London exemplifies sustainable living

With the United States facing the worst environmental disaster in its history, the need to create and protect a sustainable world is much more dire than before. Although many Americans currently find British Petroleum (BP) unfavorable, it is England that may be a prime example of a country that promotes being environmentally friendly and sustainable.
The London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) is comprised of sectors and organizations within London, and its overall objective is to “achieve environmental, social and economic development simultaneously.” According to the Web site, to promote sustainability, the LSDC has used methods such as rewards to encourage the citizens of London to reduce, reuse and recycle. The LSDC will also use fines and fees in the event that the reward system proves to not motivate people enough.
While it is easy to think one person alone cannot help prevent global warming or promote sustainability, it is entirely possible to live in an urban city and reduce carbon footprints. For example:
1. Walking. Londoners walk where possible and don’t drive if they can help it. If it’s a small trip to the corner store, then they will walk the short distance. Not only does this save money on fuel and car upkeeps, it reduces air pollution and traffic congestion.
2. Biking is another example, of transportation especially when a person can’t always walk to their destination. Riding on a bicycle promotes good air quality and generates zero emissions.
3. Public transportation. If walking or cycling is out of the question, using public transportation is another way of getting about without having to use a car. It is also much easier to use the Underground in an big city such as London, where driving traffic is heavy.
These are just a few examples of what a tourist would notice immediately. However, there are smaller differences that could be missed without a second glance. For example, in the public bathrooms paper towels are not available to dry washed hands. What is readily available are low-energy hand driers.
Inside many of the buildings in London, the electric sockets themselves are much more sustainable. They are equipped with a small switch that turns off the electric current when electronic devices are not in use. While air conditioners are a necessary evil in humid climates, there is little need for them in London. Opening a window allows a cool summer breeze to waft through for circulation and reduces energy consumption.
Food is yet another example of how London is going green, even when it comes to fast food. McDonald’s is a prime example of how London differentiates from the food purchased in the States. The company has initiated moves such as improved labeling, supporting sustainable agriculture and nutritional changes such as portion control. In London a large soft drink is the equivalent to an American McDonald’s medium drink.
The use of natural ingredients and free range animals also lowers the calorie count. For example, compare the 375 calories in British McNuggets to the 460 calories in American McNuggets. Soft drinks such as Coca Cola are free of corn syrup and use natural sugar and vegetable extracts such as carrots and pumpkins.
London’s sustainable living was also key in winning the bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The bid listed sustainable goals such as low carbon games, zero waste games and sustainable transport. The dome that is currently under construction will be using solar panels for the rooftops as well as collecting rain water to re-use it for restroom use. A metro station will also be in use that will lead directly to the stadium to diminish the use of cars.
When traveling abroad, tourists can help aid in London’s sustainability as well as other countries located across the globe. Minimizing waste can be accomplished by bringing cloth bags to carry souvenir purchases or using a personal water bottle instead of buying water in stores. This is cheaper and creates less waste.
Here are some other ways to go green while abroad:
1. Rechargeable batteries.
2. Reusing towels and sheets.
3. Using personal toiletries.
Hear what a major in environmental sociology has to say about her stay in London.

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