East England Development Agency
In the South East, we are fortunate in having several organisations
whose ethos is sustainable development, an improvement in
the environment and social inclusion. One of these organisations
is the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).
To find out more about what SEEDA is doing for the southeast
region of Britain, visit their website at www.seeda.co.uk
Hampshire Natural Resources Initiative
The Hampshire Natural Resources Initiative (HNRI) is devoted
to encouraging the public and businesses alike to rethink
their consumption of natural resources both renewable and
non-renewable. At present their consumption is unsustainable.
In our “throw away society” more consideration
should be given to the environmental impacts of extracting
the resources to make new things, and the effects of their
disposal when no longer needed. There is a need for a change
in mindset to encourage people to recycle their waste. Industry
must do its part by not making it cheaper to throw something
away rather than repair it.
These issues and many more can be found at www.hnri.co.uk
There are many suggestions about how you can keep up to date
with newsletters and events in the region.
“Taking Stock is a project to analyse resource flows
and create an ecological footprint for the South East region”
This organisation is concerned with making the Southeast
region of Britain as sustainable as possible, supporting such
initiatives as renewable energies, recycling and getting businesses
to reduce carbon emissions.
For more information and news of forthcoming events, visit
Agenda 21 was one of the initiatives to come out of the Rio
Earth Summit in 1992. It is an attempt to specify and clarify
what actions need to be taken to balance economic and social
development with environmental concerns. Achieving sustainable
development is deemed to be a collaboration between all countries
of the developed and developing world and sectors within those
On a local level, Local Agenda 21 (LA21) is the application
of the general principles of Agenda 21, but at a local, regional
or national level. Local government in the UK has made great
steps in achieving its commitment to the adoption of the principles
laid out in LA21.
To find out how your local council is shaping up on LA21
issues, visit the Green Consumer Guide website at www.greenconsumerguide.com/la21/main.php
Ecological Footprint Studies
The ecological footprint aims to find out how much land we
use as compared to how much we actually need. Local governments
are now using ecological footprint studies to measure what
is central to sustainable development. Measurements are made
in hectares per person or per household.
On a national scale, the UK has an average household has
an ecological footprint of between 5 and 6 hectares. What
this means is that for an average house occupying an area
of 100m2, its ecological garden would then occupy the land
taken up by between 500 and 600 of its neighbours!
If all the world’s population had consumption patterns
like us in the UK, we would need three extra planets to sustain
ourselves. If everyone lived like the average American, we
would need an extra four. We are clearly not living a sustainable
lifestyle and there is much room for improvement. Wackernagel
and Rees (1995) have estimated a sustainable level of consumption
to be about two hectares.
If the area of land available is less than is required to
support a person, this leads to the trading of land or resources,
resulting in the need to import. This can lead to an imbalance
where countries are growing food to supply other countries
rather than their own. Sometimes the attraction of foreign
exchange is seen as more important than self-sufficiency.
For more information on Ecological Footprinting read WWF’s
document available as a PDF file at www.wwf-uk.org/filelibrary/pdf/ecologicalfootprints.pdf
and a website devoted to the subject: www.ecologicalfootprint.com
If you are interested in measuring your own ecological footprint,
you can download software (PC only, I’m afraid) from
the Best Foot Forward website at www.bestfootforward.com/ecocal.htm
Alternatively, try the online quiz at www.earthday.net/footprint/index.asp