Thursday, February 08, 2007

Core green principles

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We do all need to look at our lifestyles as a letter from 'Bradley Stoker' asks us ('The world will soon be running on empty', Bristol Evening Post letters, February 7). It is very encouraging that increasing numbers of people are doing what Bradley Stoker did (finding out just how little oil there is left) that is, do a bit of research to find out the state of our planet and its resources and, having done so, take part in the debate and express concern.

The Green Party believes that life on Earth is under immense pressure and that it is human activity, more than anything else, which is threatening the well-being of the environment on which we depend (go to for illustrations). Conventional politics has failed us because its values are fundamentally flawed and it has brought us to the state we are in.

The Green Party isn't just another political party. Green politics is a new and radical kind of politics in that it aims to tackle the root causes of problems. For the Green Party all issues are connected and therefore all issues are green issues, whether its the economy, or education, health, or the environment itself. It is guided by ten core principles, which are developed and expanded upon to cover all those policy areas needed for the governance of a country in our comprehensive manifesto for a sustainable society ( :

1.Humankind depends on the diversity of the natural world for its existence. We do not believe that other species are expendable.

2.The Earth's physical resources are finite. We threaten our future if we try to live beyond those means, so we must build a sustainable society that guarantees our long-term future.

3.Every person, in this and future generations, should be entitled to basic material security as of right.

4.Our actions should take account of the well-being of other nations, other species, and future generations. We should not pursue our well-being to the detriment of theirs.

5.A healthy society is based on voluntary co-operation between empowered individuals in a democratic society, free from discrimination whether based on race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion, social origin or any other prejudice.

6.We emphasise democratic participation and accountability by ensuring that decisions are taken at the closest practical level to those affected by them.

7.We look for non-violent solutions to conflict situations, which take into account the interests of minorities and future generations in order to achieve lasting settlements.

8.The success of a society cannot be measured by narrow economic indicators, but should take account of factors affecting the quality of life for all people: personal freedom, social equity, health, happiness and human fulfilment.

9.Electoral politics is only one way to achieve change in society, and we will use a variety of methods to help effect change, providing those methods do not conflict with our other core principles.

10.The Green Party puts changes in both values and lifestyles at the heart of the radical green agenda.

Greens welcome opportunities to discuss politics, values and lifestyles and feel it is particularly important that people examine very closely any so-called green claims from other political parties. They seem today to be doing what they tried to do twenty years ago, that is jump onto the green bandwagon because they feel there are votes in it. They need to finally realise that the issues at stake are far too important for such behaviour and develop policies to solve problems rather than policies simply to gain electoral advantage.

Surge in green interest and concern

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There is now a very strong surge in interest in being Green . Articles are appearing in all sorts of publications. I was contacted by a journalist yesterday for instance, who said,

'I'm writing a feature for Glamour magazine which I need an expert quote for - hoping you may be able to help! Basically the piece is about how winter never really arrived this year and how this could be attributed to global warming, increased levels of CO2 in our atmosphere etc. Anyway we basically wanted to run a few short tips from you about how the average Glamour reader can cut their carbon footprint.....Obviously these have to be quite female-orientated and unusual, rather than the things people are probably used to reading.'

My reply was as follows:

How about these suggestions (I've tried to think differently, as you suggested):

* Cut down on baby paraphernalia; support reuse and lower consumption by buying second-hand baby clothes; use untreated cotton bedding that hasn't had lots of chemicals used in its manufacture

*Dress ethically by visiting Ethical Consumers Green Clothing Directory (

*Use natural fragrances - over 5000 chemicals are used in fragrance manufacture and 95% of these come from fossil fuels

*When eating out choose organic options from the menu (see, especially if locally sourced; also support restaurants with small menus - the more different types of food they have to have ready the more food will go to waste

*When going to a hotel ask them to put 're-use' towel and sheet cards in the bedroom and bathroom - using sheets and towels for more than a day cuts at least 5% off the hotel's energy use and 70% of guests are likely to choose to reuse; dont use the freebie mini soaps and shampoos - they are a very wasteful form of packaging - and ask the hotel to use refillable dispensers

* Give a plant as a gift instead of flowers - many flowers are grown in chemical, water and energy intensive ways and are often flown around the globe for sale!

*Entertain by candlelight using natural beeswax or vegetable based candles that are biodegradable and aren't made from oil-based materials

*Cut your consumption, thus cutting energy and materials use, by supporting buy nothing day (see

Looks like the magazine are likely to use the candle, plant and small menus quotes. Lets hope the surge of green interest is sustained and that fundamental action happens - it will need to be if we are to achieve real change!