sustainability

Help put end to bad cycle signage via survey

Whether you are an experienced cyclist or new to “active travel”, it is worth taking part in the Surrey County Council Covid-19 transport map.

Plenty of people will have found – or rediscovered – cycling in particular since Covid-19 lockdown began. Some people will have done so for pleasure and leisure, others making a firmer commitment to reach work or schools via cycling, or walking more.

Anyone who now takes a bike out for shopping, with children, their family or just to travel from A to B should consider filling in the survey. It gives people the chance not only to put dots on a map with a suggestion for improvements, but to like, support, or disagree with other suggestions.

While it is Surrey wide, it is divided into boroughs. Would you like an extra crossing near a school on a busy road? Would you like better signage? More cycle lanes? What would make cycling or walking safer?

Read More »Help put end to bad cycle signage via survey
An example of an oil drilling rig

Rejecting new oil drilling is slippery business

What did it mean when the Government declared a Climate Emergency and Surrey County Council – among other regional authorities – followed suit? Did it give them powers to act in certain ways?

Could they use it to influence policy? To set agendas? To change historical ways of doing things, in order to be more environmentally friendly? Was it a door ajar to push for change, and only ajar rather than open? Or a truly defining moment where the door was wide open and a real crack at reducing our carbon emissions could be made?

Working towards a carbon neutral Britain by 2050 has to start now – and many say that target should be much closer.

When Extinction Rebellion held London, and other cities, to ransom in April 2019, the UK Government took notice.

Read More »Rejecting new oil drilling is slippery business

Drill oil? Even PPE can be plastic free

At the start of lockdown, a friend remarked: “We’re told not to use so much plastic and now we’ve got all this plastic PPE that will need throwing away.”

What can we do? This week, two things happened to prompt thoughts about this.

The first one was part of the response by the company running Horse Hill’s oil drilling site after four Extinction Rebellion protesters broke in. A put down, condemning the actions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“And did they ever stop to think that the medical equipment and PPE the country sorely needs at present is derived from oil and gas? Face masks and visors, gloves, protective aprons, syringes, sterile tubes and pipes in intubators and ventilators, catheters, sample bottles, tablet dispensers, vital function computers and screens, the list is endless. Even patient notes are kept in a plastic file and ID wristbands are made from plastic. All are made from petroleum products. You cannot get away from it.”

Read More »Drill oil? Even PPE can be plastic free

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.

Read More »Spain sees the light over renewables

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
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. 

Read More »Climate emergency needs shift in economic thinking

Should you line food caddies with magazine envelopes?

An ever growing number of organisations are sending us their magazines in eco-friendly packaging: namely 100 per cent compostable bags.

They look like plastic, but they are not. One I have just received says it is made from potatoes.

While the much-trumpeted packaging offers advice on the limits of what you should do with it, such as put it in your waste food caddy but not in the plastic recycling or general bin, it doesn’t detail how long it will take to degrade in your garden compost facility.Read More »Should you line food caddies with magazine envelopes?

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

Recycling’s up in Surrey: now for further behavioural change

A graphic which popped up from Surrey County Council on social media caught my attention for several reasons, not least for the huge aid to the vulnerable right now during the Covid-19 crisis, but naturally on the recycling statistics.

The couple that stuck out were:

  • 92% of household waste and recycling collection services in Surrey are still running
  • 23% more waste and mixed recycling is being collected than normal

I am going to use these statistics as a platform entirely to speculate and to shape an optimistic argument about how we might reshape our thinking and change our behaviours to help the environment, in normal times. The statistics might even be incidental to thinking about changing habits.

Read More »Recycling’s up in Surrey: now for further behavioural change