The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind around here, with media knocking on the door, and the phone ringing off the hook. My new roommates have been very good natured putting up with it all- two of them were even filmed riding their bikes and listening to me playing guitar as part of the feature on BBC Points West TV news, so they got some exposure out of it (yes you have nice legs Alastair I think the whole Southwest of England will agree).
You also may have noticed that I’ve changed the name of this blog to “On the Level- Car Free Blog” This is a reference to staying firmly rooted to the ground by deciding to forgo air travel, the pleasure of a flat grade for bicycles and trains, and of course straight talk about the reality of transport in the 21st Century.
Anyway, all the fuss started last Friday when the UWE Press Officer convinced me to send out a press release (ok i admit it didn’t take much convincing). Soon BBC and ITV news teams both had camera crews on the way, and the newspapers and radio weren’t far behind. It seems to have been a case of good timing , with local debate about the Bristol Airport Expansion raging and An Inconvenient Truth just having arrived in the UK. People are thinking about the environmental impacts of air travel perhaps more than they ever have before, which is a good thing. The BBC even compared me to Al Gore! (Although An Inconvenient Truth is a very necessary and timely film, why didn’t Al do more and speak out when he ran the country?)
All in all, I think it was positive exposure about climate change, and hopefully people took away something other than the fact that there’s this San Francisco hippie preaching about the evils of cars and airplanes. Talk about the media sensationalizing something, the Evening Post (sadly a tabloid is the major “newspaper” of Bristol) reported “green student VOWS NEVER to fly again” In reality, what I said on the press release was that I’m “giving up” flying. (much as you give up any bad habit, like “giving up” smoking, for example)
The most annoying question I was asked repeatedly was, “you don’t actually expect people to follow your example and give up flying entirely do you?” (I mean people HAVE to fly- it’s our RIGHT as human beings to load up the atmosphere with carbon so we can take cheap beach holidays with EasyJet!) In response to BBC Radio Birmingham DJ Danny Kelly’s question, “what would you do if a future Mrs. Hart wanted to go on a beach holiday? I mean this (not flying) would be pretty limiting wouldn’t it? I responded that it’s now an open question whether there will even BE a beach to fly to within a generation or two, because of sea level rise. Besides, I’m sure that any future Mrs. Hart would be happy to take the train with me- we could even get a compartment– ooh baby.
I mean, what WILL we say when the beach goes away? Oh well we had tumble dryers, SUV’s, cheap flights cheap plastic shit- I say it was WORTH it! (credit to Polyp’s cartoon)
We are working on getting the DVD of the BBC broadcast, as it far outstripped the ITV broadcast for investigative journalism and content, and will post it on Youtube eventually. For now though, you can read the two articles and the original press release by following the links below.
ITV Bristol: 2 substantial teasers during the day, 1
live in studio interview
BBC Points West: Segment on Evening News
Star Radio interview
BBC Bristol in studio interview
BBC Birmingham interview with Danny Kelly
Venue: Bristol and Bath’s Magazine
Dundee Courier and Advertiser
Lancashire Evening Post
Edinburgh Evening News