John's Jottings for March 2006

John Ward

Please note: these Jottings are purely personal comment, and do not necessarily or directly represent the policy of either the Conservative Party or the Conservative Group on Medway Council.

Leading by Example

One aspect of being a Councillor is that I am looked upon as a civic leader. Now this might be a bit of an overstatement in my own case, but it does put additional responsibilities upon me (and others in the same position) so one of the effects of this is to make me want to lead by example.

Fortunately, most of the (hopefully good) things I do now, I was doing anyway; but a question raised by a member of the public at the last meeting of the full Council compelled me to take stock, and wonder whether there was anything more I could sensibly do, and could reasonably expect others to do. After all, one person can't make a difference in isolation, but if others follow that person's example then great things can be achieved. Therefore, what I do must be able to be replicated by others.

Many people reading this will, I suspect, be unaware of just how environmentally friendly I have been for many years, and this I feel is a key area in which we can all play a part.

For example, I helped to pump-prime the original paper recycling initiative within central government by bringing in my domestic recyclable material to help ensure that the pilot scheme was a success. No-one knew this then, but it's safe to publicly disclose this now, as the fact of recycling has become a normal part of life in Britain, and I no longer work in central government anyway(!)

This to me was simply the right way to proceed, realising the importance of this whole subject for the future. We are now living in that era's future, and looking toward the next several decades and beyond. I fill my blue recycling box every fortnight, and then some, and put out only two or three rubbish sacks per month. Yes, I recycle at least as much as I have to consign to waste, and most of the residual waste in down to packaging which really could be reduced by suppliers of those products.

It is hardly a secret that I detest avoidable pollution, especially from primitive centuries-old technology such as that employed in road vehicles. I have never owned such a vehicle myself, preferring to walk, and never will own one, as a matter of personal principle. This does not mean that I want others to give up their vehicles; but as a lobby group they are large enough to force vehicle manufacturers to move forward and produce non-polluting cars etc.

If millions of drivers were to inform the vehicle industry that they will never buy another polluting product of theirs, this would start to turn that industry away from producing essentially the same product (but with this year's sales gimmicks) as they have done for decades, and develop truly non-pollting models instead. We can all help to make a difference.

A9home computer Energy waste and pollution from its production are further environmental issues that I have faced up to for a long time now. My computers use British-invented ARM processors that can be run off AA cells, for one probably surprising statistic. Indeed, my latest computer (an A9home made in Britain for STD of Oldham) uses only 3 Watts of power. An American-processor computer (such as those seen in High Street shops and in TV adverts) has at least a 230-Watt power supply, possibly 300-Watts or more. That's the order of magnitude of difference that can be achieved. My A9home's power supply is rated at 20 Watts, and that is only to allow for power drain from its USB connections...

All of the above (and there's lots more I could mention!) serves to show what can be done by one person. My drive to become an essentially "paperless" Councillor, and the changes I have been able to have made in this direction of non-paper documentation, both within the council and in the wider world, has all served to make a positive difference.

It was always my hope that, a few years down the line, I could stand up and state that I really had made such a difference; and if I could do it, then so could others.

So now, dear reader, it is over to you and your family, friends, work colleagues and any others you can get involved. Between us, let's all do everything we can to save this world from becoming unliveable for us. We have nowhere else to go if that should happen, as now looks likely. I have no children and make this effort, knowing that I personally will not suffer the real effects of human neglect and bad behaviour. How much more relavent is all this to those who do have children, or are young enough to expect to live long enough to experience some of the coming severity personally.

The time to act is now. Not next year, next month, next week or even tomorrow. We all have to act now!

Next time: S.N.I.D.E.