Age of Stupid Inspires UK Campaign to Dramatically Cut Emissions

10:10 Campaign
10:10 Campaign

The Age of Stupid was more than just a disturbing film -— for many it was a serious call to action.

At a September launch in Great Britain, Age of Stupid Director Franny Armstrong unveiled the 10:10 Campaign to great fanfare at the Tate Museum, with thousands of individuals and businesses promising to cut their emissions by 10 percent by 2010 to make a real, measurable, and immediate difference in the fight against global warming. The Guardian — the world’s best newspaper for environmental and climate change coverage — signed on as a media sponsor, and many celebrities added their voices to the clamor.

It’s been building ever since. Every day, a new celebrity or a significant group joins 10:10, and the story grows. 10:10 has already recruited 20,000 individuals, 850 companies, 150 schools and 350 other organizations — including hospitals and councils — to the cause. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has signed, as has his entire cabinet. So has the entire Conservative front bench.

Can you imagine that happening in America?

Cynics may dismiss these numbers in a country with 61 million inhabitants, but they will lead to real cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in a country that already has one-half the per capita emissions of the US or Canada. A simple truth is that people are talking, learning more about what steps they can take, and this campaign has the potential to mushroom.

To give but one example: The Royal Mail, the UK national postal service that employs more than 176,000 people, is by far the biggest organization to support 10:10. Royal Mail has already reduced emissions by 5% over the last three or four years, and promises to take further steps to cut its carbon footprint in 2010, including rolling out more double-decker delivery trucks, which can carry more items per vehicle; improving route planning to reduce the total distance travelled; encouraging staff to reduce their emissions at home as well as at work; and offering cost savings to business customers that commit to only sending mail using sustainable paper and fully recyclable packaging. The company is planning to cut emissions in half by 2015.

Similarly, the Liberal Democratic Party, the UK’s center-left party, is also calling for dramatic cuts to emissions, and wholeheartedly supports the 10:10 initiative. That means that all 63 LDP Members of Parliament will be talking about climate change and trying to put Brown’s feet to the fire on the road to Copenhagen. But, perhaps even more importantly than those MPs are the 64 (civic) councils controlled by the Liberal Democrats. Every one of those councils is be enacting 10:10 Campaign initiatives through UK cities and boroughs.

Think globally, act locally. It would seem that the 10:10 Campaign has found a judicious mix.

Richard is a writer and editor based in Halifax, Nova Scotia who specializes in clean technology and climate change. He's the founder of One Blue Marble, a climate change activism blog and web site.

4 responses

  1. It’s nice for a variety of people and businesses to be able to contribute toward helping the planet. Congrats to the UK. Unfortunately in Canada every Canadian could do everything possible to reduce green house gases and emissions would barely drop. Thanks to the Alberta tar sands project and Prime Minister Harper for taking away Canadians ability to help the planet and it’s people improve the quality of life on earth.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Kirsten and Stephen.

    In case you don’t know, on October 24, is running a massive international rally to make politicians join the fight against climate change. I’ll certainly be there!

    And hopefully that will be just the start of North America.

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