Thursday, 1 March 2007

The citizen consumer

It’s happening! In this week’s Draft Climate Change Bill we’re now witnessing our government’s transition from paying lip service to climate change to a willingness to tie itself to targets and even vie for being the greenest party in town. This may just be rhetoric but the shift towards action is welcome to many environmentalists.

The Sussex Energy Group debate at Brighton Library on Tuesday addressed our responsibility not just as consumers but as citizens, who influence the way our politicians behave. As individuals we have more power than we realise in both roles. So here’s Step One. As consumer, the single most effective easy step I’ve taken to reduce dependence on fossil fuels has been to change our family’s electricity supplier to one that gets energy only from wind. The companies (slightly more costly than standard fare) are Ecotricity and Good Energy - Kerching! towards fossil fuel liberation and a little smugness too. As educated citizens, we can influence our leaders to do the right thing for the community, regardless of national, corporate or party political agendas. We need to understand the process of local government and help inform it.

So two steps for the citizen here: join Transition Town Lewes in attending Lewes Town Council meetings and (two) write to the Lewes District Council planning committee to support the first wind turbine application in Glynde, the first proposal in East Sussex. Lovely natural wind is limitless, and becoming ‘zero carbon’ is part of our post-oil economy - towards which we are making a transition, said Sec of State for the Environment David Miliband last week. Those exact words.

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