Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Saturday, 4 April 2009


I’m really interested in the psychological justifications we all come up to justify behaviour we think is not sustainable. I’ve got energy saving bulbs which means I am less likely to run upstairs to turn one off now. I never remember to unplug the mobile phone charger, though I’m quite good about turning the telly off standby. It all feels like my personal actions have such a trivial impact, but none the less I dwell on the “good” things I do using them to forgive myself the “bad” things.

The premise of this journey is that to make an impact everyone on the planet will have to change their behaviour. But short of holding your breath in a cold dark room, it’s hard to do anything that doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses.

I was at a conference with Nick Stern last month and he explained the logic behind needing an 80% cut in emissions. I can’t picture how my personal life either as a rufty-tufty expedition leader, or as a London suburban commuter, looks when it’s constrained to just 20% of its emissions. Being smug about buying UK grown food in the supermarket isn’t going to cover it, let alone make up for my flight to Perugia to speak at a conference. And I don’t think I can sit back and expect Business or Government to provide solutions that do it all for me.

For the population (global and national) to make the sort of dramatic changes needed, people businesses and government have to motivated by having their lives made considerably easier when they behave sustainably compared with when they don’t. In practice this means either financial or regulatory encouragement.

There are no easy fixes, or we’d be doing them already. Education campaigns are great but they only change the behaviour the educated and the wealthy (how is someone that lives on a dollar a day going to cut their carbon footprint by 80%), and I even then only partly. It’s no good the yummy mummies of Clapham recycling yogurt pots to mentally justify their Chelsea tractor for the school run.

At the moment the debate seems to be culturally stagnating into a bit of which hunt. I’m going to try to use this blog to fess up to my personal hypocrisies, not because I want to provide an environment where hypocrisy is acceptable, but because keeping problems a secret, means you can’t solve them (just like the rust on my truck).

There’s something quite empowering about confessionals. Anyone out there want to confess, wipe the slate clean and start again?

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