surely? ed) with their presence.

Here's a few choice extracts from Bristol short-listed as First European Green Capital, just to get you in a positive, mood...
Visitors to Bristol are already enjoying this ‘green city’ experience.... With an abundance of environmentally friendly and sustainable visitor experiences to choose from, the city is a wonderfully dynamic destination to visit at any time of the year...The city has a strong commitment to sustainability and is home to the Soil Association and Sustrans...

Transportation around the city is easy and convenient. Leave the car behind and explore Bristol in a sustainable manor (sic). Hop on an open top city sightseeing bus, take a ferry boat trip around the harbourside, adventure by foot ... or hire a bike and sample the city’s cycle network - Bristol was chosen as the UKs first Cycling City earlier this year.



There are also amazing savings to be had, as well as reasons to leave your car at home, if you travel to Bristol with First Great Western trains... Bristol’s residents are doing their bit to make the city an attractive place for visitors too.... Bristol was the first city in the UK to introduce a comprehensive weekly kerbside collection for cardboard, green and kitchen waste. Bristol businesses, charities and communities are working hard to keep the city at the forefront and to fly the flag for sustainability.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it.

We must be grateful to Sustrans and the Soil Association for lending their green credentials to bolster such Bristol Green Capital promotions. Without their endorsement some people might suspect there was an element of greenwash in the above.

7 comments:

woodsy said...

After following the link to the original article and reading it, I still felt dirty after having three baths.

Chris Hutt said...

When I was a very naive young man the father of a friend gave me some very good advice, which of course I failed to understand and ignored.

He said "bullshit is a marketable commodity like anything else".

Now I remember it every single day.

Glenn Vowles said...

The first step towards geuine solutions is to identify and openly recognise the current state of affairs. That Bristol is a factor of ten away from sustainability just is not being openly recognised and stated. How much is down to delusion I wonder??

sued said...

Charlatans!

Anonymous said...

Sustrans is an inconsistent private group that is pretty unaccountable - is the Soil Association similar?

Chris Hutt said...

Judging from what's viewable on their web site, it looks as if the Soil Association might have a similar set-up to Sustrans. Although they invite people to become members (Sustrans just say 'supporters'), I noticed nothing about voting.

The SA have a Board of Trustees but I don't know if they are a self-selecting, self-perpetuating board like that of Sustrans. They have a Memorandum of Association and are constitutionally a Company limited by guarantee.

WestfieldWanderers said...

Chris said "...Although they invite people to become members (Sustrans just say 'supporters'), I noticed nothing about voting..."

After being a "supporter" of Sustrans for a couple years it finally dawned on me that that I wasn't a "member" and had no vote and that the organisation is, as you say, a self selecting, self appointed ruling clique (including someone by the name of George Ferguson - I don't know if he is the same person as the red trouser wearer) answerable to no-one. I also became very wary of what they were doing and saying (their recent stance on the Prince Street Bridge is a good example) and soon stopped the monthly direct debit.