“Transport affects everyone”, so it should be affordable and kind to the environment, according to the Campaign for Better Transport. Charlotte Reid finds out more about the charity from its chief executive, Stephen Joseph.
As the UK faces economic troubles and high unemployment rates, it seems unlikely that improvements to public transport would be able to help.
But this is what the Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive Stephen Joseph believes.
“Good public transport means people can access employment, services and shops, and employers can draw on a larger pool of talent”, he says.
“Car dependency damages communities, affects our quality of life and has massive environmental consequences.
“Many people still find it difficult to get around without a car and rising rail fares, cuts in bus services and a deregulated planning system won’t make this any better”.
The Campaign for Better Transport was established in 1972, but then it was called Transport 2000. It was set up by various railway workers’ unions and environmental pressure groups as a reaction to the possible closure of a large part of the rail network.
Originally, the organisation was set up as opposition to the Government’s plans to close large sections of the rail network and begin a large road building programme.
When it had achieved what it set out to do, the charity decided to broaden its remit and began to “campaign for sustainable and affordable transport that improves quality of life and protects the environment”, says Joseph.
In 2007, it decided to rebrand and from then on was known as the Campaign for Better Transport.
The charity has worked hard to make changes and make the Government recognise the importance of the environmental and the social impacts of transport. Joseph says that it is still important to campaign for improvements because “carbon emissions from transport are still rising”.
To name just a few of the achievements in the last few years, the charity has helped to save 131m miles of bus routes, persuaded the Government to create a new £560m fund for local green transport and managed to get extra carriages for trains to give commuters more space.
Joseph explains that because the charity is independent they work by researching solutions to problems raised by transport and then “pressuring national and local Government to adopt them, and empowering ordinary people up and down the country to take a stake in local transport decisions”.
Over the next year, it is campaigning to make the case for there to be an affordable, regular bus service in every part of the country through its Save our Buses campaign.
On top of that they have a Fair Fares Now campaign which “will continue to push for an affordable rail network that provides passengers with value for money”, Joseph says.
A controversial issue for the future of public transport is the High Speed rail link (HS2), which will join London with cities in the North of England. The Government gave the rail line the go-ahead in January but there are conflicting arguments over the environmental impact of the line.
Some campaigners are against it because it goes through rural areas and an area of outstanding beauty, the Chilterns. Others say that HS2 will help to increase capacity on train journeys, with the Government estimating it will divert nine million road journeys and 4.5 million plane journeys.
Joseph explains that the Campaign for Better Transport “would like to see this [HS2] form part of a national rail strategy that benefits all public transport users and not just those travelling on the line itself”.
But the important message for the future is to continue working to make travel sustainable. Joseph says, “We will be putting pressure on the Government to put sustainability at the heart of its transport policy”.
If you are interested in the environmental aspects of transport, public transport or sustainable transport you can get involved with the Campaign for Better Transport and find out more details on its website.
Joseph says it is important to “promote good, affordable door-to-door public transport which gives people real choices to give up their cars”.
At Blue & Green Tomorrow, we passionately believe in making travel as sustainable as possible. Take a look at our travel page to find out more.
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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