Finding inspiration at the Hay Festival
Door: David Venables in Events
I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time at this year’s Hay Literary and Arts Festival in Wales and attended quite a few events. As an avid reader of the Guardian and a regular at Hay, I was a bit concerned that the move to the Telegraph as media sponsor, might signal a change of emphasis when it comes to the environment. But I need not have worried, the organisers stayed true to their aim of keeping climate change and environmental awareness firmly on the agenda. Speakers in this field included; writer and campaigner George Monbiot, Former director of Friends of the Earth and advisor to Prince Charles, Jonathon Poirrot, Tim Scmit, the creator of the Eden project and Kevin McCloud, of Grand Designs fame. Although they all write and campaign from different angles they are all strong environmentalists who want to see real change in how we consume, design and live. And to my surprise I found there was a genuine connection to what we at AHEC are fighting for with our hardwood promotion. Which is; to challenge hollow rhetoric and green wash, let the science do the talking, promote the idea of making and designing products that last, put more focus on natural materials, and do more to promote and celebrate our craft/skills based industries. There were also calls for the “environmental movement” to strive to be more relevant and move with the times, as Tim Scmit said “environmentalists are still promoting the same old messages to the same people” regardless of what improvements have been made or what new facts have emerged. This is certainly the case for the wood sector where real progress is often over shadowed by environmental views from 20 years ago.
Rather than putting new energy into exposing the environmental short-comings of other industries, the default setting for many ENGO’s is to blame the timber industry. George Monbiot has undertaken a very public u-turn (to the dismay and anger of many of his environmental colleagues) on the role of Nuclear power in the energy debate. He is not a fan of nuclear power but the science cannot be ignored just to suit an out-dated moral position, and he argues that unless Nuclear is part of the mix we will never achieve our targets to reduce carbon emissions. We (in the wood sector) should draw inspiration from his bold approach and let the science do the talking. If we can get the real facts about woods renewability, and carbon footprint on the table backed up by lots of independent LCA (life cycle assessment) then we will have a much better chance of changing public opinion once and for all.
- 7/05/2013 - Window of opportunity
- 28/01/2013 - EUTR – Friend or Foe?
- 2/11/2012 - The U.S. building industry: is it too easy to be green?
- 12/10/2012 - Fighting for the underdog!
- 6/06/2012 - The lessons of LCA