Professor Sir Ian Boyd, the Government’s Chief Environmental Scientist, has stated that to virtually halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the UK will have to use less transport, eat less red meat, and buy less clothes. He adds that when we consume things, we use up the resources of the planet.
This is true, but will the nation be compliant? The only way to stop people eating red meat is to ban dairy/sheep farming, but then the farmers and even butchers and abattoir workers will be up in arms because their livelihoods have been taken away. However, I suspect that nobody will want to change their lifestyles until red meat is forcibly taken away from them.
The same with transport. Who wants to go back to Victorian times when it took hours by horse and cart to travel a few miles? The horse itself will need feeding anyway, and will emit its own greenhouse gases as a result of all those oats. The only way to stop people travelling by car is maybe to make it uneconomical by increasing road tax substantially, but then at the same time to make public transport more available and frequent. In our village there are 3 buses every day and that’s all. We country dwellers will need a bit more persuading to leave the comfort of our cars methinks. It would take me 2 and a half hours to get to work by bus, but it only takes 25 minutes to drive.
The main trouble is that we have advanced somewhat from Victorian times, and we expect to be able to travel from A to B fairly quickly, and that also means air and sea travel. How can the Government stop people travelling? Ban cars, trains, planes and boats? It’s just not feasible these days, is it? Our work, friends and family are not all within a mile or two as they were back in the 1800s, and public transport is just not reliable enough.
And what about clothes? Buying less clothes would suit Sam, as he’d happily live in the same pair of jeans forever, but I don’t quite share his enthusiasm.
It’s a conundrum for sure. I would love to see fewer cars on the roads, but living in the arse end of nowhere with only 3 buses per day it’s just not a viable option to be without a car. We eat red meat about once a fortnight, and so the next step would be to cut it out altogether. I’m happy to do this, but is everybody else? As for clothes, yes I’m happy to buy less of them as I don’t really buy that many anymore. However, the car is another issue…