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Green Corner


 

 

 

An A-Z of the environment & issues

by Peter Hatswell

 

 

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S is for Sustainability

 

now a favoured word with politicians and planners trying to apply a “green” veneer to their statements, which all too often pay lip service to environmental protection. Prime examples of this are the Government’s proposals for “sustainable communities” in their housing plans which will still rely heavily on cars for transport and require people to travel further for work, school and shopping.

There are many actions that can be taken towards a sustainable future, some by Government and local authorities and others by the general population. We can encourage our politicians for example to promote measures against flash flooding, plant lines of trees to act as a windbreaks, build cycleways, designate green corridors for wildlife, provide grants for home insulation and reduce waste at source.

In and about your home and garden you can try to minimise air pollution and traffic congestion by using cars sparingly, composting green waste, collecting water in water butts, keeping your garden as a porous surface, planting native species to enhance biodiversity, minimising your waste and insulating your window, walls and loft space where applicable. Climbing evergreens on house walls can also provide extra insulation and homes for birds.

It has been argued that house insulation is the most cost-effective way of saving energy and reducing your bills, allowing us to sustain a reasonably comfortable temperature without adding to greenhouse gases. Our current consumption of fossil fuel is certainly not sustainable and it is unlikely that we will ever be able to grow enough plant material to replace this energy with carbon-neutral biodiesel or methanol.

Wind power, wave power, solar power and even nuclear energy have a role to play in a sustainable economy but they may need compromises in their siting if we are serious about tackling climate change and the need to reduce our dependence on imported fuel supplies.

The sustainability message is for everybody to be good stewards of our planet and to continue doing the little “green” things which however insignificant now, will become essential in the future.

National

Friends of the Earth

 

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