Donald Trump shifts his attention to Ireland after losing Scottish wind-farm legal battle

February 20, 2014

This week the resilient Donald Trump bounces back from losing his battle against off-shore wind farms which he claimed were wrecking his plans for a super resort and golf complex in Aberdeenshire.  It seems that Scotland’s loss is to be Ireland’s gain

Donald Trump has bought a five star golf resort on the west coast of Ireland after losing a legal action against a windfarm being built near his golf resort in Aberdeenshire in Scotland.

The billionaire property developer said that while he appealed against the court defeat in Scotland he would be diverting his energies to the exclusive Doonbeg golf and hotel complex on the Atlantic coastline of County Clare, restyling it the Trump International Golf Links, Ireland.

Trump had taken the Scottish government to court over a decision to approve a major experimental windfarm in Aberdeen Bay, which will be about two miles south east of his planned £750m golf resort, because it spoiled the view.

Trump’s tale

We have been followed the leadership style and actions of Mr Trump in LWD for some years.

His interest in building a world class golf facility in Scotland was dogged in legal controversies from the start. Initially, the legal objections came from environmentalists and local residents. Later, it was Mr Trump who sought legal rights to protect his interests.

Leadership style

The Trump style of leadership seemed blunt rather than devious or Machiavellian. This places him at some disadvantage over pressure groups whose leaders have long experience of challenging the powerful and drawing attention to their cause.  Maybe Donald trump will now learn from his experiences. Otherwise there will be one more extended story as the local bhoys prepare to deal with the latest foreign threat to their culture and coast line.

Sustainability leadership: The case of O2’s “Think Big”

November 3, 2012

When O2 launched its sustainability initiative in 2010, it attempted to connect up its 12000 employees to a range of stakeholders as the Think Big scheme

According to The Guardian the initiative, known as “think big”,was championed by O2’s CEO Ronan Dunne, Irish rugby fanatic, and advocate of fair auctioning of the G4 spectrum rights. Think big is the creative label for the notion that:

… by “starting small”, everyone can become motivated to have bigger ideas about people and the planet. Think big aims to create greener products and services, to make buildings more sustainable, lower the company’s environmental impact and help build the confidence of a million young people through a £5m social action programme investing in youth projects.

All employees are encouraged to make pledges to get involved, supported by a strong internal campaign (online, in stores, offices and call centres) and a dedicated website. From suggesting business and energy saving ideas to volunteering or reducing their travel impact, employees are encouraged to join a community of sustainable thinkers and the company says it tries to offer something for everyone, whatever their role.
Think big values are also built into personal development reviews and O2 rewards involvement through an award-winning peer-voted recognition scheme, known as Fanclub. People can get involved in activities such as one-to-one mentoring of young people, fronted by the National Youth Agency and other partners.

They can join the company’s own network, described as teams of activists, who are able to dedicate paid-time to exploring social enterprise ideas within and outside the business. Or staff can make a difference in their everyday work by, for example, finding ways to work together more efficiently, reducing travel and energy use or recycling

Sustainability strategy

O2 has set itself a strategic goal to be recognised for its sustainability policy. The think big initiative feeds from and enhances its product development innovations.

Creative leadership and the progress principle

The broad reach of the scheme, together with integrated nature fits well with the notions of creative leadership and the progress principle advocated by Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer. Professor Amabile of Harvard Business School is a leading scholar in the field of creativity and intrinsic motivation. The progress principle champions the principle of small multiple wins as a means to a more creative and empowered corporate culture.

There is no Plan B

The high profile of the sustainability initiative is reminiscent of the Marks & Spencer approach to sustainability known as Plan A. This was also pioneered from the top, by its then CEO, the charismatic Sir Stuart Rose. It was described as plan A “because there is no alternative plan B”.

Independent monitoring

The O2 scheme is being independently monitored by sustainability experts, Forum for the Future.

