Opinion

The green revolution is happening now

By Catherine Ross

Increasingly, you don’t have to go out of your way to be environmentally friendly. In fact, you have to try harder to be environmentally unfriendly. It’s because of innovators and inventors around the country – and around the globe – who are committed to helping us all live in a more sustainable way.

This week, I travelled to the House of Commons to the awards ceremony for the International Green Apple awards. I stood in a marquee surrounded by people working towards a more sustainable future and it was a pretty inspiring experience.

From Billingshurst-­‐based Lettuce Flowers, which makes living floral displays for weddings and corporate events using locally grown plants to avoid imports of cut flowers to a company using chalk to make paper because half of the world’s trees are felled for paper production, we can all be sure we’re moving towards a more sustainable future.

I heard of projects to keep rivers cool by planting shady plants on riverbanks and a prison teaching inmates sustainable building skills to help them find jobs on their release. I heard of businesses that had cut their water use, their energy use and their carbon footprint. Businesses that had replaced their stationery suppliers with environmentally friendly ones – saving money and the planet.

Simple changes, like moving from daily to weekly deliveries are helping companies improve their environmental performance and their profit margins.

I’ve been working with a company based in Brighton that has completely reinvented the reusable carrier bag, by inventing a new version that turns into a full-­‐size carrier bag. Bag Re:Born bags could mean you never have to buy a bin bag again.

These disruptive innovations mean that it matters less and less whether the public at large is interested in being environmentally friendly or believes that climate change is happening. The environmental revolution is happening by stealth and we’re all a part of it.

As more and more businesses wake up to the fact that the future is green, even the government’s epic failure to commit to the planet is increasingly insignificant. Innovation, invention and desire for change are coming from the private sector now.

Of course we can all still do our bit too, reduce, reuse and recycle waste, turn our thermostats down by a degree or two, walk round to the corner shop instead of jumping in the car. As world leaders meet in Poland for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, we can show them that a better future is in sight.

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