Happy ‘World Environment Day’ – it is not all gloomy news!

Sometimes being a Green Activist feels like being a purveyor of un-remitting doom and gloom. There is no getting away from the fact that we are treading a tightrope and that the dangers of falling off are very real and potentially catastrophic. But there are signs of progress and some things moving in the right direction. Today’s Independent on Sunday flags some up, and I would like to share ten with you on this World Environment Day (5th June every year).

  • Although deforestation continues at an alarming pace, the forest themselves seem to be fighting back. Woodland density is going up in most countries of the world to sufficient degree to be ameliorating, to a degree, the climate change consequences of deforestation.
  • The cost of producing solar power is falling rapidly, and as on schedule to become cheaper than fossil fuels in the EU by 2017.
  • 21% of global packaging is now from sustainable sources and should reach 32% by 2014.
  • Venture investment in clean technologies rose by over £1 billion in 2010.
  • Switzerland has followed Germany in scrapping all plans for future nuclear reactors.
  • Boris Johnson has announced plans to install 1300 electric vehicle charging points in London by 2013.
  • A solar powered plane, capable of day and night flight has just completed a maiden international flight.
  • Land used for organic farming has increased 150% worldwide in the last 10 years.
  • More and more countries are seeing sense and banning ‘fracking’ – France, South Africa, parts of Germany and the USA
  • Renewable energy used in electricity has increased 183% in the UK in the last decade.

So it is not all doom and gloom, and there are even one or two glimmers of hope here in the UK. I would never have expected Boris to figure in a list of this sort for a start!

It is a pity that World Environment Day passes by un-noticed, for the most part, in this country. I almost missed it myself. It is a huge, high profile affair in some countries, such as India. You can find out more about it here: http://www.unep.org/wed/

That forests feature so heavily in the UNEP programme should be no surprise. Having deforested these islands centuries ago, we have, perhaps, lost sight of just what a fundamental role they play to life on earth and human activity. For a quick synopsis, check out this 3 minute UNEP video, narrated by the one and only David Attenborough: http://www.unep.org/flvPlayer/share/default.asp?id=1314&l=en

Happy WED!
Andy

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