climate change

Sharma’s COP26 challenge: plan to follow Greta’s lead

There are signs of progress of sustainability – saving our planet – in many walks of life. However, only with a sense of history can we judge if the Climate Emergency is truly being addressed.

Those judging whether humanity is making progress don’t have to have lived through the attempts or to have been old enough to make value judgements for all that time, either.

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, has been pretty vocal for a number of years. Having only just turned 18, on January 3, she has started the year and her adult life being outspoken and caustic. Just as outspoken and caustic as she was when she shot to fame as the girl who went on strike from school to highlight climate change.

Shouting from that modern rooftop, Twitter, she has roundly condemned political leaders. They have, she said, failed to achieve any of their ambitious biodiversity goals, set in 2010 and agreed at a conference in Aichi, Japan.

Read More »Sharma’s COP26 challenge: plan to follow Greta’s lead

The real Reigate solution: pedestrianise the High Street

When the community recycling centre at Earlswood reopened after lockdown and there were long traffic queues, was the solution to get rid of the recycling centre? No, of course not. After McDonalds’ drive through in Salfords reopened and there were long queues for that too, was the restaurant removed? Don’t be silly.

But when temporary cycle lanes were introduced in Reigate Town Centre last Saturday morning – and were instantly blamed for long traffic queues – were they removed? Or did the delayed drivers think about taking alternative routes instead, another time?

They didn’t get much thinking time. These cycle lanes were part of the Active Travel funding given by central government – the Department for Transport – to Surrey. This was intended to improve cycle access and walkways. In a nationwide scheme, councils were asked to bid for money to set up temporary improvements. But the three-week experiment was halted on Monday night, after three days. By which time there was very little traffic to be impeded.

Read More »The real Reigate solution: pedestrianise the High Street
Generic picture of oil refinery

BP’s answer to climate emergency: shed staff

When BP announced on Monday that it would shed 10,000 staff by the end of the year because of a drop in demand for oil and investing more in renewable energy forms, on a drive towards being carbon neutral, it raised many more questions than it answered.

CEO Bernard Looney wrote up on LinkedIn what he had told staff in his briefing. It became listed as an “editor’s choice” story on the news feed of the business social networking site.

Commentators offered many viewpoints. One was that this shedding of staff was inevitable. It was merely delayed from March and in fact the company’s line about there being a drop in demand for oil pre-dated the Covid-19 crisis, when there was a large drop in demand for oil.

Readers might have noticed that there were far fewer aeroplanes, that far fewer people drove – including to work – and the petrol prices dipped to about £1.00 per litre at the pumps.

Read More »BP’s answer to climate emergency: shed staff
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

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

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

National Gardening Week: Is gardening like parenting?

The thought occurs that gardening is much like parenting – and that perhaps I should quit before expanding on that notion!

The similarities are easy to see: gardeners and parents want to: nurture, encourage and watch as growth occurs; create an environment where that can happen; eradicate the bad stuff; and bring the fruits of their endeavours to maturity without too many major dramas!

However, while there are many people who can profess to be experts in gardening (which I don’t, it’s just a hobby), you can merely be experienced parents. There’s no such thing as an expert parent: it’s an imperfect exercise.

Read More »National Gardening Week: Is gardening like parenting?