Monday, 27 June 2011

Tweeting green

There has been such an explosion in social networking sites and related media. No one can ignore the phenomenon. 

The question is no longer, "is it really useful, or is it just background 'noise' to our online and offline lives?". It has been proven to raise awareness and understanding. It has been proven to encourage engagement and build momentum.

On one level, there have been several examples of campaigns being successfully waged using online petitions. I am thinking of how 38 degrees effectively mobilised support against the proposed UK forest sell-off earlier this year. But on another level, a more generalised level, the barrage of tweets and blogs builds belief: belief in a cause, a direction, and a set of values. Belief is what the green movement needs. Belief leads to commitment and to action.

Clearly, we are now seeing a more informed debate, with more groups and individuals involved, not just special interest parties. Wider engagement may not always bring a better solution but it builds support for and belief in a sustainable direction.

David Jackman

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Do Green awards help or hinder?

Yesterday (7th June 2011), the Guardian Newspaper published its 'Green University rankings' for the UK. Nottingham Trent came out on top, along with many of the new universities, while the more traditional universities, including Oxford, got a 'third'. Not really surprising, as you would hope that the more modern buildings are built to higher design specifications, including insulation (not much of that at Oxbridge, as I know very well!).

Will students choose where they study on this basis - I doubt it - but it may make universities think a bit harder about their policies and plans. And that is the point of awards. They show you how you compare. They offer a benchmark if you want to improve.

The trouble comes when you define absolute standards. I heard one business say it was 96% green and had won a silver award in national scheme. The scheme is useful, it encourages change, but 96% of what? When you have the last 4% are you completely green for life? I don't think so. 

The danger is complacency and mis-information. You are rarely 100% right, so it’s unlikely that everything has been done to be green - ever! The wide range of environmental standards and relevant research is always changing and, because of this fact, we are always updating the green24 site.

David Jackman

Thursday, 2 June 2011

We rate ourselves

We at green24 have gone one step further in our mission to offer you advice backed by science, by creating individual eco-ratings for the actions and activities you undertake in your homes and businesses.

Our ratings guide those who wish to make an eco-conscious difference, by offering a score out of five for a particular activity, based on contemporary scientific facts, case studies and reviews (see image below). Even though these gradings are subjective, their values are based on up-to-date measures of the benefits to the environment that each action will achieve.

The most significant advantage of these ratings is that people can begin to understand the scale of each action in the bigger picture of sustainability, by adding a value to their actions. From the smallest changes scoring one out of five, to a perfect five, each positive change you bring about in your everyday life will have a beneficial effect on the earth.

Very few websites offer this service, so be sure to look out for the ratings in our articles to see the difference each of your actions can make to the environment.

Gregg Brill, Senior Researcher & Writer at green24