As the Government implements new rules designed to stamp out smoking in vehicles with under 18s on board from the 1 October 2015, new research from financial comparison website money.co.uk, which was carried out amongst 1,000 drivers that smoke in their vehicles, reveals the proposed penalty may not be severe enough. In fact, 21% of those surveyed claim a £50 fine would not stop them doing it.
For those unfamiliar with the change in the law, the British Lung Foundation has some excellent information here. From 1 October 2015 it will be illegal to smoke in a vehicle with anyone under the age of 18 present.
Despite the Department of Health’s best efforts to publicise the change in law, 29% of drivers that smoke in their vehicles are completely unaware of it; a figure which hits nearly four in ten London drivers. With drivers at risk of being fined twice if they don’t stop passengers smoking this could be an expensive oversight.
Moneyfacts’ research also reveals that the extent of this widespread problem could be difficult to police as almost two out of three (61%) drivers that smoke admit they do so when they have passengers in their vehicles; 31% of these do it with under 18s on board. More shockingly, one in ten drivers admit they smoke with children aged 11 or younger in the vehicle. A further 6% think this it is okay to smoke with passengers aged four or younger.
Smokers seem to have some interesting views on why it’s ok to ‘light up’ with children on board. More than one in ten (11%) think it’s ok ‘as long as the windows are open’. One in ten reassure themselves with the belief that children are not at risk if you smoke in the vehicle they are travelling in. Interestingly, 13% admit they smoke in their home around under 18s and question why they shouldn’t smoke in their vehicle. Over one in five (22%) drivers that smoke think they should be able to do so in a private vehicle without incurring a fine – regardless of the passengers’ age.
When it comes to the Government’s decision to apply this law to passengers under 18, many drivers feel the age should be lowered. 12% think the ruling should be for passengers under 16 years old, not under 18s. 5% think it should be just for under 12 year old passengers and 4% think just applying the law to the under 5s is sufficient.
Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief of money.co.uk comments: “Smoking with passengers in a vehicle is not ideal, regardless of their age. However given this impacts over four million children, the fact that the Government has finally acknowledged this and are attempting to protect them from the dangers of passive smoking in such a confined space is certainly a step in the right direction. There is also a road safety issue to consider here as smoking can be a distraction which could make drivers a higher risk for accidents, maybe something insurance underwriters end up taking into consideration.
“As almost a third of drivers smoke in their vehicles with under 18s on board this is going to a difficult and time consuming law to enforce – maybe completely outlawing smoking when passengers are in the vehicle would be a better way to do this. There are also several nuances in the law that impact 17 year olds specifically as they could be fined twice if they’re travelling with friends of the same age who are smoking. To avoid the £50 fine, all drivers really need to read up on the rules on smoking in vehicles post 1st October; but this is especially true for new drivers who will already be struggling to cover the cost of driving and certainly can’t afford to risk an additional fine.”
Laws banning smoking in cars carrying children have been introduced in a number of jurisdictions in Canada, the United States, Australia, South Africa, Bahrain and Mauritius.
61% of drivers admit they smoke with passengers on board, this affects over 300,000 children under four
– 31% of ‘smoking drivers’ admit they smoke with under 18s in their vehicle; this impacts over four million children. One in ten smoke with under 11s on board and 6% admit they think it’s ok to ‘light up’ with children aged four and under as passengers
– 11% of drivers think it’s okay to smoke in a vehicle with children on board as long as the windows are open, a further one in ten do not think children are at risk if you smoke in the vehicle they are travelling in
– 21% of drivers that smoke say a £50 fine would not stop them doing so in their vehicle with under 18s on board. 13% claim they smoke in their home with under 18s around so why not in their car?
– Nearly a third (29%) of drivers that smoke in their vehicle are not aware of the forthcoming change in law that bans smoking with under 18s on board; this lack of awareness is highest in London (39%)
– 12% think the ruling should only be applied for passengers under 16 years old, not under 18s. 5% think it should be just for children under 12 years old and 4% think the rule should only be applied for the under 5s
Two Ancient Japanese Philosophies Are the Future of Eco-Living
Our obsession with all things new has blighted the planet. We have a waste crisis, particularly when it comes to plastic. US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made – 8.3 billion tons! Unfortunately, only 9% of this is estimated to have been recycled. And current global trends point to there being 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.
