A recent article in The Independent highlights how car use in England is on the decline. A combination of factors (including high gas prices, poor congestion, and general disdain for internal combustion engines) has lead to fewer people getting their licenses, and fewer people using their cars.
[Steve] Goodwin [professor of transport policy at the University of the West of England] has been building his argument for peak car in a series of articles in Local Transport Today. His evidence includes that fewer young people are learning to drive. Between 1992 and 2007, the number of 17- to 20-year-olds who held licences fell from 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and for 21- to 29-year-olds, the number fell from 75 per cent to 66 per cent. Also, there has been a decline in private transport’s share of trips from 50 per cent in 1993 to 41 per cent in 2008. And, according to Lynn Sloman, director of Transport for Quality of Life, between 2004 and 2008, car trips per person went down by 9 per cent and car distance per person by 5 per cent.
Of course, this doesn’t amount to incontrovertible evidence of the beginning of the end for cars – it could be a momentary blip, an aberration – but it would be foolish not to have this debate now, given the paucity of Government funds, and given the long planning horizon of most public works.
England launched a public consultation about whether or not wild animals should be permitted to perform in circuses and it looks like legislation is on the way. A resounding 94.5% of people opposed the use of wild animals in circuses.
Other animals used by circuses in England including lions, zebras, camels, llamas, reindeer, crocodiles and snakes, will all need to be rehomed, possibly in zoos and wildlife parks.
Jim Fitzpatrick, Animal Welfare Minister, said: ‘I agree with the clear view emerging from the huge response to the government’s consultation that keeping wild animals to perform in travelling circuses is no longer acceptable. So, I am minded to pursue a ban on the use of these animals in circuses.
‘We also want to make sure that circus animals are well looked after once they stop performing. Nobody wants to see them simply destroyed, and we will work with all concerned to secure a future for these animals.’
A massive public consultation on the use of animals was launched in December 21 and closed last week, attracting nearly 13,000 responses.
England’s topsoil contains a lot of carbon and if things go unchecked it may erode away.Thankfully, the British government is going to release a plan of action to make sure that the topsoil will be protected by a sustainable action plan. Of course, the soil is also good for growing corps and the protection of this soil is great for farmers.
Mr Benn said: “Soil is one of the building blocks of life. Good quality soils are essential for a thriving farming industry, a sustainable food supply, and a healthy environment.
“Britain’s soils hold more carbon than all the trees in Europe’s forests – and their protection is critical if we are to successfully combat climate change.
“This is an important step in increasing the value we place on soil, and will safeguard this vital resource now and in the future.”
A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesman said: “England’s soil has suffered over the last 200 years from the impacts of intensive farming and industrial pollution, and today is under threat from erosion by wind and rain, a loss of organic matter and nutrients, and pressure for development.”
Modbury may spark a Europe-wide rejection of the dreaded plastic bag.
Spurred by environmental fervour and growing concern about the 100bn or more plastic bags thought to be littering the world and clogging the seas, the town’s 43 traders have unilaterally declared their independence from the plastic bag and have pledged to no longer sell, give away or otherwise provide them to anyone in Modbury for a minimum of six months.
I don’t think we need another reason to do all we can to curb climate change, but Sir Nicholas Stern a British economist has found one more. Climate change is obviously going to hinder economic progress, yet large corporations argue that there is nothing to worry about – well Stern is predicting massive economic repercussions if we don’t act on curbing climate change. The BBC reports that Stern argues “global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%.”
So, what is this story doing on a good news website? Well, there is good news in all of this. The Stern report can hopefully influence those who decide policies to act in favour of the environment and sway those who still doubt climate change is going to hurt us. British PM Tony Blair is already arguing for action.
We also have time to react to climate change according to Stern. He said “That’s why I’m optimistic – having done this review – that we have the time and knowledge to act. But only if we act internationally, strongly and urgently.”