UK & Europe - June 4
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Allotment demand leads to 40-year waiting lists
Rupert Jones, Guardian
Demand for allotments has reached such heights that in one London borough would-be gardeners will be waiting 40 years for a patch of land, it emerged today.
Latest research commissioned by home insurer LV= (formerly Liverpool Victoria) also revealed that for every UK allotment plot there are 30 people waiting to get their hands on one – providing evidence of our recession-fuelled enthusiasm for homegrown produce and the desire of many city dwellers to embrace "the good life" by getting back to the land.
Applicants are typically looking at an average wait of three years, although in some areas it will probably be decades before these green-fingered hopefuls are finally able to harvest the fruits (and vegetables) of their labour.
(2 June 2009)
Looking at Europe’s Green Ways
Kate Galbraith, Green Inc. Column, New York Times
... As the United States begins building its version of a green economy, ideas are flowing fast and furiously across the Atlantic. The exchange is certain to intensify as initiatives in Washington to combat global warming and promote renewable energy gather speed. Just last week, President Barack Obama moved to raise fuel efficiency standards, and a landmark climate bill won passage through a key committee in the House of Representatives.
It makes sense for the United States to search abroad for expertise, because Europe has taken the lead in ushering in the new-energy revolution. Germany enacted feed-in tariffs in 1991. It now leads the world in the production of solar power, despite ample cloud cover.
Germany is also second in the world in wind power, having been passed by the United States only recently.
Also, of course, Europe has pursued many innovations in energy efficiency, such as the “passive house,” which is so well-insulated that it needs no furnace for winter heating.
(24 May 2009)
Energy policy of the Greens
Luis de Sousa, The Oil Drum: Europe
EuroElections 2009 : Greens-EFA
This round through the European political landscape now leaves the parties more used to power and starts dealing with those found more often in the opposition. The Greens – European Free Alliance (Greens-EFA) is the fifth largest political block at Parliament, with little over 5% of the seats. Greens-EFA is a coalition largely composed by state-level Green Parties plus a small number of Regionalist deputies. After an all-time high close to 10% in 1999 the party had what can be called a disappointing result in 2004. Embarking on a worldwide effort to promote its ideologies by the midst of the current term, it is quite possible that the Greens-EFA may reach a relevant stake at Parliament this time.
The Green ideology is possibly the most complex political philosophy in Europe today, a sort of definition can be attempted at, but with the due reserves. The roots of the Green movement can be traced back to the late XIX century when Naturist Anarchism emerged in France, Spain and Portugal. Among other things it advocated for an ecological relation of Man with Nature, reducing or even annulling the impact of the former on the latter. It was a rather individualist philosophy, underpinned on self-sufficiency. Throughout the XX century these ideas evolved into modern Green Anarchism, that embraced community with the development of the eco-village concept (units of no more than a few hundred folk living from subsistence agriculture). It brought about the idea that modern realizations of primitive social structures would allow a way of life in harmony with Nature, repudiating larger power hierarchies. With the debate about limits to growth and the oil crisis unfolding in the 1970s the Green ideology made it into larger sections of the political landscape, with movements emerging aiming to push those ideas through the established Democratic process.
By 1979 the German Green Party developed the Four Pillars of the Green Party: Ecological wisdom, Social justice, Grassroots democracy and Nonviolence. These are still today the main guidelines followed by most Green parties around the world.
... As happens with Liberal parties, the Greens haven't so far been able to fully capitalize on the electorate closer to the traditional parties. Nonetheless, their activism have been having a crucial role in shaping politics in Europe, especially in the field of Energy.
... the most important thing to note is that the programme is congruent with itself and throughout compliant with the vision of an infrastructure shift away from fossil fuels towards electricity. Where a shift to electricity isn't immediately a goal there are proposals for taxing fossil fuels or to use more efficient modes of transport. All that is left to say is how that shift will be accomplished in the short/medium term with the decommissioning of the Nuclear Park taking place simultaneously.
One thing is certain, Greens-EFA is so far in this round up the party dedicating more resources to Energy related issues and the one willing to go more deeply in its proposed polices. Unfortunately, that is not happening by the acknowledgment of impeding Fossil Fuel shortages, which leads to an incoherent message.
(3 June 2009)
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