Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:12 pm Post subject: Go Green!
might have to change some details about People and Planet action but I think that's what's happening
If everyone consumed resources at the rate of the UK average, we would need 8 planets for the resources for the 10 billion population of 2050.
Everyone must be accountable for their lifestyle. We are socialised into the mentality of mass consumption; spend and consume to keep the economy afloat!
Consumer choices are powerful and everyone is responsible for their consequences. As George Monbiot recently wrote, ‘Are you paying to burn the rainforest? If you’re buying Brazilian beef, the answer is yes.’ Most of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest is caused by cattle ranching. Soya is also very lucrative and rainforest is extensively destroyed for the crop. The UK is Brazil’s 4th largest customer for beef. ‘Next time you see footage of the forest burning, remember that you might have paid for it’. Slavery has risen with increasing beef production. The rainforest is the most beautiful place and so important, amongst many other things, for biodiversity and climate. The loss of the Amazon would result in a massive reduction in global rainfall. The rainforest is a carbon sink, taking in carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen. Carbon dioxide is released when trees are burnt, contributing to global warming. That Brazilian beef you bought the other day has gone a long way in messing up the world. Meat is the most resource-costly form of food as livestock waste most of the energy and protein value of their feed in digestion and body maintenance. Vast areas of land are needed for animal feed when more food can be obtained by using land for crops for human consumption. Livestock herds account for 10% of all greenhouse gases. Go to www.ciwf.org (Compassion in World Farming Trust). I’m not going to start on the horrors of intensive farming for livestock welfare.
We are creating a ‘climate apartheid’ (Soumitra Ghosh) where the Majority world (New Internationalist’s term for the ‘Third world’) is paying for carbon use by the rich with their health, land and lives. People who are less well-equipped to live with climate change and who have not contributed so much to climate change are unfairly affected. Climate change is not just an environmental problem; it’s everyone’s problem and will affect everything.
Corporations should be made accountable for their actions but they mainly rely on the consumer. There is much we can do, as consumers, and as global citizens. Watch what you fund by what you buy. Reduce energy use in the home. Take public transport/bike! Reduce waste, reuse and recycle.
The University of Birmingham’s People and Planet have a ‘Go Green’ campaign. As well as increasing awareness about environmental issues, we are campaigning to ‘green’ university and students. The university has the environmental impact of a small town, annually spending £10 million on water and energy, buying ~400 tonnes of paper and generating ~1000 tonnes of waste. Our campaign is to increase the University Environment Co-ordinator’s job to full-time, conduct an environmental review of the university’s impacts, produce and implement an official environmental policy, with the active public support of senior management.
Go to http://students.bugs.bham.ac.uk/peopleandplanet for more!
The Guild’s Environment week is from the 6th to the 12th of March. There will be a People and Planet stall all week with events and speakers on Thursday 9th, come to the Guild and find out!