The 10:10 Campaign: Is the Whole of Britain Cutting Its Carbon?!

Image credit: The Guardian
"Oh good", I hear you say, "another celebrity-studded climate change campaign." But hold on. While I would normally share your cynicism, there's reason to think this one might be different. From musing on slow cycling to taking on greenwash, Brit-based newspaper The Guardian is usually a step above the competition when it comes to environmental coverage. (I'd say that even if they hadn't named TreeHugger as the world's 13th most powerful blog!) Now they are asking readers to step up to the plate with the 10:10 campaign - calling for individuals to cut their greenhouse emissions 10% in 2010. But this is not just about personal action.
This is where the significance of the 10:10 campaign really kicks in - because it's not just about the usual "recycle this", "turn that off", "use a reusable bag" mantras that so often feel like a distraction from the monumental tasks we face. This time the campaign will be backed up with specific guides and inspiration on cutting emissions throughout the year, as well as tips on quantifying on what really works and what is just fluff.

Crucially, while pushing the importance of responsible action, whether on an individual, community or company level, the campaign also has its sights firmly set on national and international emissions cuts too - using the cuts achieved by the campaign to put pressure on our governments to act swiftly and decisively. It's this connection between the personal and the political that I find particularly hopeful. As Ian Katz puts it in his introduction to the 10:10 campaign, time is running out:

"Though the British government has recently taken some significant steps towards decarbonising the economy, the fact that we find ourselves in need of something close to a miracle to avert disaster reflects a profound failure of leadership by the political classes of all the world's major nations. Most governments and their electorates have been locked in a disastrous standoff, neither willing to take action till the other shows they are serious about the problem. 10:10 is partly about breaking that destructive impasse."

The campaign is the brainchild of Age of Stupid director Franny Armstrong, and goes some way at least to countering criticisms of her movie from some quarters, including our very own Leonora, as being too much stick and not enough carrot.

10:10 already has the usual slew of celebrities such as Colin Firth on board - but the inclusion of political figures such as Ed Miliband, secretary of state for energy and climate change is a promising sign of the campaign's broad appeal. Also involved are institutions ranging from Tottenham Hotspur football club, online grocer Ocado, the Tate galleries and the Women's Institute. Dozens of schools, universities and NHS trusts are signed up, not to mention four of the major energy companies, British Gas owner Centrica, E.ON, EDF and Scottish and Southern.

So my title might be slightly hyperbolic, but this really does seem a step above your average campaign - both in terms of scope and ambition, not to mention the broad alliance involved. This really could be big!

Tags: Activism | United Kingdom


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