Previously Posted: London’s Eco Warriors

For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.

London’s Eco Warriors (05.02.2010)

According to most politicians if we don’t cycle everywhere (leaving our electric car in the garage), buy our food at “the farm gate” and live like a Hobbit in a woodland setting you’re not eco friendly. From this they extrapolate that living in the countryside benefits the environment, while we urban dwellers are virtually killing polar bears with our bare hands.

This perception of Londoners could be set to change as a result of a recent book by David Owen entitled Green Metropolis. The American urbanologist proposes you move to a city, the biggest you can find, if you want to save the planet.

Building of new eco towns with zero VAT and the opportunity to show their green credentials might be an attractive proposition to many builders, but David Owen asserts that building new in the form of energy-guzzling steel and glass boxed and towers, which are usually unadaptable for later re-use, on Green Belt land has a carbon footprint that’s a disaster.

For we Londoners on the other hand, have a carbon “sink” of buildings, many dating from the Victorian era needing only central heating upgrades or new windows and a lick of paint to transform them into houses, flats, schools, shops or offices that will last for years, and as these long ago constructed buildings share walls, roofs, ceilings and heating systems they are more economical en masse than stand alone structures in the middle of a Norfolk field.

Our politicians with their “green” credentials have all but obliterated public transport from rural areas, forcing the population to use a car for almost every journey, many making two journeys each way to drop children at school or fetch a partner from the station.

Londoners cycle, walk or use public transport to get around the capital; we have more buses in the capital than you can shake a stick at, while after work we crowd into local shops, restaurants, pubs or theatres without having to travel vast distances to enjoy our leisure pursuits, and as I keep telling my customers, they are blessed with the world’s finest taxi service, taking up to six people per vehicle, making it one of the most green public transport vehicles on the road, but then I would say that wouldn’t I?

2 thoughts on “Previously Posted: London’s Eco Warriors”

  1. You’re not kidding about the annihilation of rural public transport! When I retired and moved to my new husband’s house in the Fens (around 2010) I thought the bus services were dire, and the railway not a lot better. Since then the buses have all but disappeared., and the trains… well, you know about the trains.
    Fortunately I’ve kept my maisonette in an East London suburb (for baby-sitting duties. Three of my kids live in Hainault, Bethnal Green and Victoria. One of his lives in Highams Park). We spend half our time with the urban end of Epping Forest across the back fence, and we hardly use the car.


  2. When I lived in Camden, we used one car, once a week, to go grocery shopping. We both went to work on the bus, (I often walked) and occasional black cabs for nights out.
    In a country village now, with almost no bus service, 20 miles to the nearest railway station, and a walk of over 3 miles into the nearest town along fast country roads, we have to have two cars, and use one of them at least every day of the week.
    Mr Owen got it right.
    Best wishes, Pete.


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