It was an incredible week, one of the best weeks I’ve had since before lockdown. Huge thanks and congratulations to everyone involved in the UK Going Green event for our successful launch in Parliament on Tuesday 19th July. As Britain’s infrastructure creaked and failed under the pressure of record-breaking temperatures, we jumped on our delayed train and headed down to the capital. Our seats had been taken by commuters from a previously cancelled train, but we found a relatively comfortable spot propped up against the luggage racks in an air-conditioned carriage.
Going Green is about doing more for less. The principle of sustainability is to operate without compromising resources for future generations. This doesn’t just apply to the resources of the natural world, but is also a behaviour which you can apply to almost every aspect of life. Everyone knows how incredibly rewarding it is to get a good deal – like vouchers or an offer that allows you to attend an event or have a meal at a discounted price. You are using less resources to do the same thing. It’s up to all of us how we decide to make our consumer decisions, whether we want to indulge or do things more sustainably. Ultimately as a country we have just over 27 years to hit a net-zero carbon production target, and we’re here to help us all achieve that.
Arriving in London 50 minutes later than planned (Aviva Western have kindly offered a partial refund) we took an electric cab to the hotel and quickly turned attention to the nearest watering hole. “The Crusty Pipe” tasted better than it sounded and we then retreated to the lovely Botanica garden area at the Bedford Hotel as we mused at possible scenarios for the Tuesday launch event. We were well rewarded for deciding to travel a day earlier than originally planned, temperature records had already been smashed across the country on the Monday.
Suited and booted for the houses of Parliament the next day, we were well aware that this was probably going to be even hotter, the hottest day Britain has ever recorded. Special thanks to our local MP Robert Largan for allowing us to book a marquee sauna on the banks of the Thames, it was very disappointing that he didn’t show up and missed his slot speaking, but we accept his sincere apologies. I was tasked with providing technical support at the event and I’m leading the development of the Going Green Academy, a virtual learning environment that will provide courses and tuition for the sustainable transition.
A huge thanks to everyone who attended and brought life, hope, excitement and intrigue. I really enjoyed speaking with professors, leaders, experts and influencers from a broad range of diverse projects and organisations. Going Green Co-Founders Cheryl and Paul set the stage for the deployment of the project and staged release of articles, resources, training and help with accessing funding, and why we’re all doing this. Meteorologist Laura Tobin gave a really heart touching presentation about her personal experiences reporting on the effects of climate change for the past 17 years. As the sun blasted us and the mercury reached 40ᴼC, we couldn’t have had a clearer environmental backdrop that taking action and conscientious consumer decisions are much needed to mitigate against our overheating climate.
The event ended at 4pm and we headed back to the hotel, we turned our attention to getting back home. All trains out of London cancelled as wildfires spread through housing estates and train tracks bent and buckled. England simply could not cope with temperatures that you would expect to see in Greece and other popular holiday destinations. Fortunately, we had planned ahead and were able to book another six rooms, plus dinner and drinks for the team – a privilege for which we are grateful, a privilege that the vast majority of the world cannot enjoy.
Cancellations continued well into the next day; we were so lucky to escape with delays of just 45 minutes. But I sit here now watching much needed rain bring life to the plants, and wash away the dirt and remnants from Carnival weekend which took place a couple of weeks ago. Going Green is a way of life which I have long strived to achieve. But we want to do it with hope and the offer of leadership. 75% of companies in the UK haven’t got a net zero target, and a third of those companies surveyed blame a lack of knowledge. Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint or not, there are a growing group of consumers who want to live and buy more sustainably.
Check us out and follow us in the early stages of our journey – UK Going Green.