An altogether strange week or so since my last post. The world seems to be descending into chaos, environmental disaster, racism and guilt.
KL was covered in smog a few days ago, and in places the pollution index exceeded safe limits. I hadn’t quite counted on this level of pollution when moving here. The air was thick and blue – from the condo window, downtown was totally obscured by a creeping menace – causing us to shut the windows and hunker down as if there were a plague coming. Indonesia is blamed for its slash and burn policies resulting in plumes of smoke towards Malaysia. Burning their pristine forest to make way for plantations of palm oil and cattle ranches is helping to prop up their economy, but boy those pesky Indonesians are a nuisance.
Rio+20, the circus-like summit of environmentalists, policy-makers, business leaders, media and oceans of hangers-on – all there to (erm…sip caipirinhas? watch the girls go by on Copacabana beach?) get a meaningful agreement on climate change and sustainable development – has unfortunately passed most people by and is already looking like a failure. Rio+20 as a news item is competing with the economic collapse of two of Europe’s proud nations, genocide in Syria and the football. With the Greeks and Spanish queuing up at soup kitchens, it’s not surprising that environmental austerity measures perceived to be curbing standards of living are seen as a bum note. The trade offs are short-sighted but it’s a reality we continue to fight against.
I had my own challenge justifying a day trip to Bangkok for a work ‘summit’, the purpose of which was to pitch to the global management team of a huge footwear company. They want a 2020 global strategy and my bit was of course to pitch the sustainability element of this. The meeting was a huge success and it looks like we might have won! Who says green growth can’t work? I do feel a teeny bit guilty about the flight, but I like to justify it on the basis that my job is about influencing big companies to change for the better and thereby my ‘net impact’ is actually environmentally positive. Much like most of the Rio+20 attendees I’m sure…..
Flying back from Bangkok, I certainly didn’t feel so bad about a tax-free wine purchase – Molly Dooker’s Maitre D’ – a wine with an appealing novelty label. Notes on this one another day.
Last week’s wine was a pretty average Sauvignon Blanc by Aussie wine-maker Yarra Ridge. The 2010 is a decent enough varietal bench-mark new world S.B, pale straw colour, citrus, gooseberry and a bit of pineapple, zingy and fresh but not at all long. It was as instantly refreshing on a hot humid day as it was forgettable
(apologies for the terrible quality of the picture. The light into our condo was dreadfully dreary as a result of the smog).
At a shade off £12 it’s not one I’ll be tossing and turning with guilt over (not that I’ll be getting any sleep with the football on at 2.45am).