Friday, 23 April 2010

Earth Day and St George's Day

Thursday 22 April was the fortieth Earth Day, when people around the world reflect on our ecological impact and try to change their behaviour in some way that lessens this impact. An article in "Slate" (an American online magazine) this week has reviewed research published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology (which sounds like an oxymoron to me) on how to reduce the environmental impact of households.

Their key recommendations are: insulation, energy-efficient appliances, drive fuel-efficient cars (and drive less), eat less meat and dairy products, eat more locally produced food and drinks and more foods in season.

I cannot disagree with any of these but the important thing for me is to encourage people to look beyond their household and feel part of their community. This week, Hannah Masters-Waage, Laura Spence and I launched "Sustainable Windsor", a community organisation focused on making Windsor a little more sustainable. I will write up the outcomes of our first meeting separately but it was a really positive start.

Speaking of Start, The Prince of Wales has launched a campaign called Start which encourages people to begin changing their behaviour now, with the things that matter most to them. Prince Charles is known to be the lead member of the Windsor household for sustainability and I look forward to seeing this campaign grow.

Another initiative launched for Earth Day was GreenMyParents and its Facebook page. This is a great movement for young people to influence their elders and to spread the message by teaching their peers to do the same. It has a commercial side (they are selling a book) but the basic message to young people and their parents is to work together to save money and the planet through simple, everyday actions.

And now it is St George's Day. There could be no more sustainable way to celebrate our Patron Saint than with a pint of Guardsman ale, the first product from the Windsor & Eton Brewery.

Produced within a mile of my home by the father of two of my Scouts, and three of his friends, this beer epitomises the local economy. Its launch today has been eagerly anticipated by thousands of Windsorians through their remarkable use of social media to link up local people online. And I am looking forward to joining the Brewers, and the newly-appointed Mayor of Windsor, for my first taste of Windsor beer at the Two Brewers in Park Street, right next to the Long Walk. It is auspicious that today's Google header shows the exact location of the Two Brewers - it is in the first "O" of Google!