Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Word of the Week: Sustainable

Take a cross section of a cow's aorta about an inch long, then silver plate it. Now you have an object that looks precisely like the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport, advertised today to a grateful nation and created for our listening pleasure by the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority or RTA. This follows the marvellous and admirable Blue Communities initiative for sustainable coastal communities from uber-developer Nakheel, launched earlier this week after the usual pointless, sorry I meant to say marvellous, expensive teaser campaign.

What, asks the inquisitive mind as it scans the screen, could the RTA possibly want to award us for? A cynical mind might assert that surely the only award we all want is the ability to travel around the city with at least relative ease.

The award, according to the advertisement with the cow's aorta on it, is to 'encourage organizations and companies to play an active role to implement the most innovative and effective initiatives in the field of sustainable transportation'. How very interesting.

Incidentally, Wikipedia defines sustainable transport, at least in part, as "a reaction to some of the things that have gone radically and visibly wrong with transportation policy." Which struck me as pretty much bang on.

The advertisement points you to the RTA website for further information about the award, categories and evaluation criteria. Sadly, when I went there to take a look at this most fascinating thing this morning, the website had crashed spectacularly.

So I shall have to wait to see how the RTA intends to award me. In the meantime, here are some suggested award categories.

1) Longest wait in morning traffic

2) Longest wait in evening traffic

3) Longest wait full stop

4) Longest run up the hard shoulder to avoid the traffic

5) The Dubai Foot on the Dashboard Award

6) Kerb Crawler of the Year

7) Fastest headlight flasher

8) Arrogant, aggressive, inconsiderate, dangerous git of the year

9) Short cut to work of the year (entry not open to the three RTA cars that use mine every morning: an irony that fills my heart with stuff)

10) The Dubai Darwin Award (for the most pointless self-inflicted death)

I had to stop there, but please don't hesitate to make more suggestions. Maybe, by the time the website is up, we can compare lists...

Yes! The race is on to win that cross-section of arterial matter!

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