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21 is a blueprint for sustainable development into the
21st Century. Its basis was agreed during the
Earth Summit at Rio in 1992, and signed by 179 Heads of
State and Governments.
Rio an undertaking was given that local authorities
would produce their own plan - a Local Agenda 21.
This would involve consulting with the community,
because it is the people in the area who have the local
knowledge needed to make sensible decisions for their
future. By this means responsibility for
monitoring and implementing change is removed from
centralised control or co-ordination, unfortunately with
mixed results as few local authorities are willing or
even able to implement worthwhile programs, let alone
employ expert staff for the necessary research.
authorities that have prioritised the issue have applied
for European grants to set up experimental low emission
bus routes and test electric cars. There is no
Local Plan as a template to highlight keys areas of
concern. Local Council's are not answerable to
Government directly, according to the Secretary of State
they are autonomous bodies answerable to the Courts.
However, without an appointee to take issue in a Court
they are effectively answerable only to themselves.
Government initiatives having some success require
larger concerns to pay a Carbon Tax as a Levy on energy
used for manufacturing. By signing an Agreement to
lower energy consumption these companies may gain a tax
reduction to offset the cost of staff, etc, employed to
implement energy savings. This might be by fitting
better insulation, more efficient machinery or even
boilers or by using a combined heat and power generating
precautions might be:- 1. taking steps to cut harmful
greenhouse gas emissions 2. using energy wisely 3.
recycle discarded materials 4. reducing dependency on
fossil fuels via alternative energy initiatives.
out more about the UK's:
CHANGE LEVY energy-efficiency.gov.uk
ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS - September 2001
Working Locally and Globally to Help the
an example to us all, kids
in Japan are joining the Kids ISO 14000s program
to help save the environment. This educational
program is based on standards called ISO 14000s,
which are set by the International Organization
for Standardization (ISO) to conserve energy and
help the earth. ISO 14000 is a standard for
The Kids ISO 14000s program is a worldwide
standard program for children. The program uses
a standard format for environmental data, so
that the data of any family in the world can be
compared with others.
The earth is sick right now with a disease
called "global warming." In the last
100 years the earth's temperature has gone up
0.5 degrees Celsius. Just like you when your
body temperature goes up, it means the earth has
a slight fever right now. By the year 2100,
though, the earth's temperature could rise as
much as two degrees or more. Two degrees is as
dangerous for you as it is for the earth. If
this happens the ice at the North and South
Poles could melt, causing the level of oceans to
rise. According to some scientists, this means
that cities like London and New York could be
under water by the year 2050.
Global warming is just one of many problems
caused by pollution from humans through things
like cars, factories, and trash. You can help
stop or slow down these problems by using less
energy and other valuable natural resources. In
the Kids ISO 14000s program, kids learn how to
do this through a six-step work plan.
Taking electricity as an example, first, you
check the meter at home for one week to see how
much electricity you are using. Next, you give
yourself a grade to see how well you think you
are doing at conservation.
In the third step, with the help of a
pamphlet, you come up with ideas on how to
conserve energy. For example, you can unplug
things you are not using, open the refrigerator
less often, turn the lights off when you leave a
room, and try to limit the amount of video games
The fourth step is to get your family's help in
your plan, because as one kid said, "I
figured out I couldn't make much difference
without my family's help."
In the fifth step you see how much your efforts
paid off by checking the meter for one week
again. Says one participant, "My heart was
beating every time I went to check the meter,
and when I saw a big difference I was really
happy." Finally, you compare the first
week's meter reading with the second week's
reading to see if there was a difference and
then grade yourself again.
Along with electricity, kids use this same plan
to cut the amount of gas and water they use and
the amount of trash they throw out. When they
finish the two-week program they are graded and
their official results are sent to them. Kids
can continue the program at home for three
months in order to receive a certificate from
the ISO. They can also join a network for kids
involved in the program in order to work
together with others in Japan and around the
world to make an even bigger difference. From
start to finish, kids are the leaders in this
fight to save the earth.
After an introductory course, kids can attempt
the primary level of Kids ISO 14000s, the
secondary level, and finally the highest level.
The International Accreditation Committee,
formed by international authorities, including
the United Nations University, certifies those
who pass each level.
More than 10,000 Japanese children took part in
the Kids ISO 14000s program this summer, and the
number is increasing dramatically. Now the Kids
ISO 14000s program is spreading to Thailand,
Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, and Europe. In the
next year, children around the world will be
able to compare their environmental activities
with those in other countries through the Kids
ISO 14000s Network.
ArTech website: http://www.artech.or.jp
Warming | Waste
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ON AGENDA 21
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