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Sustainable cities: a low-carbon opportunity not to be missed



Now in its third year, Base Cities: London is looking ahead to a future of sustainability and low-carbon policy in the capital. Blue & Green Tomorrow talks to Andrew Dowding of Base Communications about the project.

On June 21, Base Cities: London will be holding its third annual event. ‘Base’ is an acronym for “business and the sustainable environment” – the focus of the annual event organised and run by Base Cities, which looks at low-carbon policy and the opportunities that arise from it.

“It’s kind of a bridge between city hall, local authorities and commercial companies represented by property developers and construction firms”, says Andrew Dowding, managing director of the project’s communications arm.

It focuses on the building environment and infrastructure”.

The interests of Base lay in how the UK’s cities and their infrastructure can become more energy and resource efficient. The event particularly explores how a city’s “policy initiatives translate into delivery opportunities for the private sector”, according to its website, and it also “addresses the relationship between sustainable development, economic growth and inward investment.

“If you are trying to reduce carbon in housing, there is a fair amount of city hall policy, all designed for engagement in the private sector and this is the place to come and find out how to take advantage of that”, explains Dowding.

Base London was set up in 2010, with the aim of uniting the public with private sector organisations. Some of the areas it covers include renewable energy, waste, green transport and recycling.

“The market is in its early stages, but we had 400 delegates in the first year, 600 last year and we expect about 1,000 this year, so in that sense it has picked up quite a lot of momentum”, says Dowding.

“We’ve had a succession of very interesting people – including Boris Johnson, who comes along every year.

Indeed, the London Mayor has set ambitious targets to reduce the capital’s carbon emission by 60% by 2025.

“It’s not difficult to get people to talk about low-carbon opportunities”, Dowding adds. “Getting them to actually do it is the challenge.”

Whilst individual contributions at a community level are vitally important, ultimately, the future of our society, and indeed the planet, is in the hands of policy makers and the private sector responding to these policies with speed.

Further developments in creating a sustainable future for us all have been made by the University of Manchester, which has established the first phase of its EcoCities project.

In partnership with one of the UK’s leading property companies, Bruntwood, the project looks at how cities should adapt to the changing climate.

“The EcoCities project has drawn on expertise from across the University of Manchester”, said Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor at the university.

It has proved to be an excellent collaboration between the university and Bruntwood to support the region’s efforts in supporting decision makers and business leaders to respond to both the challenges and opportunities that a changing climate presents.”

As well as London, Base Cities has events in Leeds and Glasgow, too. Initiatives like these, as well as projects such as the University of Manchester’s EcoCities, are designed to help spur on sustainable policy.

Whether these policies encompass renewable energy, sustainable investment or other green measures, the key thing is that it’s important to recognise the impact our cities have on climate change. But it’s also important to recognise that this can quite easily be changed.

Further reading:

Oxford revealed as European leader in electric vehicles

Local authority contributions “crucial” in cutting carbon emissions



Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy



Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands



Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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