Meeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I replied. It wasn't that we were offered free-parking and food for giving up yesterday evening from 1800-2130hrs; it wasn't even the €40 One4All shopping voucher; or that we don't have a telly; or that The Beloved was off site that evening. Although what's not to like about getting paid [tax free] minimum wage for for doing something different? The sandwiches were kinda terrible but the tea was hot and I had a great time. Only 8 other people from the four counties CW KK KE & WW, seemed to agree with my cost-benefit analysis. Three of us were professional [water] scientists; there were three students from The Institute; and there were three really interesting interested parties from The Public. It is perhaps instructive that the three students were all New Irish - originally from Congo, Canada and Poland. That's why we should celebrate a more diverse society: they want to contribute, they bring new ways of seeing.
I sat beside a bloke who works for a different branch of the people who organised the Public Consultation on the River Basin Management Plan RBMP which I attended in February. We had a get-up-and-chat break half-way through the session, and I raised an eyebrow to him to say "This is how they do research in the humanities". Because the opinions of 9 self-selected people is not what we would call data. But actually getting 11 people [+2 facilitators from Celsius] round a table is quite goldiloxian for focusing discussion and letting everyone be heard. They
not at all confident
the sun will rise tomorrow confident. . . that bottled water is safe. As each positioned post-it carried our name, you could imagine doing some cross-tabulation on the responses by the same folk to different questions. But really, nine punters? Is that even vaguely reproducible? And, as I've asked before about other issues, cui bono - who benefits? Who thinks it is worth $40 x 9 + room hire, tea & sandwiches = ~€500 to obtain such wet data?
But I learned some interesting and worrying facts:
- when a citizen witnessed, recorded and reported a gross raw sewage discharge into the River Slaney nobody was prosecuted and nobody was even really interested [please go away we have work to do]
- that a bottlecapful of glyphosate = Roundup will put 30km of river over its parametric value
- that a field in S Co Carlow has been under winter wheat for the last 7 consecutive years and has been sprayed with herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, slugicides, pelleted fertiliser . . . 14 times in the last 12 months.
- that the outfall from the Glanbia cheese and yoghurt factory in Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny has a BOD [biological oxygen demand] [bloboprev] as great as the City of Cork - I hinted at the cost of milk in my first paragraph.