Thursday, 31 January 2008

ECO HEROES and WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH ALL OUR STUFF?

One of my eco architect heroes is William McDonough. He co-wrote CRADLE TO CRADLE with Michael Braungart. A book that describes their pholosophies on sustainable design and a worldwide industry that reuses everything and makes nothing for the landfill.

Bill has a very dry and entertaining sense of humour.
Put on the kettle, make a cup of tea and watch this... It's 20 minutes of your life that could potentially change the way you see everything around you...

He makes so much sense, it gives me chills.

video

...and on the note of recycling
EVERYTHING


A couple of weeks ago I started a course called
GREENING YOUR
BUSINESS

So I think, since I'm a one woman operation and work from home, my carbon output is as low as I can make it...or is it? Last year I wrote an article on Greening Your Home Office for a publication for editors and proof readers called EDITING MATTERS. Most of their readers work from their home offices and I pointed out that somone working at home has the control over room temperature and lighting that employees in a big office building may not have so the little energy saving things you can do are many.


London Remade are in charge of the lectures. Their mission it is to get London recycling. A staggering 73% of London's waste still goes to the landfill and London Remade are in the business of helping small businesses recycle more, buy recycled products and reduce their consumption.

ENVIROWISE are a company that offers free advice to companies large and small on how to lower energy costs on lighting, heating and water use. They offer UK businesses free, independent, confidential advice and support on practical ways to increase profits, minimise waste and reduce environmental impact.

They will come to your business for free (yes, FREE!) and create a tailor made action plan for saving your company's overheads. Last year alone they identified and estimated £600,000 of potential savings could be made by following their advice.

CARBON SMART talked about encompassing the whole green enchilada when it come to reducing, reusing, recycling, lowering energy and water consumption, travel methods to work, carbon offsetting and generally being not necessarily 'carbon neutral' but CARBON SMART...well, the clue is in the title, then.

They recognise that may businesses want to raise their green profile and in doing so can talk about and advertise their 'Greeness'. This is very useful to we consumers, who, let's face it are bombarded with a lot of GREEN WASHING these days and I don't like it.





One of the most fun presentations
was by ENTERPRISE.They asked us to identify the good and bad aspects of traveling in London.

The lists included
GOOD
  • good public transport system
  • great green areas (parks) to walk through
  • Bicycle lanes
  • Gorgeous architecture and historical buildings to enjoy
  • if you use public transport you walk more - stay fit
BAD
  • bus and tube too expensive
  • congestion charge
  • no AC on the tube/bus in the summer
  • delays and over crowding on the tube/bus
  • no more ROUTEMASTERS
They then asked us what we would do to improve travel in London and along with my idea to make the tube and bus almost free came, more trains at rush hour, better conditions for cyclists, more bicycle racks at places of work and cheap/free bikes provided by companies for their employees.

In Paris (for 20 Euros for the weekend and 30 Euros for the week) you can rent a bike on a street corner and drop it off elsewhere after your journey. What a great way to see the city? This programme was started during a transportation strike and ended up helping reduce the cars in the city. At first there were a lot of accidents while motorists learned to be more aware of the increased number of bicycles on the road.

Everyone at the conference agreed that this would be a great programme to have in London...


As I said, my carbon footprint is pretty low and when it was added to the
other delegates on my table who also walked or took the tube/bus to the conference, we won the lowest travel carbon footprint award for the day and won a £10 Oyster card and some chocolate coins - hurrah!!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, it always has great insight. But I am very frustrated with the fact that so few people are talking about presidential candidates and their thoughts on global warming. Now that it is down to just a few candidates I would think that this would be a bigger issue.

Live Earth just picked up this topic and put out an article ( http://www.liveearth.org/news.php ) live earth is also asking why the presidential candidates are not being solicited for their stance on the issue of the climate change. I just saw a poll on www.EarthLab.com that says people care a lot about what their next leader thinks of global warming. Does anyone know of another poll or other results about this subject?

Here is the page where I saw the EarthLab poll: http://www.earthlab.com/life.aspx. This is a pretty legit website; they are endorsed by Al Gore and the alliance for climate protection and they have a carbon footprint calculator. Does anyone have a strong opinion about this like I do? No matter what your political affiliation is or who you vote for this is an important issue for our environment, our economy and for homeland security.