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Saturday, 20 October 2007

Carbon footprint

On Thursday last I listened to Elin Jones AM speak at the Stapledon Society (University agriculture, countryside, equine and tourism student staff society) about the One Wales document and rural policy. Apart from the usual agriculture related questions there was one which drew my attention, not initially because of its content but its tone. The way in which it was asked was aggressive, pointed and devious - its a shame it was asked in such a manner as it is an important point of debate. It asked whether the Minister had done a personal carbon footprint assessment.

The question really should have been split in two parts, firstly, what is the carbon footprint of your job, and secondly, what is the carbon footprint of your personal life? Yes, I suppose we choose our jobs but often the circumstances in which we operate are often beyond our control. It is easier for us to behave in a more carbon neutral way in our personal life but often circumstances again dictate otherwise.

Its time for organisations that employ large numbers to have carbon neutral employment plans. Considering the travel that elected Ministers do all Governments should have actions in place to mitigate the effect. By the way this is not getting at Elin Jones but at Government in general. Companies should be placed in the same spotlight.

I know that I could do better with my carbon footprint, I am sure we all can. The car to work each day; moving children between music lessons home, rugby pitches, football pitches and home; travelling around as an elected councillor are all areas where there are tangible benefits but the organisation of all does not produce an adequate or acceptable carbon footprint. Some compromise is probably necessary between the environment, children's education and enjoyment and lifestyle. I choose to be a councillor and if I didn't do it somebody else would !! Still it pricks my conscience and that is a start.

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