The Ecologist


Bibi van der Zee

Bibi van der Zee: Government 'no more in touch with the countryside than Labour'

Bibi van der Zee

Continuing her exclusive series - Coalition Green Watch - Bibi van der Zee further assesses David Cameron's pledge to head the 'greenest government in history' and, whilst the jury may still be out, finds alarming cause for concern...

In the pithy words of one Downing Street insider, 'it was a cock up'. That pretty much sums up the recent forest-sell-off debacle; a bunch of inexperienced policy wonks came up with an idea they loved and completely failed to realise that the British public would hear the words 'sell trees to private sector' and rise from our armchairs as one. A wonderful rainbow coalition formed almost immediately, and, faced with the exciting prospect of the Battle of Newbury times-a-hundred, David Cameron clipped everyone in Defra round the ear and dropped the idea completely.

Entertaining for sure. But what does it tell us about the wider reality of the coalition’s green ambitions? There are two important things we can learn here, I think. Firstly these guys are no more in touch with the British people and the countryside... Read More...

Climate Week is trying to galvanise the green movement – but it is splitting it

Bibi van der Zee

Climate Week

The backing of Cameron, Clegg and Kofi Annan isn't enough, say Climate Week's critics, it is blinkered – and RBS-sponsored. Bibi van der Zee reports

Climate Week is coming. If that means nothing to you, how do you fancy a 'supercharged national occasion that offers an annual renewal of our ambition and confidence to combat climate change'?

Still not clear? Well, the plan, Climate Week founder Kevin Steele tells me, is 'all about pointing people to real low-carbon actions that are already happening. We want to showcase all those local projects – such as a headteacher making his school low-carbon – in order to inspire and enthuse.' Steele had been organising social enterprises for several years before he decided it was time to 'paint a positive picture of low-carbon living. We urgently need dramatic action on climate change and we need to bring this issue into the mainstream.'

Over the course of the week (March 21-27), he hopes thousands of events will take place across the country, and that many thousands of individuals will sign up for the currently... Read More...

COALITION GREEN WATCH: Will the Tory Lib-Dem government deliver on its environmental promises?

Bibi van der Zee

In the first of an exclusive new series Bibi van der Zee sets out how we'll put to the test David Cameron's pledge to head the 'greenest government in history' - and why we need YOUR help

Now look. I’ve been thinking long and hard about how best to view the new government and its policies and this is the thing. Although my nicer self tells me, believe them!, love them!, give them the benefit of the doubt!, the rest of me says, for heavens sake, don’t believe a word they say until you’ve had the massage, tried the pudding, or washed the facepack off.
And so we here at The Ecologist are setting out with this occasional column to cast an eye over the plans that our nearly-new leaders are making to keep Cameron’s promise to be 'the greenest government ever.' We want to check up on what Chris Huhne’s DECC (the Department for Energy and Climate Change), Caroline Spelman’s DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Eric Pickles’ CLG (Communities and Local... Read More...

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