What differences do you see at home, work and play by 2030? Defra has developed a number of scenarios of how we could be living in 20 years if we properly consider the environmental impacts of everything we do. Under five headings – homes, shopping and eating, travel, business and environment – the Greener Society debate encourages people to consider what a greener future may look like.
Defra’s vision sees us all living in homes with energy and water meters, generating our own power from alternative energy sources and using products that can be reused and repaired rather than frequently being replaced. Manufacturers will use less natural resources when developing products and prices for products and services will reflect the cost to the environment – the less water, energy and general impact to the environment the cheaper the goods. We’ll be travelling more on trains than planes and public transport will be frequent, reliable and flexible. And the UK will have a thriving low carbon environmental goods and services industry with plenty of job opportunities.
All great stuff but there’s a lot of work to do over the next 20 years to realise this vision, particularly in convincing people that it’s worth doing. In some respects this is what we used to do – my parents’ generation always bought products that lasted a lifetime, repairing them time and again, prohibitively expense air travel meant fewer people got on planes and little was wasted.
While numbers of environmentally aware people are growing they often get frustrated with things that are out of their control. That retailers are not doing more to curb excess packaging or getting adequate financial help in installing alternative energy sources in their homes. Will the ‘frequent and reliable’ public transport be cost effective (like it is on most of the Continent) or just as expensive as it currently is? We then have to convince those not on board that it’s worth pursuing more environmentally-sound policies – difficult when there’s discrepancies over the science and disbelief that they’re needed to be part of the solution.
Implementing the vision will need significant cultural change in the way we approach our lives, both at home and work. It’s going to require input from all sectors of society at home and around the globe – will this be possible?
Join the Greener Society debate and make your views heard.