Can’t we fix our own house before lending the neighbours our lawnmower and drill?

So, I’m on a nice and packed train from Leeds to Glasgow after watching a good win for Scotland in the Rugby World Cup and, while idly reading news articles and Facebook between signal hotspots, I have been thinking about the state of our own house.

That being the UK in relation to the environment and climate.

It is great to see so many people utilising mass public transport and enjoying it. It is standing room only and the thought of this one carriage of 70 or so people driving in small numbers is fear enducing. Yay for sustainable transport but as an environmental manager I can entirely understand why people would choose to drive; I almost did! On the personal balance of finance verses sustainability it was a tough choice. A single ticket from Leeds to Glasgow is a jaw dropping £94 if not booked early and £45 if it is. Two friends had to pay this higher fee to get home last night but surely a “bums on seats” approach should be taken for late transport or, as I feel, you should be rewarded for taking a greener method of transport.

I could drive to Leeds and back for around £35 if I’m being economical so that’s where I see the draw of driving. It’s almost like we are being indirectly punished for wanting to take mass transport and reduce your carbon footprint. 

Is it just me or is this a crazy and backwards idea? 
So, that brings me to my musing for today:

It has been announced that the U.K. will pledge £5.8 billion over 5 years of our foreign aid budget to helping developing countries tackle tackle climate change. This is a good and positive move to help countries and people who may not have the means to do so themselves but what about us

It’s not intended to sound selfish but that’s a lot of money that could be diverted to green tech research, development and employment which, in itself, could help developing countries with new and cheaper methods of emission reduction and the likes. Oh, yeah… And help us too. 

My honest opinion, and I was always told you can’t be given in to trouble for being honest, is that we m should get our own house in better order first. Feed-in tariffs have been slashed, grants have fallen and encouragement seems at a low ebb to be green from a governmental level. I could be wrong but it’s how I am interpreting things. 

The secret of getting things done is to act.                                 – Dante Alighieri

To compound this a further article highlighting that the government and Defra had been actively petitioning MEP’s to vote against a proposed EU directive that would clamp down on “real world” vehicle emissions is surely a step backwards for our green goals? 

It appears to be a classic giving with one hand and taking with the other scenario. In the wake of the recent VW scandal over emissions a move of this type could lead you to wonder all manner of things. Personally I’m disappointed and firmly believe that all modes of transport should be subjected to stringent testing. Doing this would surely lead the manufacturers to creating a better lasting and better quality product as the buck stops with them. 

Just a thought: use what you have to fix your car and house and garden or whatever it is before you lend your tools to your neighbours. Even in an aeroplane you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you see to others so why can’t the government of this land see that link? After all, doing it this way leads to a global stagnation when it comes to climate change. The fifty percent extra funding from the U.K. will help some “poor” countries combat climate change but it could help us do it too, which isn’t a bad thing at all. 

It just feels like a step back followed by a swift slap to the face. Thinking globally and acting locally has never resonated so much with me as at this point. How can we tell a “poor” country what to do when we won’t do it ourselves?!

Anyway, as the train cuts its way through the countryside with the autumnal sun illuminating the quilted clouds I can’t help but feel glad about the choices I have made regarding transport. This weekend and for the next two weekends in Newcastle for further rugby watching. 

Thanks for enduring this post, I’m still getting to grips with them. 

David Parr – on a train. 


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