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The 50 Things That Will Save The Planet

with 5 comments


The Environment Agency has just published the Winter 2007 edition of its quarterly bulletin ‘Your Environment’. In the plastic wrapper (“made from bioegradable material and will decompose in landfill”. Oh joy!) I also discovered a supplement called ‘Your Environment Extra’. The EA has gathered together a team of 25 experts (most of whom I’m ashamed to say I’ve never heard of) to answer the question “What are the 50 things that will save the planet?”.

Most of the usual suspects are there, although I suspect we could argue about the relative placings. Top of the list is “Powering down”, ahead of solar power (3), Kyoto replacement (4), home generation (5), recycling (11), renewables (14), carbon capture (16) to name a few. My personal favourites? Good to see population growth (18) identified as a root cause of environmental problems. “Growing your own” (23) should be higher up the list.

But the idea that really brightened my day only just scraped in at number 48, “Going with the floe”. Ian Christie, Associate at the New Economics Foundation, says:

“If we must have ‘climate engineering’ technofixes, then forget about seeding oceans with iron and deflecting sunlight via space shields. Instead, replace lost polar albedo and lost ice cover by creating artificial floating reflective floes, which will help the polar bears too.

I thought of this a couple of years ago. Trouble was, whenever I mentioned the idea in conversation people looked at me as if I was mad and I gave up. A bit late to claim any credit I know, but I’m dead chuffed that ‘my’ brainwave is out there at last.

Your Environment Extra (PDF) Your Environment Issue 17 (PDF)

“The overall message is clear. It is in our gift to stop harming our planet. We understand the problems we have created and how to begin undoing the damage. So let’s do it.”



Written by Pete Smith

November 12, 2007 at 12:44 pm

5 Responses

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  1. I see they missed out The Coffee House this time. Oh, never mind eh.

    I have wondered out aloud recently of point no.2 (A leap of faith). Why haven’t the churches and other religions seen their chance and started preaching ‘love your neighbour, love your planet, recycle your neighbour now’. I mean, it also would deal with the population problem. Maybe this is what the islam vs christian thing is all about at the moment; a cunning e-pop measure. 😉

    Agree with no.46 – get in those renewables (from China if necessary). Stack ’em high and sell ’em cheap.


    November 12, 2007 at 2:18 pm

  2. About the religion thing. I think most of the major religions have some kind of environmental ethic hidden away somewhere in their texts. It would be surprising if they didn’t, since they have their origins in times when humankind was much closer to, and less insulated from, their environment. Sadly, certainly in the case of Christianity, the ‘green’ message has been hidden over the centuries, through mistranslation, misinterpretation and academic jiggery-popery. Just imagine how our exploitation of the environment might have been influenced by choosing another word than ‘dominion’ when translating Genesis 1:26:
    “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.” Talk about a licence to kill 🙂
    And what about a well-known text such as Matthew 19:19 “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”? Think how different things would be if “neighbour” meant not just the human next door, but every living thing.

    Pete Smith

    November 12, 2007 at 3:48 pm

  3. Yes, I think religious leaders should play a greater part in getting the eco-message out there. Religions have a huge influence on their followers.

    I think Buddhism is one of the more environmentally-friendly religions. It certainly has strong beliefs about valuing and caring for all life. I don’t think Christianity says much at all regarding the planet apart from making us the master of all living things. And don’t even get me started on the Old Testament. That said, Jesus did have much to say about the greed and over-indulgence of humankind.
    Well done Pete on YOUR idea being included in the list. And absolutely – we have all the facts now. There is no excuse for inaction.


    November 12, 2007 at 4:53 pm

  4. I always knew Pete was a genius.


    November 12, 2007 at 9:36 pm

  5. You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.

    Pete Smith

    November 14, 2007 at 12:30 pm

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