Monday, November 23, 2009

The Wave

Occasionally there is an event that attracts people’s attention. The one that is coming soon is “The Wave”. This is an event that is happening in London on December 5th.
Activists from all over UK are coming together to show that they are concerned about Climate Change and want our elected leaders to do something about it.
Ahead of the crucial UN climate summit in Copenhagen, tens of thousands of people from all walks of life will flow through the streets of London to demonstrate their support for a safe climate future for all.
Part of a global series of public actions, The Wave will call on world leaders to take urgent action to secure a fair international deal to stop global warming exceeding the danger threshold of 2 degrees C.
The Wave, organised by the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, will show mass support by people from all backgrounds for a better, low carbon future for the UK and the world.
We want the UK Government to show leadership at Copenhagen. We want them to Protect the Poorest, Act Fair & Fast, and to Quit Dirty Coal now, to inspire the deal the world needs..
I will be at "The Wave” - the UK’s biggest ever demonstration in support of action on climate change so far. There are buses going from all round Birmingham.
Hope to see you there.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Made in Birmingham

Esther Boyd describes in her Birmingham Mail – Lighter Footprints Blog visiting the Ecohouse in Balsall Heath last Saturday. I also went during the day but was impressed with some different issues.
It is a great achievement to build a house that conforms to Sustainable Homes Code 6. It is even more of an achievement to incorporate an existing Victorian house into the design. John Christopher the architect and owner of the house described the effort he had put in to achieve the standard. What we have to remember is that by 2016 this house has not to be the exception but the norm. Every new house will have to achieve this standard.
The house is very much a building that will be appreciated by architects both for its layout and aesthetics but it was not that which impressed me. What I thought was especially special was the way materials had been chosen. Some were recycled, some were local but all had a low embedded energy content. For instance the floors were made of clay from the site instead of using cement that uses a lot of energy to produce. A lot of care had gone into each detail but I was left wondering what will happen when houses to Sustainability Homes Code 6 have to be mass produced.

A great effort and one that should put Birmingham on the Eco-homes map.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Growth or Degrowth?

The forthcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December is encouraging many people to put forward their suggestions and comments. These include Nick Stern who was one of the first to write about the economics of Climate Change. He has now said that ” the current economic depression gives the world a unique, unrepeatable opportunity to tackle climate change and poverty.”
Oliver Tickell in the Guardian follows this up with “one thing we do not need is an early recovery which raises demand for fossil energy, creating new spikes in the price of oil, gas and coal, so sowing the seeds of its own destruction. For the high price of fossil fuels was surely one of the triggers that created this global depression in the first place. That is why we need to to bring about huge investments in renewable energy technologies and the associated infrastructure
Not to forget energy efficiency and conservation: making our homes, offices, industries and transport systems more frugal in their energy demands. In this way when the recovery comes, we will have the clean, green energy to supply it, and lower demand to avoid pushing up fossil fuel prices. And in the meanwhile we will have created millions of jobs in the new green industries, civil engineering and construction, putting skilled but idle hands to productive use.”
All this may sound rather academic and you find yourself asking “What can I do?” Magazines and newspapers are full of adverts encouraging us to take advantage of offers about insulating our homes. At least we should each look to see if we have brought our own properties up to scratch. Also remember that this encourages employment in the local green industries.