Richmond-upon-Thames is Going Plastic-Free

Kew goes plastic-bag-freeRichmond traders and residents are campaigning to end the use of plastic bags for shopping in the borough.

You Can Help

• Get a reusable shopping bag - you can buy one of the Greener Kew ones from a local trader if you need one
• Express your support for the campaign to local traders
• Encourage traders who haven't pledged yet to take part

You can share your comments and ideas here on this blog - Keep it clean if not Green!

Get Email Updates from this Site

Your email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz. Your address will not be used for any other purpose and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The Age of Stupid

Last night I watched a climate 'activist' film called the Age of Stupid. It is basically a documentary set within a dramatisation showing the world in 2055 when things have gone very badly wrong and most life, and most humans, have disappeared. Pete Postlethwaite sits in an archive wondering why we were so stupid, and didnt act to save ourselves before it was too late, when it was so very obvious that there was a climate crisis emerging.

It was very moving and energising and the premiere was run on solar power in Leicester Square. It had about 1% of the emissions of a typical hollywood premiere apparently.

It ended with a couple of announcements, one being that the Maldives have announced they are going to be the world's first carbon-neutral country, and intend to achieve this within 10 years. Another was from Pete Postlethwaite who said to Ed Milliband, who was brave enough to turn up for a bashing, that if the government approve the building of a coal station in Kent this year, he will return his OBE - and he will also demand that Ed Milliband should be removed from his post as he is not fit to represent the people. They also wanted to draw attention to the Copenhagen summit this December at which emissions will be discussed and targets agreed, by the world's governments.

There is lots more to say about all this and it is very much a fierce campaign. The people who believe climate change is an emergnecy, naturally become very passionate about it. If you dont think it is an emergency you are less likely to be so active and passionate although you might think there is some kind of problem that you can address in a few small ways.

I felt the film was not just about climate change however. Quite a lot of it was about social injustice and the oil industry, it was centered around the idea that oil is a dirty thing. I felt this was a distortion.

For example, it is a fact that up to a fifth of the world's carbon emissions are coming from forests as they are cut and burned away. This was not mentioned once in the film , the whole focus was on oil - in the states, in nigeria, in iraq, in india; but oil is not the only factor and oil is not all bad. It would be good if they had mentioned the forests and included a sotry of someone in a forest/deforested area. Deforestation is a serious issue here becuase not only are you releasing carbon from the living trees of today (as opposed to the dead plants of the long distant past, as in oil) but you are also destroying one of the few natural carbon capture systems we have that can function on a really large scale. Its a climate double whammy.

We all are contributing to all these problems, and to deforestation we are adding through the consumption of palm oil, meat, and timber products. Palm oil is in almost everything you want to eat or use in cosmetics, shampoos, soaps etc, so its a nightmare trying to cut it out of your diet or lifestyle. I've tried to start doing it - its really really hard. Meat - especially the beef cattle - is nourished on a lot of soya and other vegetable products a lot of which are grown in cleared forest lands, largely in South America's Amazon forests, and unfortunately the land doesnt stay cultivable for more than a few years so there is a constant need to move on and clear more forest.

Timber and wood and paper markets also add to the damage - the construction industry uses a lot of the asian rainforests, in particular for China's growth. But also many of the nice garden furniture you buy at the garden centre has come from - often illegally - logged forests in Asia. This to me is scandalous but it goes on. Even worse was when I learned that some loo paper is made from tropical forest wood. This is really dreadful to destroy such wealth of species and diversity so we can wipe our arses once. I would like to see laws that loo roll has to be made of recycled paper.

Anyway putting all that aside I would like to propose that we could investigate having a screening of the Age of Stupid in Kew when it becomes publicly available on May 1st. In the meantime you can go to see it at a cinema.

Find out more
Film: The Age of Stupid
Climate Change Campaigners
Deforestation and Climate Change

Thanks for reading, do post your comments.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Titbit for interested folks

London Sustainability Exchange invites you to join the Energise London Learning Network and benefit from a free suite of services to support your work in Energising Londoners towards energy efficiency, use of renewable energy sources, and water conservation.

You will get all these free services by signing up! Join now by contacting Rachel Grewal (

I have enclosed a briefing sheet of the project

Rachel Grewal

Behaviour Change Programme Assistant
London Sustainability Exchange
84 Long Lane
London SE1 4AU
Tel: 020 7234 9405

Fax: 020 7234 9419

Government Policy on Plastic Bags

A while ago I signed a petition on the Number 10 website, about plastic bags, and the Government has now responsed to the petition:

"The Government is committed to reducing significantly the wasteful distribution of single-use carrier bags, and has already taken decisive action.

The Government now has powers, introduced through the Climate Change Act, to require retailers to charge for the carrier bags they distribute, but our preference has always been for a voluntary approach to reducing bag use. This was behind the Government’s decision to sign up to an agreement in December 2008 with Britain’s leading supermarkets represented by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). This committed to a 50 per cent cut in the number of carrier bags given out by spring 2009, working towards an eventual reduction of 70% in numbers of bags distributed. This is a positive development and is exactly the reduction in bag distribution we have been seeking, and is a similar reduction to what we estimate could be achieved through legislation. The enabling powers in the Climate Change Act have motivated retailers who have responded well to these challenging targets. The Government is confident that, with the continued help of their customers, retailers will deliver significant reductions in the numbers of bags they give out.

Progress on the agreement will be monitored by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). We will review to see if the 50 per cent target has been achieved this spring, and again in 2010, to assess further progress. Whilst regulation remains as a fallback, to be used if the voluntary action was not sufficient, we feel that it would be inappropriate to regulate just now when retailers are offering to do so much on a voluntary basis."

I will be interested to know if the 50% drop has come as expected, and your views on whether this is the right approach.

I do feel that even if we campaign very hard locally, eventually government and other social forces will be the effector of real change. This doesnt mean I dont think its worth doing - it helps smooth the way for the bigger players and it also means we can in the future take the lead on other green issues locally.

Does anyone know whether Richmond is signed up to the Sustainable Communities Act? I think it is but its nowhere to be found on their website.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Greener Kew is Going Global!

well not quite, but it is spreading:

Traders across the borough of Richmond upon Thames are getting together with Greener upon Thames to help end the free plastic bag culture that has caused so much damage, particularly to the world's ocean life.

We want to pursue a healthier world by taking responsibility for our needless waste. Convenience is easy, but our environment is in trouble. It's not that hard - just bring your own bags, just like your parents used to do.