Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Climate Change



Since arriving in Australia climate change, and particularly the proposed carbon trading scheme legislation, has constantly been on the public agenda. I've always thought of the Aussie's as quite environmentally responsible. They recylce, pioneered Earth hour, are in tune with the environment due to their outdoor lifestyle and have a large tourism industry based on nature. If passed, Australia will be one of the first countries in the world to introduce a carbon trading scheme into law. Admittedly they have a large mining industry, but it is the Chinese not Aussies burning the coal in dirty old power stations.

However, while I was back in the UK I changed my view. My parents now have five bins on the go:
  1. Composting - something my parents do voluntarily with uncooked food waste and small garden items e.g grass clippings.
  2. Food waste - a Council run scheme for everyone (my parents don't home compost cooked food)
  3. Mixed recycling - Council run collection of paper, glass & plastic
  4. Garden waste - Council collection of tree branches, hedge cuttings etc...
  5. Waste for landfill - miscellaneous waste. Here there are restrictions, with old electrical items, batteries etc... needing to be taken to a recycling centre.
South Oxfordshire is bit more progressive than other parts of the UK, and not as far ahead as parts of Europe. However, it shows you what can be done.

My first cousin has become a vegetarian on environmental principles (farming is a surprisingly big produce of greenhouse gasses) and was talking of a local initiative to put up a wind turbine where he lives. I heard talk of incinerators (apparently a reasonable way of disposing of waste) and my parent's neighbour has a wind speed monitor up in their garden.

There seemed to be a bit more action in the UK, contrasted with the talk in Australia. I also heard a radio broadcast while in the UK where Australia was described as the most polluting developed nation per capita in the world. It's made made me re-think my previously positive attitude towards Australia's environmental credentials.

The photos is of me in Chile back in 2005, where I was getting in the spirit of the General Election campaign taking place at the time. Climate Change has the potential to be a big electoral issue here in Australia, and even the trigger for an early election under the wonders of Double Dissolution. It has already led to the fall of the Leader of the Opposition. Back in the UK I think the economy will over shadow all else in 2010.

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