Sustainability is catching on

Sustainability is no longer an optional extra for global organizations, according to sustainability consultants Seymourpowell. As well as in O2, sustainability projects have been identified in firms such as Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Mars, Akzo Nobel, eBay, BASF, PepsiCo, Tata Beverage Group, Sony Ericsson, SCA, Boots and the Technology Strategy Board

According to Dr Chris Sherwin, head of sustainability at Seymourpowell

“In my 15 years in the field, sustainable business has changed beyond recognition – moving from a risk to an opportunity; and from compliance to a leadership issue. The old way of doing things – of reporting and monitoring, through supply chains, communication and PR simply won’t work anymore. Increasingly, sustainability will be about creativity, entrepreneurship and growth, placing it squarely in the hands of innovators and designers.”

Sustainability polarises opinion

Sustainability remains a topic that polarises opinion. Those who advocate it risk being designated visionaries or charlatans (or both). It is a risk that political leaders as well as corporate leaders are increasingly having to address.

Recycling: Plastic Bottles turned into Houses in Nigeria

October 5, 2011

An environmental project is recycling plastic bottles into houses in Nigeria. The system was pioneered by German environmentalist Andreas Froese, and similar schemes are springing up globally

One pilot house has been constructed in Kaduna, Nigeria in which plastic bottles were filled with sand and stuck together using mud rather than cement.  The process is designed to withstand severe environmental conditions.

The Project

A report in Vanguard Nigeria describes the project:

Katrim Macmillam launched Nigeria’s bottle recycling programme in December 2010. This is a programme in which plastic bottles and their lids are collected from hotels, restaurants, homes and offices.

According to Yahaya Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), “We set out to build energy-autonomous houses from recycled materials. In order to facilitate the project, Andres Froesse, founder of Eco-Tec Soluciones Ambientales, was sent to Nigeria to train local masons in the bottle building technique”.

Chris Vassilou, the Project Manager, donated the first land for the bottle house build. Features in the bottle house include solar powered with fuel-sufficient clean cookstove, urine filtration fertilization systems and water purification tanks, thereby, making it energy autonomous. Currently, school children are being trained in the bottle brick-making technique. The newly trained masons will lead the build by January 2012 in the next Nigerian bottle project, which will be a school hall in Suleja, at an African school which urgently needs classroom space.

The Bottle-house pioneers

Bottle House technology has attracted pioneers who are believers in the potential of the process for environmental reasons. One such group includes environmentalist AmenZen who writes:

In my quest for alternatives that would allow me to recycle all trash and feel good about it, since 2003, I encountered the Portable Landfill Device [the bottle brick idea] and mentioned it on my website.

My friend Pato told me about bottle-bricks stuffed with plastic that he saw in his trip to the call of the condor in Perú by 2005 when we lived in Gratamira Ecovillage in Medellín, Colombia.
Then I saw the work of the Colombian Parmaculturist Daniel Jaramillo and Sara in their project Colombia Sostenible building a composting toilet unit with bottle brick walls in an island in the Colombian Caribbean. I also tested the idea when I went Santa Cruz del Islote, in the Caribbean, to help in a Health Brigade and to do a shore, underwater and town cleanup.

There was no garbage trucks to pick it up litter and  I didn´t have any trash bags. Empty plastic bottles were everywhere. With the help of the children and later meetings with the elders, the idea seemed to be worth trying.

A few years back I had seen the work of Andreas Froesse building incredible structures in a park with bottle bricks filled with sand or urbanite in Honduras. I lost track of him until he came to Colombia to teach and build a bathing pool for a hotel with sand- filled bottle bricks in 2005. I asked him if he would consider building with the bottlebricks filled with trash, and from them on we have been experimenting with the technique of reducing landfill waste and
using it for building.

Servant Leadership?

The innovative vision of Andreas Froesse seems to be developing momentum. Other pioneers seem to capture the altruistic spirit of servant leadership.  However, critics will suggest that the scheme is self-limiting, and dependent on the environmentally-unfriendly technology involved in the manufacture of PET plastic bottle. The schemes will require further creative leadership to achieve the dreams of the visionaries.


Image is from Solar Feeds

To go more deeply

See also
Sam Olukoya’s BBC report on the bottle Houses of Nigeria

World Architecture News

Gary Neville’s eco-house and an example of how a professional footballer may make a good role model

July 13, 2011

by Mark Williams

Manchester United’s Gary Neville has built an eco-friendly house and promotes social causes through his celebrity status. LWD subscriber Mark Williams examines how a professional footballer might also be an environmentalist, an example of eco-leadership, and a role model

Eco-leadership is a term suggested for an emerging form of leadership which has been proposed as a more socially aware replacement for controlling messianic or charismatic forms.

