4 Ways the UK Has Become a Global Leader in Sustainable Living – Oddly, it seems as though altogether too many people misunderstand the concept of sustainable living. So many of us focus on various strategies within the broad scope of sustainable living and that’s where our understanding ends. For example, we focus on conservation to protect a huge number of natural resources such as oil, trees, coal and yes, water. However, that’s all part of a much larger picture.
These are all ways in which we can protect the environment, but the key focus of sustainable living is toward the end goal of a reduction in climate change. Sadly, even many of the world’s biggest economies also miss the point. Following you will find information on just why many of the world’s leading environmentalists are saying the UK, indeed, has become a global leader in sustainable living.
A Bit of Background
Perhaps one of the key indicators that the UK is making major strides toward sustainability is its most recent ranking in the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index. For comparison, consider the fact that the United States ranked last at 197thplace when there are only 197 countries recognised by the UN. Unfortunately, this is because many disputed autonomous countries are still being considered a part of nations to which they once ‘belonged.’ A better estimate of the number of nations in the world would be 215, but that is still up for debate. Therefore, as it stands, a giant, extremely wealthy nation is in last place, so what does that tell you about the ranking of the UK in 8th place?
Before continuing to why the UK is a recognised global leader in sustainable living, let’s look at a paraphrased definition. Sustainable living is defined as a philosophy in which the primary goal is to reduce our impact on the environment from a societal and personal perspective. It’s all about making positive changes in the way we seek to reduce climate change along with those other environmental concerns mentioned above. In its simplest definition, it is a way of reducing our carbon footprint. With all that being said, let’s look at ways in which the UK is a global leader.
Biodiversity Net Gain Plan
Biodiversity is related to species and ecosystems. Most often you will hear climate change as impacting biodiversity but there is another way of looking at this. Not only are so many species in decline because of global warming but the very ecosystems that support them are in decline as well. So, there is a rather symbiotic relationship between our efforts to prevent further decline in those ecosystems that, on the other hand, can also help to reduce global warming.
Consider the rain forests in Central and South America and how those rainforests put oxygen into the air while our carbon footprint is continually reducing oxygen to be transplanted by carbon. With the UK’s pioneering Biodiversity Net Gain Plan where any development of land must add at least 10% to biodiversity, they are literally leading the world toward sustainable land development. One service that conducts biodiversity surveys of land to be developed, BNG Plans, does a complete assessment of the land to be developed so that it is not only compliant with UK legislation to add 10% to the earth’s biosphere but they also provide what you would need to do to be approved for a local council’s planning permission.
Net Zero Goal by 2050
The UK’s Net Zero Strategy is all about a target of reaching zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. Toward that goal, the UK has legislated that all new cars sold in the UK will not be powered by petrol or diesel by 2030. In other words, these cars are to be electric vehicles that will have no reliance whatsoever on fossil fuels.
The Net Zero Goal by the year 2050 is seen to be extremely ambitious, and many critics doubt the UK will be able to manage it by its self-imposed deadline. However, with all the other sustainable living legislation going into effect, reaching that goal is getting closer by the day.
The UK Department of Education is in the process of launching a ground-breaking new natural history course within secondary education scheduled to commence by 2025. The course will be teaching secondary students GCSE History of the natural world. It is truly a first of its kind and the focus will be on sustainability, climate change and making the necessary changes to our lifestyle that will help create that so-far elusive net zero world.
A Global Leader in Renewable Energy
With the ultimate goal of achieving a Net Zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2050, the fact that the UK has the world’s largest offshore wind farm is one reason to be optimistic about reaching that goal. In fact, just a decade ago at least 44% of the nation’s electricity was powered by coal but by the year 2019, that figure dropped to 2%. Reducing your reliance on coal by that far of a drop is phenomenal which is why there is every reason to believe the nation will achieve its goal of cutting out coal altogether by the year 2024. Those who believed it was overly enthusiastic in the very beginning, now know that it is within the realm of probability. Imagine that! Within just over a decade the reliance on coal for electricity will drop from 44% to 0%. This is just one very strong reason why the UK has become a global leader in climate control.
This is an amazing accomplishment for such a small group of islands. With many countries having so many more resources and much larger economies, the fact that the UK has come this far and is now a global leader in sustainable living is simply amazing. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether other nations that have been lagging behind will now follow suit.