The dramatic and overwhelming victory of veteran backbencher and left winger Jeremy Corbyn in yesterday’s Labour leadership election is creating waves across the political establishment. Blue & Green doesn’t carry a torch for any political party, but we are interested in what the Leader of the Opposition has to say on the environment and climate change.
From 200:1 rank outsider to landslide winner is quite a remarkable achievement. That the Labour Party has voted one of its most rebellious MPs as leader is quite an interesting electoral strategy. Senior Labour politicians who have been hastily announcing that they won’t serve in the shadow cabinet have handed ammunition to the Party’s natural enemies in the press and smacks of petulant children taking their bat and ball home.
Mr Corbyn’s stated agenda is to deliver:
– A new kind of politics: a fairer, kinder Britain based on innovation, decent jobs and decent public services
– Growth not austerity – with a national investment bank to help create tomorrow’s jobs and reduce the deficit fairly. Fair taxes for all – let the broadest shoulders bear the biggest burden to balance the books
– A lower welfare bill through investment and growth not squeezing the least well-off and cuts to child tax credits
– Action on climate change (see below) – for the long-term interest of the planet rather than the short-term interests of corporate profits
– Public ownership of railways and in the energy sector – privatisation has put profits before people
– Decent homes for all in public and private sectors by 2025 through a big housebuilding programme and controlling rents
– No more illegal wars, a foreign policy that prioritises justice and assistance. Replacing Trident not with a new generation of nuclear weapons but jobs that retain the communities’ skills
– Fully-funded NHS, integrated with social care, with an end to privatisation in health
– Protection at work – no zero hours contracts, strong collective bargaining to stamp out workplace injustice
– Equality for all – a society that accepts no barriers to everyone’s talents and contribution. An end to scapegoating of migrants
– A life-long national education service for decent skills and opportunities throughout our lives: universal childcare, abolishing student fees and restoring grants, and funding adult skills training throughout our lives
Mr Corbyn’s Protecting Our Planet manifesto attacks the Conservative government’s record on the environment – including fracking – and says his leadership will stand for:
– Britain providing international leadership on climate change and the socialisation of our energy supply leading an end to the era of fossil fuels
– A modern, green, resource-efficient economy – creating 1 million new green climate jobs
– Ensuring everyone has access to a decent home that is low-carbon and affordable to keep warm
– Putting people and planet first – tackling the cost of living and climate crisis together
– Cleaner air – tackling the air pollution crisis in our big cities and committing to full independent public inquiry into levels of air pollution.
– Protecting our ecosystems, wildlife habitats and a compassionate approach to animal welfare
– An international approach – support internationally agreed, universal standards of regulation of emissions and pollution.
– A healthy, safe, environment, where people and nature thrive together
Mr Corbyn’s document also addresses electability and says the Labour Party’s needs to reach out to voters if it is to win in 2020: “There is an electoral dimension. To win, we must show we have a modern vision of an innovative country that has a new idea of prosperity and success. Our collective aspirations must lie with a greener vision of Britain. And we must reach out to those voters who care deeply about the environment if we are to build the electoral alliance we need.
“The question should not be how can we afford to do this?,” says Corbyn. “The question should be how can we not afford to?
“Our policy ideas today make sense on the health front, the economic and jobs front and the planet front. It’s high time for politics where we implement the long overdue environmentally-friendly changes that will make a difference not just to us but to our children and grandchildren.
“And if we as a nation have courage enough to show global leadership on tacking climate change issues, we will improve not just our own lives, but the life of the planet.
“If politics is about anything it’s about better futures. Our policy today shows the green energy future we can’t afford not to choose.”
The political establishment has declared Mr Corbyn ‘unelectable’ but pundits’ predictions and polls have proven poor measures in recent months. As we pointed out after the May general election, sadly the real winner in 2015 was ‘None of the Above’ with just under 16 million (33.9%) registered voters not voting – not forgetting the several million who didn’t even register. The Conservatives’ slim Commons majority and ‘mandate’ comes from just over 11 million voters or fewer a quarter of the full electorate.
Mr Corbyn’s policies may appeal to many of the disillusioned amongst the None of the Above cohort. Re-engaging disillusioned or apathetic non-voters is a worthwhile exercise but provides an unpredictable and unreliable electoral base. That said, most UK general elections are won in 100-or-so seats by convincing a few hundred thousand swing voters. Mr Corbyn’s team is going to have to reach well beyond his traditional allies to stand a chance of winning in 2020.
Whatever you read in the mainstream press (rarely advocates of the left) this article in the Independent showed that Mr Corbyn’s policies are actually quite popular with the electorate. Readers and viewers of Chris Mullins’ excellent ‘A Very British Coup’ might have some suspicions of what would happen if he actually did win in 2020.
Politics has taken a very interesting turn and a real debate on the future role of the Labour Party and the direction of UK is about to take place.
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.
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