Thailand & that CO2 thing

So as you saw in the previous post I went to all the effort of taking the train to Barcelona last week to try to reduce the number of flights I take and then I go and book a flight to Thailand. Duh! Well my reasons are selfish I suppose – the opportunity came along to take a few weeks holiday, I needed to get out of the country for personal reasons and my best mate happened to be in Thailand at that time. Still doesn’t quite make it right does it? Surely everyone has an “excuse” for flying?

This will be the last flight I take for a while. I don’t believe in flying anywhere for a couple of days – if you are going to fly, then fly somewhere for a decent period of time. It’s the short haul flights that people take for a long weekend (or even a day!) that are ultimately doing the damage. (Yes I hold my hand up I’ve done it too). However the only long term solution to stop this is by making flying more expensive – make the price of flights more reflective of the damage it is doing. People will still fly but it will then become something you think about (£400return to Paris for the weekend, I’ll take the train; £1000 to Thailand – people will still do it but will save up and think about the costs first.)

So rather than offsetting my CO2 by planting trees, the monetary value of the 2.3kg of CO2 that my journey will produce has been invested in an international communities portfolio through the Carbon Neutral Company. My money could help a community in Sri Lanka to install solar panels for lighting rather than buring Kerosene oil (just like I am doing flying 1/2 way across the world 🙁 )

2 other recent “ethical” investments I’ve made. The first is a great site, where you can directly loan money to people in poorer countries who don’t normally have access to banks so they can start their own businesses. I’ve lent some money to Sokrorn Kam in Cambodia who wants to start her own fruit and vegetable shop. She has a blog so hope it all goes well for her! (Not sure about buying cows though..)

Finally I bought a piece (32m2) of Fordhall Farm in the form of a non-profit making share. They need £800k by the 1st of July to continue as an Organic farm. It’s a great story and hopefully they’ll do it, otherwise the giant Muller farm next door might come along and destroy all their hard work.

Sonar Review

Took a train journey to Barcelona last week via Paris and Montpellier for the yearly electro-fest that is Sonar. Paris was sweltering under a hot summer sun as we arrived at 2.55pm and dashed for the nearest bar near the Gare du Nord to watch another disappointing England World Cup match. As well as drinking £5 pints, I was also served a glass of Paris’ finest green coloured tap water which tasted of iron. I’m sure he’d spiked it to annoy les rosbifs watching football and getting in his way.

In the evening we hit the areas of Republique/Belleville with an aim of finding a “soirée Drum’n’Bass” in a bar called Zorba. What we found was 3 mates messing around on some decks, stopping records halfway through and half-a-dozen junglists looking irked and confused. We left and continued our mojito fuelled night meeting a barman who lived in Reading (it has a good scene!), a club which played Nirvana followed by some current DNB (unusual!) where the bar staff sprayed soda water over the dancefloor, a couple of Parisiens who we amused talking bad French to until 6am sat outside a bar, sitting on an abandoned leather sofa waving at motorists at 8am and finishing the night off at the Organic Market having some amazingly fresh potato pancake things.

Looking at 6 million skulls in the catacombs was a suitable punishment for our hangovers the next day I suppose….

Anyway fast forward to Wednesday (a double decker TGV train to Montpellier in first class was sweet – watching France draw – the beach in Carnon and a 4 hour train to Barcelona).

Sonar is a slight blur. 3 days and 2 nights of music/djs/installations/exhibitions and of course drinking and dancing. Somehow the 2 nights out turned into 4 nights and sleeping was something that took place between 8am and 2pm most days with an early evening siesta. But we saw a lot of good honest stuff. Hot Chip/Goldfrapp/Tucker/Chic (yes Chic! Freak Our and We Are Family)/Sasha/Jeff Mills/Rahzel/Miss Kitten/Linton Kwesi Johnson/Kindred Spirits/The MFA/Diplo vs A-Trak/Dave Clark/Richie Hawtin. Phew. It was good. Very good.

Beach party on Sunday afternoon was just starting to warm up as we left for Barcelona Franca Station for our 9pm train to Paris. Arrived back in Sheffield at 6pm the following day for a well deserved sleep.