However, two ancient Japanese philosophies are providing an antidote to the excesses of modern life. By emphasizing the elimination of waste and the acceptance of the old and imperfect, the concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi have positively influenced Japanese life for centuries.
They are now making their way into the consciousness of the Western mainstream, with an increasing influence in the UK and US. By encouraging us to be frugal with our possessions, (i.e. using natural materials for interior design) these concepts can be the future of eco-living.
What is Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai??
Wabi-Sabi emphasizes an acceptance of transience and imperfection. Although Wabi had the original meaning of sad and lonely, it has come to describe those that are simple, unmaterialistic and at one with nature. The term Sabi is defined as the “the bloom of time”, and has evolved into a new meaning: taking pleasure and seeing beauty in things that are old and faded.
Any flaws in objects, like cracks or marks, are cherished because they illustrate the passage of time. Wear and tear is seen as a representation of their loving use. This makes it intrinsically linked to Wabi, due to its emphasis on simplicity and rejection of materialism.
In the West, Wabi-Sabi has infiltrated many elements of daily life, from cuisine to interior design. Specialist Japanese homeware companies, like Sansho, source handmade products that embody the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. Their products, largely made from natural materials, are handcrafted by traditional Japanese artisans – meaning no two pieces are the same and no two pieces are “perfect” in size or shape.
Mottainai is a term expressing a feeling of regret concerning waste, translating roughly in English to either “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste!”. The philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and is linked to hinto animism, the notion that all objects have a spirit, or ‘kami’. The idea that we are part of nature is a key part of Japanese psychology.
Mottainai also has origins in Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasizes a life of frugality, to allow us to concentrate on attaining enlightenment. It is from this move towards frugality that a link to Mottainai as a concept of waste can be made.
How have Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai promoted eco living?
Wabi-Sabi is still a prominent feature of Japanese life today, and has remained instrumental in the way people design their homes. The ideas of imperfection and frugality are hugely influential.
For example, instead of buying a brand-new kitchen table, many Japanese people instead retain a table that has been passed through the generations. Although its long use can be seen by various marks and scratches, Wabi-Sabi has taught people that they should value it because of its imperfect nature. Those scratches and marks are a story and signify the passage of time. This is a far cry from what we typically associate with the Western World.
Like Wabi Sabi, Mottainai is manifested throughout Japanese life, creating a great respect for Japanese resources. This has had a major impact on home design. For example, the Japanese prefer natural materials in their homes, such as using soil and dried grass as thermal insulation.
Their influence in the UK
The UK appears to be increasingly influenced by thes two concepts. Some new reports indicate that Wabi Sabi has been labelled as ‘the trend of 2018’. For example, Japanese ofuro baths inspired the project that won the New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve award. Ofuro baths are smaller than typical baths, use less water, and are usually made out of natural materials, like hinoki wood.
Many other UK properties have also been influenced by these philosophies, such as natural Kebony wood being applied to the external cladding of a Victorian property in Hampstead; or a house in Lancaster Gate using rice paper partitions as sub-dividers. These examples embody the spirit of both philosophies. They are representative of Mottainai because of their use of natural resources to discourage waste. And they’re reflective of Wabi-Sabi because they accept imperfect materials that have not been engineered or modified.
In a world that is plagued by mass over-consumption and an incessant need for novelty, the ancient concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi provide a blueprint for living a more sustainable life. They help us to reduce consumption and put less of a strain on the planet. This refreshing mindset can help us transform the way we go about our day to day lives.
How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018
Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.
Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:
1. Energy – produce it, save it
If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.
It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.
While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.
Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!
2. Don’t be just another tourist
Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.
3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly
We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.
To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.
It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.
4. Know thy recycling
People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.
People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.
5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool
Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.
All in all
The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.
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