How media ignore energy conservation stories

What encouraged me to write about Gary Neville, was a report in the Independent about his (then) forthcoming testimonial match at the end of last season [2011]. While reading, I noticed his concern that the news media had previously showed little interest in energy conservation efforts at Manchester United, which have saved the club £235k in energy costs within 7 months during the 2008-9 financial year.

Lurid headlines and quiet conservation

That this was largely unreported is worth noting. One is more familiar with the lurid headlines of off the field exploits or other celebrity footballers. Sadly, I guess it is the latter which sell papers. Maybe Neville’s environmentalism and energy conservation is a refreshing sign of maturity?

Another example I recall is Jurgen Klinsmann during his time with Tottenham Hotspur, who chose a VW Golf in preference to a luxury sports car favoured by her peers.

An Ambassador for sport

I consider Gary Neville to be an excellent ambassador for sport. He uses his position to convey a positive image of environmentalism, responsible energy use, onservation and sensible living by example and encouragement. His inspiration came from the ‘Kick-it-Out’ anti-racism campaign, and how this was widely adopted and accepted by the fans.

Neville conveys his message by highlighting the benefits of doing things just a little differently. I empathise with this view, for it is ‘smart’ to get the same or very near to, for less energy used. An example of his persuasion was his suggestion of altering kick-off times to make greater use of natural daylight. However, this suggestion was initially met with cynicism, but gained interest.

Gary uses his position to connect with his audience and peers to promote ethics and sustainability by using his privileged position to build an energy-efficient ‘zero-carbon’ home. This conveys a cool-to-be-green image to his fans and wider audience. More people are noticing and talking about this. His testimonial match at Old Trafford was ‘powered’ entirely from renewable generation sources.

Inspiring the fans

How does sustainability and eco homes inspire football fans? While many cannot currently afford the leading-edge technologies of Neville’s home, these will become cheaper and more accessible over time. Meanwhile there is encouragement by example to do a little more with a bit less. Gary Neville is the thinking person’s footballer: he flies in the face of the common perception of feckless footballers because he is as much a leader off the pitch; it is what he is doing outside of the stadium which is now being reported.

So what makes a leading footballer a good example of eco-leadership? One reason maybe is that sportsmen and women are seen as non-political, whereas the electorate is increasingly suspicious of politicians.

E Coli, Cucumbers and the Consequences of Modernity

May 30, 2011

Tudor Rickards

Update: The initial reports of the source of the E-Coli deaths in Germany last week [May 2011] were later revised pending more careful analysis. An excellent review from CTVNews provided an informed view of the outbreak

Tim Sly, an epidemiologist and professor of public health at Ryerson University in Toronto, notes that this epidemic appears to be due to a double whammy: salad vegetables that haven’t been cooked (which would normally kill off most E. coli bacteria) and the use of organic growing methods.

“Organic foods are by definition fertilized with animal droppings and that’s where E. coli exists,” Sly noted in an interview with

“We’ve been prophesying for a long time that as people move into organic foods, we’re going to get more of these (outbreaks).”

He says E. coli tends to be a surface contaminant that can simply be washed off. But if someone doesn’t wash their vegetables thoroughly, there can be problems.

“If you’re going to be eating organic food and you’re going to be eating them raw, you do need to exercise much more sanitation and hygiene, with washing and peeling. Which is something that we should be doing anyways,” Sly notes.

Initial post

The BBC reported that cucumbers infected with the E-Coli bacterium had produced deaths around Europe. The infections may be seen as another dilemma of modernity and its consequences.

The death toll in Germany from an outbreak of E.coli caused by infected cucumbers has risen to at least 10. The cucumbers, believed to have been imported from Spain, were contaminated with E.coli which left people ill with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).

Modernity and its consequences

Modernity has given us drugs to combat disease. It has also given us diseases which combat drugs. It has given us protection from the environment, as well as inflicting grave insults to the environment.

Organic farming and its consequences

This week, we have been reminded of the principle of unintended consequences. The cucumbers were grown under conditions of organic farming. Intensive farming has its environmental insults. Organic farming too has its unintended consequences.