Sunday, May 03, 2009

Happy Labor Day

The 1st of May is a public holiday in many countries across the World in recognition of the 'worker'. International Labor Day means a three-day weekend in China as well as the UK, so a time to finally get back to my blog! (and probably many of you have noted the american spelling of labor, which you will have to get over -I have no american accent though!)

April finished with us bottom of the league, unfortunately. When we played Laser Tag (Laser Quest - paintball with lasers) our team did not fair much better: we lost 3 of the 4 games we played. However it was an interesting day, playing outside in a forest, and then in and around a number of uninhabited villas. Add in some sound effects of civilians shouting in Iraqi and it could have been Baghdad!

Other highlights of the month included going to a few jazz concerts, watching some more films and downloading lots of music, courtesy of Google China who now allow free legal music download if you access the internet in China.

Work-wise 1 project has finished, and another started -a few more are lined up for the Summer, so BSR in china seems to be doing ok at least, despite the financial situation. We also have 2 new directors starting, and our office is now packed, with our interns having to hot-desk and move around the conference room or share desks with other people!

At the end of this month our contract in our apartment is up, so this morning Andrea and I found a new apartment a 5 minute walk away that we'll move into. We'll be the first ones living there so at least it is clean and everything should work fine! The area is very green and convenient; we just have to hope the continuing construction of new buildings nearby is not too loud -although I am sure they will be finished soon!

I read this week that the so called 'eco-city' of Dongtan, near Shanghai, has now almost officially been declared dead and buried. Although the plans and hopes for the city were always 'too' high, it is a shame that the entire project is not going ahead. It would have been an interesting test-city, built entirely sustainably with locally produced energy, produce, water harvested etc. It is somewhat embrassing for the UK, as the Guardian says:
Tony Blair signed the deal to design and build Dongtan with Chinese president Hu Jin-tao. His deputy, John Prescott, went there twice. So did Britain's top urban planner, Peter Hall, and the London mayor Ken Livingstone, who wanted ideas for greening his urban landscape.

It seems the British are particularly bad at this stuff. There are many critics of Brown's plans to build 12 eco-towns, not least the people that currently live in or near them. Is it only the British that are so maried to their old ways they cannot accept change or refuse to sacrifice anything? It seems the UK wind industry is also in a mess because of delays in getting planning permission. Maybe we can just build our wind farms in poor countries and pay them for the wind? I am sure they can handle the sight of them!


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