Aug 232010

On Sunday, part of my sermon had a go at unethical business practices and how we, as consumers, and as Christians, had a part to play in making ethical choices in our consumption. Well, here’s my opportunity to speak out against downright dishonest and misleading business practice.

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May 242009

I’ve not had a chance to blog about Saturday night’s session at the General Assembly, but it can’t have escaped your notice that the Church of Scotland are inducting gay ministers. Unforunately, that story, and many others, are reporting a somewhat distorted view of what the session was all about. Stewart gives a fair summary of the bigger picture on his blog (btw – big thumbs-up to Stewart for getting a mention in the Times Online – that’ll be why your web traffic has gone through the roof).

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Apr 032008

Carbon PassportI recently received an email newsletter from my web hosting company (a wee plug for NSDesign) offering to match a donation towards tree-planting as part of their carbon footprint offsetting plan. Apparently all their new accounts (since last year) have been hosted on servers in a carbon-neutral data centre. I’m on an older account which is still hosted stateside but they are hoping that this too will be carbon-neutral in due course. In the meantime it was suggested that I have a look at For a payment, they will invest in carbon offsetting schemes on your behalf.

I was thinking about it though and I’m not sure about whether this is the best option. Where energy use is unavoidable then such schemes are definitely valuable. But I do wonder if they’re open to abuse in a sense. Those with a guilty conscience and the means to pay don’t actually need to amend their lifestyle. We see this on a grand scale with the developed countries buying up the carbon emission allowances of the less industrially-developed countries. Although I suspect this isn’t the work of a guilty conscience, just plain economics. Those with a guilty conscience and no means to pay may be able to change their lifestyle but are inevitably left with an ethical dilemma. Again, on a grand scale, it means investing in the latest energy-efficient technology which inevitably comes at a higher price which means less money to spend on the essentials.

So, does carbon offsetting work or is it a salve to the conscience? Is it a vital component in the overall strategy for energy-use change or is it merely a way of avoiding responsibility for making our own necessary lifestyle changes?