Professor Jem Bendell

notes from a strategist and educator on social and organisational change

Archive for November, 2007

Gyva Lithuania

Posted by jembendell on November 15, 2007

Gyva Lithuania”

Land of water and wood,

of witches and whiteness,

ancients and patience.

Flat lands of high hopes,

dreams and screams,

in creation.

The raw heart of Europe,

Gyva Lithuania.

Jem Bendell, Vilnius, August 22nd, 2007

lithuaniaAuthors notes: After a week in Lithuania, part business, part pleasure, part personal exploration, I wanted to capture the earthiness of the country. It has some unusual characteristics, explained to me by my host. Its language is very ancient and incorporates a lot of Sanscrit, it escaped some of the early Christian conquests so has some pockets of pagan thinking, and it only recently opened to capitalism so there is a mixture of local trade and international connection. It seems not many people know about the place, or can get there, as it’s not an ethnically diverse country. It had to wait a long time for independence, and there is a greater sense of calm about the pace of change than in some other parts of central and eastern Europe. People are thinking a lot about the potential for the future… it seems an optimistic country, but there are pains in the birth of their new society… problems with a whole generation working abroad, and a lack of social protections at home. Lithuanians point out they are the geographic centre of Europe, if we consider Europe stretching up to the Ural mountains. Perhaps the rest of Europe might learn something from this fresh, raw, heart of a continent that is only beginning to recognise its true size and diversity. Some Lithuanians I met have this implicit understanding of Lithuanians’ role in the region. One weekend I was chatting with a two ladies about what their future environmental lifestyle business would do, possibly starting with an organic shop, and we brainstormed on names. I suggested words related to life. We settled on “Gyva”, which means “alive”. I looked it up… it is derived from the Sanskrit word which is sometimes spelt “Jiva”, as used today in India, that describes the eternal life in living things. So it will be gyva… when its launched… I’ll check in to www.gyva.lt every so often to see how they are getting on. Gyva sounds a bit like viva, so i used it that way in “gyva Lithuania”. And I call Lithuania a land of water not because of the rain, which gives the country its name, but because of the lakes… there are so many small and medium sized lakes dotted amidst the many pine forests; a fisherman’s paradise. All these things are in the tiny poem. My favourite Lithuanian talked about treating words like essential oils: getting as much in to as little. That’s why i like poetry. (or it could be im too lazy to write long poems… hmm)…

The photo is from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44561568@N00/779299523/

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BBC Airbus-ting

Posted by jembendell on November 6, 2007

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Most days I look at the BBC website. This week I found theyve started carrying advertising. But not any old advertising… no less than adverts saying that flying Airbus is the greener thing to do. See the screen shot below at the foot of this posting. The inaugural flight was from Singapore to Sydney. I didnt know you could drive. Perhaps Toyota brought out an amphibious Lexus while I wasnt looking, complete with storage tanks for weeks at sea.

So I sent their Global advertising person the following email:

Dear Phu,

I would welcome your advice, as the contact on the BBC website for global advertising.

Do you check the scientific credibility and clarity of the claims made by advertisers on your website?

If so, what is your evidence for the claims from Airbus, regarding comparison of flying a full aircraft with driving a car (perhaps single occupancy car)? This is disingenuous because people do not drive from Singapore to Sydney, for example, and flying makes such travel much more possible, and thus increases people’s potential carbon emissions. A comparison with a ship or train would be the only useful comparison for such long distances. The science of these claims was previously challenged in a refereed academic journal in 2002 (Journal of Corporate Citizenship: see http://www.jembendell.com/lw2002/spring4.html)

I would also welcome information on how promoting flying through advertising on your website as viewed by people outside the UK is compatible with:
a) the specific text and general spirit of the BBC Charter.
b) the role of the BBC world service in promoting British international interests, which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is clear now includes global action on carbon emissions
c) a coherence between editorial and advertising, given the current climate change programming on BBC World.

I copy this to colleagues who are interested, as well as Simon Derry at BBC Trust and Kevin Marsh of the BBC college, who presented this summer at a UN event on media responsibilities.

Although I realise you must be getting many questions on this matter at this time I would welcome an answer that is specific to the issues I raise. Please note I will be posting this email and your reply on my personal and company blogs, and including it in my column in the academic journal I mention above.

Regards,
Dr Jem Bendell
Director, Lifeworth
Associate Professor, Griffith Business School
Visiting Fellow, UN Research Institute for Social Development
www.lifeworth.com / www.jembendell.com
jem@lifeworth.com / +44 (0)2078707594
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Posted in Media, Sustainable Development | 2 Comments »