This post is by Sam Hampton of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
There are nearly six million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, including a wide variety of business types, ranging from fairly large manufacturing companies to small family firms, social enterprises and micro-businesses. Altogether their energy use produces enormous quantities of carbon emissions. Read more
Environmentalists have long grappled with problems of ‘climate fatigue’ and the paralysis that can result from the threat of impending disaster, especially if that disaster is approaching slowly, “like a tidal wave of treacle”, as I’ve heard it described. Read more
This post is by Dr Colin Church, CEO of CIWM, the leading institution for resources and waste management, and the chair of the Circular Economy Task Force.
In the resource management sector, when a group of ‘strategic colleagues’ meets up, one of the conversations I’ve often heard around the table is a lament as to why politicians and the media are so focused on carrier bags, or plastic bottles, or coffee cups, or any other single product or waste stream in the news that day. They argue that this is deflecting attention from the holistic and more important bigger picture around resource productivity and the circular economy. Given that several of these specific issues featured in Michael Gove’s first keynote speech on the environment recently, I imagine this conversation is live once more. Read more
Running Green Alliance often feels like bare back horse riding. It requires a constant appetite for danger, good balance and lots of trust. You don’t have the padding of a large public membership to keep you stable, but if you channel the support and ideas of the sector you get an exhilarating ride. Read more
This blog is by Micol Salmeri, policy assistant in the low carbon energy theme at Green Alliance.
France is tackling climate change at the local level by exploiting people’s natural competitiveness. For the past eight years, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), in collaboration with local energy agencies (such as Prioriterre), has been using energy saving competitions to encourage people to create ‘Positive Energy Families’. It has had a big impact, with nearly 30,000 families or teams, in 81 of the 101 French départements (counties), taking part since 2008, saving an average of £160 per household. Read more
The moral and practical dilemmas around internships are one of the hardest issues to manage if you run a charity. It has required soul searching, time and planning for Green Alliance to resolve them and through the process we’ve learnt a few things.
The moral case against unpaid internships is laid out very well by the campaigning organisation intern aware. There are two principle arguments: first, that unpaid internships exploit young people desperate for work experience; and, second, that they lock-in privilege by excluding those who can’t afford to work unpaid. Read more
Over the past five years there’s been a lot of hype about the sharing economy. Hundreds of start-ups are popping up (many of which epically fail) providing opportunities to share everything from sofas to secrets. There’s still much debate about what the sharing economy actually is, and how it overlaps with similar concepts like collaborative consumption and the peer to peer economy. Read more
This post is by Brendan May, chairman of The Robertsbridge Group.
Some years ago, Prince Charles got into trouble for accepting an environment award overseas. ‘But he flew!’, they cried. Since then, from what I can tell, HRH has had to resort largely to pre-recorded video pieces or appearing as a hologram at non-British environmental summits. Mercifully, he adds as much sustainability work onto his official state visits as he can. Having seen first hand what his interventions can do to get a green cause moving (sustainable seafood, in my case) I was sufficiently irritated by the furore to write to one of the newspapers that covered the story. I argued that the Prince and others who spend most of their waking hours trying to stop business and government wrecking the planet should not just be entitled to travel the world but have an obligation to do so, building global traction for sustainability efforts. Read more
This guest post is by energy and climate change consultant Paula Owen. It first appeared on GreenBiz.com
Behaviour change interventions have so far had surprisingly limited success in motivating wider society into taking positive environmental action. Despite constant bombardment of messages regarding ice caps melting, sea levels rising, polar bears drowning, exceptional droughts, and 100-year storm occurrences becoming more frequent, a majority of the population still do nothing more than put the recycling out once a week and buy fair trade bananas from their local supermarket. Read more
This post is by Matthew Lockwood, senior research fellow at the University of Exeter.
Last week I blogged on how UKIP’s rise has been mirrored by a rise in the proportion of people saying that they do not think the world is warming. There may or may not be a causal link between the two, but my hypothesis is that you would expect populism to drive climate denial, not just here but also in the US, in the form of the Tea Party movement. Let’s assume that my hypothesis is correct. In the long term populism tends to self-destruct but, unfortunately, it can do a lot of damage before that happens. So what should those who are concerned with the effects on climate policy do about it?