Saturday, 7 July 2007

I'm watching this Live Earth concert at the moment. Yes - I am admitting to watching the TV on a Saturday night, in my slippers too :o) And I can't help but think that the whole thing is quite bizarre.

Now, before anyone complains that I am a cynic and/or whinger, I understand the rationale of the concerts around the world to raise awareness about climate change. But...

Firstly, the mind boggles with regard to the size of the collective carbon footprint of all these concerts - the lights, the sound, the performers travelling to the concert venues in their private jets and gas guzzling people carriers, then there is the audience and their car journeys. Maybe one could argue that tonight's carbon footprint is minuscule compared to the potential impact that the concerts could have in reducing our carbon output in the future. Perhaps. But it is a strange dual message to be sending out to the masses on their sofas.

Secondly, I suspect that most people are in fact aware that they should be doing something to reduce their impact on the environment. Awareness is one thing; changing behaviour is another.
Now, this is a topic I've covered in my blog before, but I think it's worth repeating in this context. As citizens, we look to our governments to do more to help us reduce our carbon footprints. People lead busy lives, and don't always have the time to research all the issues or to go out of their way to do things differently. Many people also need additional support. An elderly relative of mine, for example, who is in sheltered housing and sometimes confused, is not really able to sort her waste for recycling.

Among the things I believe our governments need to do are:

  • Make public transport a truly viable alternative to car use.
  • Increase the provision of convenient recycling facilities AND educate people about how to recycle all the various materials we use in our everyday lives. How many people know how to dispose of batteries properly?
  • Make it easier for people to purchase micro-generation, so they can harness the power of renewable energy for their homes.
  • Educate us. For example, until I read a newspaper article on this recently, I wasn't sure about what foods were actually seasonal in Scotland. Now I have that information, I will try to do something about it in order to reduce the food miles accumulated to feed me.
In other words, the easier it becomes to change our behaviour for the better, the more chance we have of actually combating climate change.

No comments: