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Thursday, 31 May 2007
Box Hill view


I took this photograph looking down over Dorking on my visit to Box Hill earlier this year.

The Hay Festival of books started this week, and New Consumer has a video report on how eco-friendly the books are:

This year, we’ve been deluged with books devoted to green living and climate change - Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers, Chris Goodall’s How to Live a Low Carbon Life and Mark Lynas’ Six Degrees mark just three of the most recent.

But do authors, the public and publishers care how green the actual books are? Does anyone have a clue about recycled and FSC-certified paper?

We headed to second-hand book nirvana Hay-on-Wye and the Hay Festival to find out.

New Consumer also have a report on how Carbon footprint labels could appear on all products.

It would mean we could see at a glance the amount of CO2 emissions produced during a product’s life cycle. A traffic light system may be used, like the current ones for food content, so green lights would be on the more environmentally friendly products.

Climate change minister, Ian Pearson, revealed the scheme, which would be the first in the world. The Carbon Trust and DEFRA will devise the new system - businesses, green experts and academics will help work out how to calculate the cycle, from manufacture to packaging, distribution and disposal.

It could be useful for the Soil Association in deciding what to do about long distance organic products - it could mean they could continue to certify organic products and utilise this scheme, taking away the need to devise its own way of measuring environmental impact.

It doesn’t take the issue of development and people’s livelihoods out of the equation. If climate change is going to be prioritised - or at least made the more visible priority - there needs to be ways of ensuring livelihoods won‘t be affected. Many producers will need support to reduce the environmental impact of their products.

It would be concerning if fairly traded products don’t make it into baskets if they’ve got a big red light on the packaging. After all climate change concerns stem from wanting to protect the planet for the benefit of its inhabitants - traffic light labels are a sound idea but if they over simplify the issue they’ll miss the point.

Posted by bigblue on 31/05/2007 at 11:28 PM
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