Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during the summer of 2007 traveling around Britain. Now we’re home but the travel bug is still there. Join us for occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint…
You may already know that Bristol has an airport. But did you know that there are crazy plans to expand it so that by 2030 around 12.5 million people will be using it (currently 5.2 million do)? The plans will increase noise locally as there will be a plane in the air every 3.5 minutes for 16 hours a day and there will be a huge surge in the number of cars - an extra 220,000 on the road which will wreck the peace of some rural villages. CO2 emissions will soar which is bad as aviation is the fastest growing source of the greenhouse gases that are changing our climate.
My Bristol-based friend, Helen, (who is writing Cool Life Cool Planet, to be published by Collins, April 2008) asked me to give out some leaflets explaining the need to Stop Bristol Airport Expansion but I has trouble offloading them. The taxi driver for instance said he was very keen on the project as it would bring loads more business. I didn't like to say that much of this might be done in traffic jams seeing as he was driving us across Bristol. It’s easy to forget how short-sighted most people are. Our climate is changing and that is going to mean lifestyles change. Building more airports or taking more trips by plane isn’t going to be an option. As Leo Hickman points out in his most recent book on travel one reason why environmentalists point the finger of gloom at planes is that when a jumbo flies from London to Dubai it emits around 180 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere – where the polluting gas will remain for as long as 100 years. Not only does CO2 have a long life, that one way plane trip is equivalent to as many as 18 average people’s entire emissions heating their home, driving around, buying food out of season for a whole year.
More positively Bristol is home to a sustainability charter and the Big City eco café movement, and will be host to the Schumacher lectures on October 13. Helen was also able to point out some of the guerilla green gardening done by the Transition Montpelier group that has recently turned a derelict blot on the corner of Picton Street and Wellington Lane into an arty area shaded by plants. It looks like a spot now that anyone could enjoy. Go see!