This post is by policy adviser Hannah Kyrke-Smith.
On Monday 25 June 2012, we brought together the residents from an inner London high rise estate and three of their local councillors to take part in the first of three workshops we’re holding in estates across the city under our Towering Ambitions project.
We are looking into the sustainable living challenges faced by people in tower blocks. Visions of a greener, cleaner future often involve people living and working happily in tall, shining towers, taking advantage of the benefits they offer of saving space, reducing waste and maximising efficiency. Sadly though, the reality of tower block life is a long way from this vision and they can be among the least green places to live. And this problem is acute in many parts of London where nearly half the population lives in high density accommodation. Read more
This article is by Thomas Lingard, global advocacy director at Unilever and former deputy director at Green Alliance. It first appeared on Guardian Sustainable Business.
Silence on climate change and sustainability is not an abstention from the debate, it’s an abdication of responsibility for which no amount of other corporate good deeds can compensate.
What was clear from the outset of Unilever’s ambitious Sustainable Living Plan was that it could not be delivered by one organisation in isolation. It requires collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders on a whole range of issues. But one type of collaboration less well understood is the relationship between progressive business and governments who are trying to rewrite the rules of the game to align both the short and long term business interests with the creation of a low carbon world and promotion of sustainable living. Read more
Regular readers of the Green Living blog may have noticed that we’ve begun posting content that isn’t strictly about sustainable living, but relates to environmental policy and politics more broadly. This is part of a plan to turn this blog into a much wider platform for debate, covering all areas of Green Alliance’s work and UK green policy and politics. Yesterday we re-named this the Green Alliance blog.
We will continue to cover sustainable living and behaviour change, building on the wealth of content we’ve amassed over the past year and a half. Readers primarily interested in this can click on the ‘behaviour change posts‘ button in the menu at the top.
What would you particularly like to read on our blog? We’d welcome any thoughts in the comments below.
This is a guest post by Rebecca Willis, a Green Alliance associate. It was first published on guardian.co.uk.
It is based on Demanding Less: Why we need a new politics of energy, by Rebecca Willis and Nick Eyre, which was launched at a recent Green Alliance catalyst debate (watch video).
A few years ago, Jeffrey Dukes, a US biologist, was driving through the deserts of Utah on his way to a research station. As his car ate up the miles, he began thinking about the fuel in the tank, and the plants that it had come from. How many ancient plants, he wondered, had it taken to power him across the desert? He asked around, but couldn’t find out. “The more I searched, the more frustrated I got. No one knew the answer.”
So he did the sums himself. He worked out that a staggering 25 tonnes of plant matter go into every single litre of petrol. “I realised,” says Dukes, “that nearly everything I do depends upon plants that grew millions of years ago; and that without them, my life would be completely different.” Read more
This is a guest post from Matt Walters, a broadcaster and resident of London on a mission to live more sustainably.
I am peering through the blinds of my flat like a suspicious neighbour with something to hide. I have got something, it’s a full-to-burst black bin bag. Outside in the wheelie bin this sack of guilt is anonymous rubbish, here in my hand it is proof of my failure. Thankfully my peering reveals nothing, no friendly neighbours or inquisitive friends popping by with the dreaded question, “how’s it going Matt, with the rubbish challenge thing?” I make a dash for it.
Of course this guilt is self imposed. Lots of Britain’s residents, my peers included, happily bin their household waste without a worry. Some will not even bother to recycle. For me though I couldn’t escape a nagging feeling that I have developed bad habits at the expense of the environment. With this as my motivation I set about inventing a series of eco challenges to help change the way I live. Currently I am trying to cut out all my non-recyclable household waste and to start things off last year I tackled my dependency on fossil fuel powered transport. Read more
This is a guest post by Solitaire Townsend, co-director of sustainable communications agency Futerra. It is part of a series of comment pieces on whether government needs to do more than nudge us towards sustainable living.
When it comes to sustainable lifestyles most of us suffer from ‘enthusiastic inertia’. It all sounds rather nice (in a glammed-up Good Life type of way) and we believe it’s a jolly important thing for people to do. But not for us, or at least not for us right now. Read more
This is a guest post by Rebecca Willis, an associate of Green Alliance.
Does government need to do more than nudge us toward sustainable living? I think the short answer to this question is a simple no.
Retrofitting millions of old homes is top of the government’s priority list – but what does an efficient house look like? I spoke to John Doggart of the Sustainable Energy Academy about the charity’s nation-wide network of Superhomes.