It’s time for a GREEN Britain: Express launches historic crusade

Green Britain: Daily Express launches campaign with Ecotricity

It is to highlight our campaign to make Britain show the world how to become environmentally-friendly.

We want to involve you, the reader, in helping reduce pollution and protect nature.

We know from our exclusive opinion poll that there is a new mood in the nation. Britons are worried about the loss of wildlife and the threat posed by climate change, not just for them but for their children and grandchildren.

It is no coincidence that this devastating pandemic is thought to have been triggered by exposure to wildlife traded in a Chinese food market.

But Covid has given us a new world – where air pollution is down, working from home is possible for millions, commuting is unnecessary, and appreciation of green spaces and nature is at an all time high.

When the happy day comes that lets us out of jail, we do not want to go back to our old ways.

We need to build a cleaner, greener Britain, that works as much as possible with nature instead of seeing it as a resource to be plundered.

As Boris Johnson said only last week: “We in the UK are determined not only to build back better from Covid but build back greener as well.”

Words are easy but the Prime Minister, whose fiancée Carrie Symonds is an environmental campaigner, has a unique chance to lead the world and bequeath a better Britain to future generations.

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In June he hosts the G7 of industrialised nations in Cornwall and in November the delayed global climate change conference, Cop 26, in Glasgow.

We want tax incentives for doing the right thing and, if we must have tax, disincentives for doing the wrong thing.

Big business will only invest in the environment if it will make more money from protecting it than trashing it. So we have to create the right conditions for the wealthy to invest in the future of the planet.

We also want to make more space for nature. The Prime Minister made a good start in September when he called for 30 per cent of the UK to be safeguarded for nature.

It is a tall order. Only ten per cent of land is protected for nature – and much of that is in a poor condition. But wetlands and woodlands help reduce flooding, absorb carbon and provide a home for dwindling species such as curlews and corn buntings.

Britain cannot win this fight on its own.

A global effort is required – and the replacement of Donald Trump, who gleefully tore up environmental protection laws, with Joe Biden, who sees tackling climate change as a top priority, offers renewed hope.

Though the UK is a small country, it still has clout. It is one of just five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and a member of the powerful G7. Its global reach is boosted still further through the Commonwealth with its 54-member states.

Setting the right example and displaying it in Glasgow can show the world a new path to prosperity where long term environmental security is not sacrificed for a quick buck.

Every individual can play a part as well. If one person’s actions are replicated by millions, individuals can make an impact.

So recycling plastic, walking, cycling or taking public transport when possible, all can make a difference.

We can help shape the world by the way we spend out money.

When it is time to replace a car, opt for a greener vehicle, switch your electricity supplier to one that gets its power from renewables, look for certifications that show that food or barbecue charcoal have not been produced by razing the rainforest. Buy shares from companies whose environmental track record meets your approval. Buy local, seasonal food. Insulate your house, make your garden, even if it is just a few flowerpots, attractive to wildlife, avoid peat when gardening, feed the birds.

Maybe try eating less meat and try more vegetarian options. Most of us like a Sunday roast but why not try a veggie curry on Monday night?.

Of course, a lot of this costs money which for many of us is in short supply at the moment. But some grants are available and most improvements will save money in the long term.

And in the long term business as usual before the pandemic is not an option.

We need to change our mindset. We rely heavily on nature for basic services that we take for granted – pollination of our crops, the security of our water supply, our clean air and our climate.

Yet for far too many centuries we have acted as if the planet is a limitless resource for our convenience and not realised that we are as much part of nature as the birds and bees. We destroy it at our peril.

So, over the coming months, the Daily Express will highlight the problems and point to solutions. It will not always be easy: if there were a silver bullet, it would have been fired long ago.

But we need our environment to be healthy so that we – and our grandchildren – can be healthy too.

* Tell us how you are going green and why. Email to [email protected]

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