Environmentalist film director Vivienne DeCourcy (DARE TO BE WILD) and Chelsea Flower Show gold medalist Mary Reynolds along with the woodland trust have come together to encourage everyone to plant one tree in their garden this Autumn/Winter to help reverse climate change.
DARE TO BE WILD celebrates its UK Premiere tonight at London’s Notting Hill Gate Cinema and will be released in cinemas across the UK and Ireland from this Friday 23 September.
After experiencing family tragedy, former US corporate finance attorney Vivienne gave up her law practice with the primary goal to raise awareness for the wilderness through her directorial debut. Now, with the protagonist of her first feature film, Mary Reynolds, she is supporting the UK’s Tree Charter (which is championed by The Woodland Trust) and hoping to raise awareness of the difference that people can make to climate change, simply by planting one tree in their garden.
Evidence has shown that planting trees could help to slow or reverse climate change.
Director of DARE TO BE WILD Vivienne DeCourcy explains:
“Evidence has shown that planting trees could help to slow or reverse climate change. Right now humans are producing carbon dioxide faster than the environment can absorb it, which could be catastrophic for the whole world. This is not helped by the mass deforestation in some countries – the devastating effect of which is highlighted in the desertification of places like Ethiopia, a plight which is highlighted in Dare To Be Wild through Mary’s real life experience of supporting reforestation in the country. By simply planting a tree in your garden to absorb carbon dioxide, we can fight against one of the greatest threats to this world and protect our environment for future generations.”
In cinemas from Friday, DARE TO BE WILD is a romantic adventure story about the landscape designer Mary Reynolds, who believes we can preserve and re-generate wild nature – and in so doing – save ourselves. The film tells the inspirational true story of Mary Reynolds’ very quick rise from rank outsider to winner of a Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2002. She believes that if we experience the atmosphere of wild nature in our own back yard we will be more likely to protect the wilderness.
Chelsea Flower Show gold medalist, Mary Reynolds said:
“Hawthorns are sentinel trees. They grow very quickly in their initial years and their thorny stems are designed to protect the more delicate growth of larger parent trees such as oak or ash from wind and grazing damage. Hawthorns are one of natures guards, or protectors. They retain a strong energy of a warrior, the warrior spirit of nature. We need that energy to rise up in all of us now. We need to become natures guardians, her sentinels, as those in power are not playing their part. Embrace the spirit of the hawthorn and become a sentinel in natures army. Plant trees, it is one of the most gentle and powerful things you can do. Specifically plant locally sourced native trees to provide future sanctuaries for all the creatures that live above and below the soil.”
Matt Larsen-Daw of the Woodland Trust explains how this film highlights the deep-rooted connection that people have for the natural wonders around them:
“It is no exaggeration to say that we are at a crisis point for the UK’s trees and woods – a perfect storm of threats, changing lifestyles and apathy. Trees and woods improve life for people in so many ways, and yet their true value is rarely recognised. As a result, they are disappearing from our lives and landscapes due to man-made and natural threats, and a lack of commitment to planting new trees and woods for the future. Beneath the surface, however, I believe there is a deep-rooted love of trees and woods that just needs to be re-awakened and made visible. That’s why the Woodland Trust is leading more than 50 organisations in calling for a Charter for Trees, Woods and People to bring trees to the centre of decision-making and public consciousness where they belong.
“We hope that audiences will go and see Dare To Be Wild at the cinema. This beautiful film illustrates the transformative power of nature on an individual, and I am sure will cause many people to reflect on their own connection to the trees and other natural wonders around them. The aim of the Tree Charter campaign is to get people talking about how trees touch their lives. We are delighted that Vivienne DeCourcy and Mary Reynolds are supporting us in doing this.”
Vivienne and Mary are asking people to share pictures of their newly planted trees on their own social media sites with the hashtag #DTBW
DARE TO BE WILD is in cinemas across the UK and Ireland from 23 September.
Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations
Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?
The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.
New Construction Options
One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.
In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.
The Simple Retrofit
From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?
Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.
Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.
Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.
In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.
Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.
It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.
How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions
Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Public Health Crisis
It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.
It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.
Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.
With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.
The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.
With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.