Every Monday here on the Ecospot we look at a slightly meaty issue and today we just had to be talking about the fact that Brighton and Hove has been declared the world’s first One Planet City – very nicely timed as today is also Earth Day.
BioRegional, an independent sustainable accreditation organisation awarded the title to Council leader Jason Kitcat at a presentation last week, which took place at a sustainable housing project in Brighton.
But just what does this award mean?
In essence, it means that Brighton and Hove Council’s Sustainability Action Plan has been recognised for it’s plans to enable residents to live well within a fairer share of the world’s resources.
The Sustainability Action Plan sets out clear goals for Brighton and Hove – including how we can begin to live within the resources of one planet, rather than the current national average of three and a half.
To date, this has been manifested in a number of ways, with the council investing in updated insulation for council owned properties to allow tenants to benefit from lower energy bills and therefore carbon outputs and community growing schemes.
But the Sustainability Action Plan aims to to a great deal more over the next three years – helping residents and businesses in Brighton and Hove to become more sustainably resilient whilst boosting the local economy.
Ten key principles for being a One Planet City are:
Zero carbon - Making buildings more energy efficient and delivering all energy with renewable technologies.
Zero waste - Reducing waste, reusing where possible, and ultimately sending zero waste to landfill.
Sustainable transport - Encouraging low carbon modes of transport to reduce emissions, reducing the need to travel.
Sustainable materials - Using sustainable healthy products, with low embodied energy, sourced locally, made from renewable or waste resources.
Local and sustainable food - Choosing low impact, local, seasonal and organic diets and reducing food waste.
Sustainable water - Using water more efficiently in buildings and in the products we buy; tackling local flooding and water course pollution.
Land use and wildlife - Protecting and restoring biodiversity and natural habitats through appropriate land use and integration into the built environment.
Culture and community - Reviving local identity and wisdom; supporting and participating in the arts.
Equity and local economy - Creating bioregional economies that support fair employment, inclusive communities and international fair trade.
Health and happiness - Encouraging active, sociable, meaningful lives to promote good health and well being.
Many of these have already been initiated by Brighton and Hove City Council, with an increase in recycling collected from communual points within the city (which, although very controversial, appear to be working as a 70% increase in weight of recyclables have been reported), the Food Partnership projects throughout the city as well as them signing up to become a Living Wage employer.
How this accreditation will continue to manifest itself over the coming months and years will be exciting to see – and how Brighton and Hove can continue to grow as a city founded on sustainable principles.