Sustainability

Where hard standing gives way to nature

Cycle and walkway ideas need quick wheels

Wandering around Earlswood Common, some thoughts occur on whether the area is ripe for applications to improve walking and cycle facilities.

During National Walking Month (May), this area has been popular, as locked down residents seek their daily exercise. Many other areas, such as Redhill’s Memorial Park, have become equally as populated, especially by those who like to spend their exercise time sitting – on the grass as much as a bicycle.

Recently, as previously commented upon, the Government announced a £2bn pot to fund walking and cycling access around towns, with Surrey so far offering a temporary scheme in Farnham, in the west of the county, and another to follow in Reigate town centre.

Read More »Cycle and walkway ideas need quick wheels

Spain sees the light over renewables

For those who dream of fuelling their electric cars – if we choose to drive – from our homes, powered by solar panels (our own or those from community projects) it seems there is hope.

The Spanish Government has passed a draft climate law to rely solely on renewable energy, buy 2050 – when it wants to reach carbon neutrality.

If approved, it would end fossil fuel subsidies in Spain.

What of us in Britain? A European commission report in January last year found that the UK government gave £10.5bn in support of fossil fuels per year, compared to just under £8bn to renewables. Australia seems to be pushing to “build fossil fuel infrastructure that will operate for decades” as it comes out of the Covid-19 crisis.

Spain sees the opportunity to create a potential 350,000 jobs from new economies per year and is acting quickly.

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A chance to recycle history for the community

It was not the intention of this blog to be a breaking news site, but it now slips down that road to demonstrate that environmentalism is a far wider subject than just thinking about the planet in terms of saving nature, or protecting it from plastic.

Environmentalism encompasses a lot of other aspects of life, such as retaining history and protecting heritage – think the National Trust and others. It is also about repurposing, from within the garden to larger properties, fostering communities and making sure the less well off are supported. That could be countries suffering climate emergency problems causing refugees or communities closer to home. Lockdown has taught us much about looking after each other.

In the past few days, it has been highlighted that a building of significant – so campaigners say – historical note in Redhill has come under threat. 

Read More »A chance to recycle history for the community
Packaging at Morrisons

More reasons to think supermarkets are noting planet

Is the tide turning towards environmentalism and business solutions that protect the planet and all its inhabitants? Even a little bit?

While our Governments remain slow to inject a real sense of pace and urgency towards the Climate Emergency, there are – as it were – green shoots.

After central Government announced money to fund cycling and walking projects [a week later that Scotland], in Surrey, it was dragged out of a representative of the county council some time later that there is a pop-up pedestrian pathway planned for Farnham, with another to follow in Reigate in a couple of weeks’ time.

At least something, then, at opposite sides of our wide “shire”. A beacon of hope that the thought is there, resonating somewhere within an authority that has declared a Climate Emergency.

Read More »More reasons to think supermarkets are noting planet
Humans are being displaced from uninhabitable areas already

Climate emergency needs shift in economic thinking

“Lockdown is showing us the misery that Net Zero 2050 will demand.”

In one sense, the headline offered hope. Could this be, finally, a national media journalist outside the Guardian offering us a glittering set of solutions for the climate emergency, to avoid Net Zero in 2050?

Not a bit of it. Charles Moore, in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, offered under the above headline exactly what I feared: fear of changing our ways because it would upset our current economic model. Or, more precisely, the economic model of the rich, individuals or nations, who would trample on those affected by climate change; the refugees already beginning to be displaced by shrivelled up land that has become uninhabitable. 

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When students demand what to be taught, let’s listen

Students. Anti-establishment. Rebellious, or looking for an excuse to be. Demanding. Campaigning. And learning courtesy of state funding.

That was the perception of many when I was at university (which was a while ago). One of my flatmates once even sneered at a charity spokesperson on the television saying she was probably a Guardian-reading recent graduate. What did he think he was going to become upon, er, graduating?

The bit about learning courtesy of state funding is no longer true. And these protesting students, they’re getting younger. They are still at school, many of them.

Read More »When students demand what to be taught, let’s listen

Lockdown those cycling and walkway ideas

At last, this glorious England speaks. A week or so after the Scottish Parliament was among several nations to announce a plan and finance for cycle and walking infrastructure, the English government did so.

Or rather, the UK government announced a package. But was this bit just for England?

A £2bn plan to improve walk and cycleways was part of a £5bn package announced in February for improve cycle and buses.

It was made to look new when Andrew Gilligan, an adviser to the Government, trumpeted it on Saturday, as an update to the Traffic Management Act 2004. Read More »Lockdown those cycling and walkway ideas

Carbon neutral and the packaging paradox

An English A-level student known to me has frequently asked what’s the difference between an oxymoron, a paradox and irony?

A couple of packaging labels put the question into full perspective. Both companies claim to be carbon neutral – a noble aim in a world more geared towards sustainability than of old. Some businesses are concerned about how far their products travel and how they are made and have been making strides to improve for years or even decades.

Yet their packaging…

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Riding a sustainable travel path after Covid-19

It is wonderful to see that nations, or cities, are pondering a more environmentally friendly future as society ponders an exit from Covid-19 lockdown.

Indeed, sustainability is part of the solution – and our local authorities can act swiftly to play their part.

Last week, world leaders came together to try to agree on a “greener” future. That seemed a message of hope for a long-term plan.

Read More »Riding a sustainable travel path after Covid-19