Going Greener – It’s Lifestyle Stupid

10487211-magnified-illustration-with-the-word-news-on-white-backgroundIt’s great that Havant Goes Green Greener is up for its third year this Saturday. One day in 365 is not a big ask to turn our minds away from consumption towards containment from growth to re-distribution? By now most people get the green message, some more than others but there’s still a hard core who don’t or won’t and for these we have nothing to offer. Talking of consumption, The Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, a research body, has said that carbon footprint (CF) is all about how much we spend and that in turn relates to income and lifestyles. Hence some London boroughs have the lowest carbon footprint in the country, not because they are consciously green but many are generally on low incomes. The low cost solution, such as taking the bus instead of a car, local shops rather than supermarkets and recycled products, ‘staycations’ in place of flying abroad all add up to lower CF’s while the opposite is true.

In Hampshire Winchester and the rural areas have higher per capita CF’s than say Portsmouth, where densities are much higher and incomes much lower. calculating our total carbon cost is very challenging area. The Potsdam researchers have worked out that producing a simple T shirt, for example, causes emissions in many different parts of the world – from the cultivation of the cotton to the dying process, from the manufacturing process to transportation services required for each production step. Country emissions account only for those directly released within the territory and exclude imported CO2. which the UK’s case among the highest in the EU.

Click here to read more of the story on Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Fracking Frenzy Threatens Hampshire

Fracking MarchMuch of the focus on the fracking bonanza announced by the government is focused on what George Osborne’s father in law calls on the ‘desolate’ north and the Balcombe site in West Sussex. But as minister, Michael Fallon, revealed recently Hampshire and other parts of West Sussex are on the fracker’s list with sites already pencilled in around the county.

An attempt by one political group on Hampshire County Council to put forward a motion banning fracking in the county fell at the first fence for what was described as legal reasons. As the mineral and planning authority for Hampshire the county council has a huge stake in the fracking frenzy but it looks as if the government plans to bypass local objections and consultations and press on regardless. More and more mainly Tory MPs are waking up to the fact that local fracking projects could cost them their seats in 2015 if they continue to just sit on their backsides.

More info on http://frack-off.org.uk/

Hampshire’s Green Journey Gets Tougher

Hampshire County Council Offices

On the face of it the prospects for a greener Hampshire receded a little in last Thursday’s election Most of us will be aware of the Ukip’s record on environmental issues such as denying climate change, hating wind farms, solar energy and also favour fracking.

While the Tories are still in charge they are unlikely to do anything between now and 2015 that might be a gift to Ukip’s 10 new councillors. The Lib Dems remain the largest opposition party but with only 17 seats in a 74-seat council they’re most likely going to be more focused on their two remaining Hampshire seats in Westminster.

They were not exactly proactive when they had 24 seats and the one Green councillor from Totton lost his seat. Of course not all Tories are like Ukip and we must work with whoever we can and while perhaps small by comparison, there are still influential, green-leaning voters in all parties. Our main local challenge is activism and getting through to a new generation of campaigners that can help keep up the pressure.

Hayling Island survey rejects 20 mph pilot

20mph Zone

Plans for slowing down traffic speed on some Hayling Island roads have received a major set back. A poll among just over a 1000 residents has said  that they don’t want it or at least a small majority among the less than half who actually voted.

Havant FOE has always supported the 20’s plenty campaign and schemes such as the one in Portmouth for making towns and cities more pedestrian and bike friendly. Obviously slower speed campaign do not alone replace enforcement but can help raise awareness that speed kills and that the chances of surviving a 20mph collision are greater than 40mph.