Joddle and Max reflect on what it means to be green and involved in eco projects as a young person. Recalling their involvement in an overseas volunteering programme in Nepal and their experience of self-starting environmental projects in the UK, the podcasters get personal and share stories about being green with Waste AM FM listeners. What characterises the green youth movement? Is it a training ground for green and political careers, or perhaps something more idealistic borne out of a desire to change the world for the better?
——– More in this Eco Podcast
Joddle Discoveries - Joddle’s been reading inspiring and romantic literature of the sea:
The Old Man and The Sea, Ernest Hemmingway
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
Knut Hamsun, Victoria
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Thanks for listening! @wasteAM @MaxLundsten
If you are reading this on the date of publication, I will have arrived in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, to participate in the European Youth Meeting for Sustainable Development 2011. I was selected as a UK delegate for the conference because of my work in communities organising waste-themed projects, involvement with the British Council Climate Champion scheme, and ongoing work with the Department for Energy and Climate Change Youth Action Panel.
I’m attending to share and learn about sustainability issues as experienced by an international crowd of young people. I’m hoping to participate in a working group on waste management, which should should help to inform future posts on Waste AM! I’m also hoping to participate in a practical skills-based workshop making an advertising campaign about a sustainability issue.
I’m really interested to meet young waste fanatics from partner countries. How might the waste management views of the young Europeans I meet compare to my own? Will they be more pro-recycling than me? Might they share my own belief that policy should encourage waste to be reduced at source, foremost? Will I meet people with waste management ideas I haven’t heard of before?
Most of all I’m looking forward to meeting new people and exploring a part of the world I wouldn’t otherwise get to visit. I don’t know much about Estonia but it looks great. In fact, I am most likely enjoying myself there as you read this
For anyone commenting this week my apologies if I don’t respond in a timely fashion.
Good Energy is the only energy supplier in the UK to offer tariffs of 100% renewable energy. They offer electricity sourced from a network of independent small-to-medium-sized renewable installations (wind, solar, wave, biomass) by making use of the Feed In Tariff scheme. This is how it works:
Imagine you own a factory and have three wind turbines on the premises. Good Energy will purchase surplus energy from you to pass on to its customers. Sometimes you will not generate enough electricity for your needs (obviously, wind power is unreliable). When this happens, Good Energy will sell the factory energy that has been procured from other renewable sources. By this means, if you are an renewable energy producer, you will have a two-way relationship with Good Energy; you’re both a supplier and consumer.
If you don’t have your own renewable energy facility, it is still possible to be a Good Energy customer, you just sign up to a tariff, much the same as with other electricity suppliers. The major difference being that you accept you will pay a little more for you electricity (around 75p per family per week) but gain from it the environmental piece of mind that the electricity you have used has come from carbon neutral sources. In the same way that we make consumer choices based on our environmental ideals (for example, I will choose to pay more for groceries if I can avoid plastic waste), Good Energy offers consumers who are concerned about the UK’s energy mix and/or its dependence on foreign suppliers a real alternative to the major utility companies.
I recently met Good Energy’s impressive founder Juliet Davenport (find out more here) and took the opportunity to find out about the profile of Good Energy’s customer base. She said her customers (it may surprise you) are from a broad, diverse base and include people from ‘all walks of life’. Insightfully, according to their data, Good Energy customers consume 10-15% less energy than the average, which brings the cost of bills down to roughly the equivalent of an energy bill with a major utility company. It would seem, then, that Good Energy customers tend to be more energy aware and potentially less wasteful than the national average. Their customer base tends to grow through customer referrals, and if they do advertise, they do it selectively in trade journals and lifestyle magazines.
I have sometimes pondered if the major players in the energy market prefer it that energy is not widely understood and has a intangible quality – far removed from the days we had to chop and gather up fire wood to burn our stoves. We don’t really what’s involved in order to bring it into our homes. I think they like it that people are wasteful with energy and confused about where it comes from and don’t how much it costs to do everyday things like boil a kettle, or leave a scented air freshener plugged in continuously. That’s why I think any new way of doing things that serves to build a connection between people and the energy they consume is a great thing.
If Good Energy customers use their electricity more economically or sparingly it can only be a good thing. With electricity prices forecast to rise nearly 20% this winter, you would think saving energy would be on the mainstream public agenda. However, because energy is intangible and distant, people go on consuming wastefully, and then in a couple of months, when it is too late to do anything about it, will worry and fret over paying the exorbitant bills.
By what means can we connect people with the energy they consume?