Reduce your carbon emissions by 10% by 2010. Sound reasonable to you? This is what the 10:10 campaign proposes. As part of Healthy Planet I went to find out more and discover if this is really possible without pledging to walk the 10 miles to work everyday and reduce my electricity allowance to 1 hour per day.
I arrive to find a flurry of photographers surrounding the likes of Sarah Cox, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Antony Gormley and Mike Figgis standing within the Tate Modern’s expansive space. Once a polluting power station, this place is a symbol of positive change that is now the site for progressive action on climate change. After some star gazing I follow the masses to the ‘sign up’ area to investigate what you stand to gain from joining this campaign. I am here with Healthy Planet who, as an organisation, wants to inspire and enable people to make positive choices for themselves and the world and does this by encouraging people to be conscientious consumers and invest in green gifts. So in essence, providing a practical way in which people can become more environmentally friendly.
‘Can I take your photo madam?’ I pose with my pledge and 10:10 necklace tag giving a half hearted smile as I remember that the wind has probably created a bird’s nest on top of my head. The photographer likes it, probably thinks I look more ‘natural’ and ‘eco’.
So what precisely have I just signed up to? Am I going to have to be surviving on the vegetables I have grown on my window sill and not change my clothes more than once a week? Apparently not, cutting 10% is an achievable, modest challenge. The first 10% is what experts call the low-hanging fruit, the savings we can make through relatively small sacrifices such as changing light bulbs, insulating our homes more effectively, turning down our central heating or swapping a few flights for train journeys.
After the sign up, Reverend And The Makers play ‘Heavyweight champion of the world’ and I go round and find out why people have decided to join the campaign and make this a healthier world. Mother of two, Penelope says ‘I’m fed up of waiting around for governments to take leading action. We have to show the government that we are serious about climate change and that what they have done so far is just not good enough’.
Governments pledge to cutting emissions by 2020 or 2050 but that makes climate change seem a distant concern. The Guardian explains something must be done NOW. ‘Unless world carbon emissions begin falling within just six years, we have little chance of avoiding warming beyond the critical level of two degrees’. After that there is nothing to prevent runaway warming and extreme weather events that would leave millions homeless and starving.
Cutting 10% by the end of 2010 is precisely the sort of deep, quick cut the scientists say is needed. As Reverend and the Makers finish their set, ‘champions of the world’ resonates around the Tate Modern and it is announced that over 3000 individuals, 160 businesses and 47 organisations have taken personal responsibility to fight against climate change. To enable everyone at Healthy Planet to get involved and make that target, here are some top tips from Healthy Planet. Enjoy.
- Save water; take a shower instead of a bath.
- Change to low energy light bulbs.
- Turn off the lights when you don’t need them.
- Buy the most energy efficient and water saving appliances you can afford.
- Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping.
- Sign up with Green programs with your energy supplier.
- Purchase products without unnecessary packaging.
- Grow plants native to your area in your garden.
- Remember the three R’s: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
- When you can, leave the car at home; walk, cycle or use public transport.
By Olivia McGregor