Friday, 11 July 2008

Attempts at being green

Is it possible to be green rather than just jumping on a trendy bandwagon? Climate change is a part of everyone's consciousness these days and there are many ways to supposedly reduce your 'carbon footprint'. Yet do any of these methods make a difference? What is government doing to help people change their behaviour? Many of the green policies that the Labour government makes are ineffective when you look at them in detail and it becomes very hard for the average person to act in a responsible and sustainable way.

Me for example: I live in London. I share a flat with 2 others. I recycle. I only boil the water I need when I use the kettle. I try to re-use and waste as little as possible. I try to have shorter showers, I am trying to air-travel less, I walk to work rather than drive... and so on. Yet the really big changes I could make, like making my home better insulated and more energy efficient are rather beyond me as a tenant (and someone on a low income!). Furthermore when I recycle I am told by my council that they cannot collect half of the things that are supposedly 'recyclable'. I am desperate to try to make changes to reduce the impact I have on the environment and I genuinely believe small changes that individuals make will eventually make a large difference - if everyone joins in. Yet it is very hard.

I think the only way people will change is by a combination of strong government policy, peer pressure and community action. I am particularly interested in setting up a local community group who are passionate about their immediate environment and wish to have less of a negative impact on their surroundings. In London it is especially important to think about wildlife and greenspaces and so everyone should be aware of planning proposals in their area and think about ways to make their environment more 'green' and therefore more enjoyable.